Tuesday, November 27, 2018



            [DURHAM]  Two north Carolina congressmen who represent parts of Durham allege that agents with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) lied to a Mexican immigrant who was living at a local church, convincing him that he should leave the church, and travel to Morrisville in order to deal with his ordered deportation. When the man, Samuel Oliver-Bruno, left the church, Friday, he was arrested by ICE, and taken away. In a statement, Congressmen David Price [D-NC-4] and G. K. Butterfield [D-NC-1] noted that Bruno had been living in the United States for over 20 years, and had been following the law per his legal petition. He had back come to the US because his wife was ill, and son depended on him.

            [RALEIGH] The current Wake Register of Deeds calls it, “ …hubris incarnate., manifested audacity laced with temerity.” But former Wake Register of deeds, Laura Riddick, maintains that even though she is now a convicted felon, having pled guilty in August to stealing nearly $1 million from her public office over a seven year period, and spending it on lavish trips, she is still entitled to her full pension, and resents having to forfeit over $120,000 of her pension in the process. Riddick is suing the state Treasurer’s Office to retain her pension.

            [WASHINGTON, D.C.] Former NC Dept. of Transportation Secretary Anthony Tata – who is also a retired brigadier general - defended Pres. Donald Trump’s ordering 5200 military troops to the Mexican border to repel Honduran refugees seeking asylum in the United States from crossing the border. ON “Fox and Friends” on Sunday, Tata was asked his reaction. “President Trump is a man of his word, he said he was going to be tough on the border and he is tough on the border,” Tata replied. Later that afternoon on Twitter, Trump thanked Tata for his support. Tata, who once endorsed Sarah Palin for president, served as NC Transportation Secretary under Gov. Pat McCrory for two years.


By Cash Michaels

            As the NC General Assembly reconvened in yet another special session Tuesday, two prominent North Carolina civil rights leaders warned to not to trust any new laws establishing photo voter identification emanating from it, despite a constitutional amendment passed by voters recently mandating it.
            “Don’t you compromise on our rights [Democrats],” warned Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the breach, and co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Revival, during a protest demonstration across the street from the Legislative Building on Jones Street in Raleigh Tuesday.
            “Let them do it, only with extremist Republican votes. Because if you do [Democrats, Gov. Cooper] you become complicit in discrimination.”
            Barber, like several other speakers there, called the NC General Assembly “unconstitutionally constituted” because the federal courts have ruled that they were previously elected by unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered voting districts. 
            “They cheated,” Barber summed up.
            Dr. Barber indicated that voter photo ID, as “…extremists who call themselves Republican,” are intending to pass, “…has already proven to be unconstitutional in the courts” because it targets African-Americans for voter suppression “with surgical precision.”
            Barber added that even though voters approved the voter ID amendment to the North Carolina Constitution, that means little if it contradicts the federal Constitution. The same elected officials who vote for voter ID in the South, are the same, Dr. Barber said, who vote against women, expanding health care, living wages, labor rights, public education, the LGBQ community, and immigrants.
            “So voter ID isn’t just about black people, but about America itself,” Dr. Barber maintained. “This is a fight about all of us, and when you touch black people, you touch all of us. That means all of us must stand together!”
            “We’ve fought and won before….we’ll fight and win again!”
            Like other speakers on program, Rev. Barber also warned that lawmakers should be devoting most of the estimated two weeks this special session is expected to take towards helping flood victims still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Florence.
             “We are drifting back towards Jim Crow, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP told the crowd, accusing the Republican-led NC General Assembly of “…intentionally disenfranchising voters of color to ensure political gain…” for white supremacists.
            Spearman called it “…the height of fraud.”
            “Every time the Berger-Moore all-white caucus comes up with a trick to disenfranchise our rights, we will use it to make North Carolina bulletproof against the voter suppression tricks of the white caucus, the NCNAACP leader vowed.
            “We will not retreat! We MUST not retreat!,” Dr. Spearman exclaimed to cheers. “We WILL be heard! We MUST be heard!”
            At press time Tuesday, neither chamber of the NC General Assembly had passed any voter ID legislation. Senate President pro-tem Phil Berger told reporters Monday that lawmakers would take their time with passage, seeking input from Democrats and citizens.
            Tentatively, the Republican majority wants voter ID legislation that allows for college identification to be used, in addition to driver licenses and free ID cards issued by the state Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

