The Morning Roundup: Let’s Do Some Unintelligible Yelling! | News
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Friday, February 26, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Let’s Do Some Unintelligible Yelling!

Posted by on Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:17 AM

The video above is probably the most succinct summation of last night’s forty-third (estimated) Republican debate. There was yelling, there were personal snipes, there was complaining about being interrupted. 

And there was basically no policy. 

Rubio got some good swipes in, but it’s unlikely to alter the trajectory of the race, despite the establishment’s wishful thinking. 

Rubio hit Trump for having been fined years ago for having employed unauthorized workers, which is fine but there's no way he can get to Trump's right on the underlying issue of immigration. Rubio needled Trump about how repetitive and uninterested in policy detail he is, and clearly got under his skin. He hit him for being insufficiently fanatical in his devotion to Israel, and his opposition to universal health care. He brought up the ignominious failure of Trump University. He was up-tempo, ad-libbed a little, and generally lifted the spirits of Republicans who've been annoyed or horrified by Trump's rise.

But at this point Trump already has a commanding lead in the polls. And from the standpoint of someone who's already bought in to the idea of President Trump, it's not clear what these attacks amount to. 

And here is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham reacting to the festivities by calling his party “batshit crazy.” 

click to enlarge screen_shot_2016-02-26_at_7.58.32_am.png

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Both of those statements are undeniably true, by the way. 

But that wasn’t the only debate last night. On to the Roundup: 

1. The Democrats for U.S. Senate duke it out. (Duke being a relative term, as there was a lot of agreement.) As with the Republican presidential debate, nothing I saw dissuades me that Deborah Ross will win the nomination. 

Four largely unknown Democrats vying to become their party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate faced off Thursday night in their first and only debate.

Durham businessman Kevin Griffin, Ernest Reeves of Greenville, Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey, and former state Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh discussed issues ranging from immigration to healthcare in the half hour debate moderated by WRAL News Anchor David Crabtree.

The candidates mostly agreed with each other. All support Medicaid expansion, an increase in the minimum wage, and better mental health services.

2. Special session alert! House Speaker Tim Moore is mulling a special session—because this thing can’t wait until April—to overrule the LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance Charlotte passed last week. 

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday he’s exploring a possible special legislative session to deal with a controversial provision of Charlotte’s expanded nondiscrimination ordinance.

Moore and others object to the so-called bathroom provision that would allow transgender people to use the restroom of their choice, depending on the gender with which they identify.

In an email to GOP lawmakers, he said, “the recent radical actions of the Charlotte City Council … pose a real danger to public safety concerning the sexual identity and bathroom matters … If we do not act, the Charlotte ordinance will go into effect on April 1.”

The General Assembly’s short session is scheduled to convene April 25.

Whether in a special session or regular session, Moore predicted lawmakers will deal with the provision in a statewide bill. That would prevent other cities from adopting similar ordinances.

We’ll have more to say about this in print next week, believe you me. 

3. Progress NC files a second complaint over a Connect NC ad. The previous day’s complaint targeted Governor McCrory. The new one aims at state Representative Ken Goodman. 

Progress N.C. Action filed a second complaint with the state Board of Elections on Thursday, claiming that a campaign video featuring state Rep. Ken Goodman supporting the bond proposal violates the law.

The liberal advocacy group filed a complaint the previous day accusing Gov. Pat McCrory of impermissably mixing his re-election campaign with a pro-bond committee, which resulted in corporate contributions funding part of a TV commercial. It is illegal for candidates to accept money from corporations. Like McCrory, Goodman, a Democrat from Rockingham, is running for re-election.

4. Walter Jones’s challenger doesn’t want Renee Ellmers’s money. Here’s a little intra-GOP squabbling for your Friday amusement. It’s safe to say that Renee Ellmers, the conservative congresswoman who is far too RINO for the likes of the tea party, isn’t terribly fond of Walter Jones, the right-winger from eastern North Carolina who last year sent a letter effectively giving support to a rumor that Ellmers was having an affair with Kevin McCarthy, who was then next in line to become House Speaker. 

With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I’m asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public.

So it’s no surprise, then, that Ellmers’ husband cut a check to Taylor Griffin, who is trying to primary Jones, a twenty-year incumbent. Only Griffin doesn’t want her money. 

A North Carolina Republican trying to unseat a longtime congressman has said thanks, but no thanks to a $500 campaign contribution from U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers’ husband.

Brent Ellmers, a surgeon from Dunn, N.C., contributed the money online to Taylor Griffin’s campaign on the last day of the 2015 fund-raising year, according to financial disclosures filed by the candidate with the Federal Election Commission.

Griffin is running against 10-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Walter Jones in the upcoming 3rd Congressional District Republican primary. Ellmers, a Republican, is seeking a fourth term in a crowded primary that includes Republican Rep. George Holding, who now represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.

Griffin says he promptly returned Brent Ellmers’ $500 credit-card donation and told Ellmers he appreciates his support but doesn’t want any campaign contributions from sitting members of Congress, or their spouses.

“I don’t want to go into Congress having aligned with one set of congressmen or one particular point of view or another,” Griffin told McClatchy this week in an interview.

Damn. Nobody loves Renee. 

That’s it for this week, kids! Enjoy this last weekend of February. 

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