                                                             ATTY. THOMAS FARR
                                                REV. DR. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            With strong signals that the Republican-led US Senate may very well vote to confirm President Trump’s re-nomination of Raleigh attorney Thomas Farr, 64, to the federal bench as early as today, everyone from progressive activists like the NC NAACP, to the Congressional Black Caucus, to North Carolina ‘s Democratic Congressional Delegation, have mobilized to stop the vote.
            Two busloads of NCNAACP activists from across North Carolina, led by state conference president Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, traveled to Washington, D.C. Wednesday to lobby senators on Capital Hill to either vote against Farr’s controversial judicial nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, or let the nomination die with this outgoing Congress.
            Farr was already approved ten months ago by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but concerned about the midterm elections, Trump pulled the nomination temporarily. Now that the elections are over, observers expect Sen. McConnell to try to get as many of Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed as possible, with Farr heading the list.
            What makes Farr’s nomination to the lifetime post so controversial is his documented history as  an election campaign attorney for the late conservative U.S. Senator Jesse Helm (R-NC) during the 1990’s. Farr is alleged to have helped engineer a Republican so-called “ballot security” program in 1990 that attempted to suppress the black vote statewide when Helms was first challenged by black candidate, former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.
            In addition, all three of North Carolina’s Democratic congresspeople – Alma Adams (13th(, David Price (4th) and G.K. Butterfield (1st) – wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kty) Monday asking him to  “cancel all votes” on the Farr nomination and “allow his  nomination to expire in the 115thCongress…” because of troubling questions about Farr’s alleged racial past.
            “Mr. Farr’s hostility to African-American political participation does not end with his time with Senator Helms,” the letter to McConnell stated. “Mr. Farr was also responsible for advising the North Carolina General Assembly while it drew federal congressional districts that packed African-American voters into Districts 1 and 12, a move the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed was unconstitutional. Additionally, in 2013, Mr. Farr defended North Carolina’s discriminatory voter ID law, which targeted African-American voters “with almost surgical precision”, according to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”
The Eastern District of North Carolina is comprised of 44 out of the state’s 100 counties, and has had the nation’s longest judicial vacancy. But even though district also has a black population of over 25 percent, it has never had a black judge. In fact, Pres. Obama nominated two black female candidates for the post before he left office, but North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr ‘blue slipped’ or blocked the nominations from getting Senate consideration.
            Both Burr, and Thom Tillis, North Carolina’s junior Republican senator, not only back Farr enthusiastically, but defend him vigorously, saying that the “left’s attacks” on Farr are “unwarranted.”
            Allowing Farr to become a federal judge, not only because of his history with Helms, but his later efforts on behalf of the NC Republican Party to establish voter ID and racial gerrymandering, would be unthinkable, says Dr. Spearman.
            “Tom Farr in the Eastern District with the legal authority to decide the fate of African-Americans — hear me somebody — is tantamount to Adolf Hitler wreaking havoc among our Jewish sisters and brothers, and Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, breathing out cruelty to Christians,”Spearman told reporters last March after going to Washington to protest after Pres. Trump first nominated Farr.
            When he went to D.C. earlier this year, Spearman was hopeful that Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tim Scott of South Carolina, might buck their party, and join the 49 Senate Democrats in voting against Farr’s nomination.
            On Tuesday, a number of national civil rights leaders, including former North Carolina NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, joined the Congressional Black Caucus and the North Carolina Democratic Congressional Delegation in calling for the U.S. Senate not to confirm atty Thomas Farr.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


                                                              REP. LEWIS
                                                                 REP. JACKSON

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Keep ‘em guessing.
            That’s the posture of Republican legislative leaders going into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, as Democrats, and activists like the NCNAACP, brace themselves for what they highly suspect will be a contentious, and controversial lame duck special session beginning Nov. 27th, that possibly won’t end until sometime the first week in December.
            This much is known – with the passage of the GOP-sponsored constitutional amendment of establishing voter photo ID, expect the Republican-led NC General Assembly to exercise the last breath of it’s supermajority, to enact laws that they hope will pass legal muster in the state and federal courts.
            Especially the U.S. Supreme Court, where a conservative majority is likely to rubber stanp whatever the Republican legislative majority comes up with, observers say.
            House Rules Committee Chair Rep. David Lewis [R- Harnett], the Republicans’ go-to man for all things electoral voting, has given what could best be described as a hint during a television appearance last week in Raleigh.
            When asked  on the Spectrum cable television show “Capital Tonight,” all Lewis would say was say was Republicans would sponsor a ‘good” voter ID bill that would “…improve the intergrity of our system.” Nothing about what kinds of photo identification would, or would not be acceptable at the polls.
            Voters who approved the voter ID amendment during the midterm elections were never given that information, critics charge, thus giving a legislative blank check Republicans to write any voting restrictions they please, with full confidence, after studying voter ID laws in South Carolina and elsewhere, that they could withstand  a court challenge.
            Lewis did add that Republicans will craft voter ID legislation in a manner to ensure that everyone who “eligible” to vote, indeed gets to exercise that right.
            The concern with that statement from Lewis is that the voting restrictions that they adopt – just the 2013 laws Republican adopted that disallowed state-issued photo ID for college student, and didn’t account for low-income older citizens who do not have current photo ID -  is exactly who is defined as “eligible” by the upcoming legislation.
            House Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Darren Jackson [D-Wake] appeared on the same program as Rep. Lewis, and admitted that in terms of getting a heads-up on what to expect during the lame duck special session next week, “We really don’ know what to expect on our side.”
            However, Rep. Lewis  did promise to share a copy of what Republican leaders propose per voter ID legislation, with the goal of getting feedback, and maybe even cooperation in it’s passage, though, given that the GOP still has it’s supermajority until the end of the year, such “cooperation” really isn’t needed.
            Unless Republicans are actually looking for legal cover in case Democrats do challenge the measures in court.
            Lewis also mentioned the possibility of holding hearings on th bill.
            Rep. Jackson, resigned to the fcat that voter ID will now be a constitutional reality in the state of North Carolina, suggested crafting legislation that won’t make lines at the pols longer, or won’t erroneously kick valid voters off the voting rolls. The House Democratic leader also called for more resources to be appropriated to help improve North Carolina’s voting system.


            [FAYETTEVILLE]A freshman football player for Winston-Salem State University was killed Saturday afternoon in a car crash in Fayetteville. Johnathon Gilmore had reportedly gone back home to see his high school alma mater, South View, play in a football contest Friday evening. Gilmore’s former coach says the young man was on the sidelines with his old team during that game for support. A memorial service is reportedly planned to honor Gilmore this Saturday.

            [CHARLOTTE] Thanks to provisional, military and mail-in ballots, Democrat Rachel Hunt, daughter of former NC Gov. Jim Hunt, edged out Republican incumbent Rep. Bill Brawley of Mecklenburg, by 70 votes out of over 38,000 cast. Brawley has asked for a recount, since Hunt’s margin of victory is less than the mandated 1 percent. But if the vote total holds, that;s yet another GOP seat that has been flipped by Democrats in the NC House per the 2028 midterms, strengthening Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto pen, and further burying the Republican’s former legislative supermajority.

            [ZEBULON]  Dancers from a studio in Zebulon are headed to the bright lights of the Big White Way in New York City to perform in Thursday’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sixteen performers with the Legacy Dance Productions will be showing their stuff, thanks to an audition tape that was sent on their behalf by owner BrieAnna AlFord. Some of the girls said they had never been to New York City before, and looked forward to doing some shopping while there. Mesanwhile, the dancers have endured four-hour daily practice to ensure that their routine is near-perfect before the parade’s national television audience.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            According to a new report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in Washington, D.C., hate crimes across the United States in 2017 were up 17 percent, and a whopping 12 percent just in North Carolina alone.
            Hate crimes, as defined by the FBI’s annual UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting, are “bias motivated incidents…motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.”
            In North Carolina, there were 166 reported hate crimes in 2017, which is a jump up from 148 in 2016. A total of 527 law enforcement agencies across the state participated in contributing reports to the FBI’s UCR, cover over 10.2 million people statewide in 2017.
            North Carolina ranked 13 out of 50 states in hate crimes last year, the FBI added.
            Nationally, whites, beginning at age 18, account for over 50 percent of all hate crime incidents. 59.6 percent of hate crimes emanate from racial or ethnic bias. Racial intimidation is considered the most common form of hate crime.
            Many observers note that 2017, coincidentally, is the year Donald Trump was inaugurated president of the United States, ushering a new era of racial intolerance that that been highlighted by high profile cases of whites aggressively social “policing” African-Americans and Hispanics, calling law enforcement for everything from someone of color swimming in a neighborhood pool, to a child manning a lemonade stand.
            In many instances, smartphone video of the incidents go viral, showing that black citizens just going about their constitutionally protected business, have been subject to harassment, suspicion, and intimidation by whites who believe that they must be doing something if they are apparently sharing the same public space.


Monday, November 12, 2018



            [WILMINGTON] About 200 residents of the Jervay Housing Community on Dawson Street have been told that they must move from their apartments by Thanksgiving Day so that their units can be repaired from water damage caused by Hurricane Florence two months ago. Reportedly 80 of the complex’s 100 units have “serious” water damage, including mold and leaky roofs, making then unsafe to live in. But many of the affected residents say the notice to move is too soon, and they have no options because housing is scarce in the aftermath of Florence. No alternative housing is being provided for the approximate six months that the repairs will be taking place.

            [RALEIGH] Republican lawmakers are being tight lipped about exactly what legislation they’ll take up when they reconvene in special session Nov. 27thin Raleigh. It is expected that the GOP majority will pass measures dealing with what kind of voter photo identification will be required for future elections, thanks to the constitutional amendment that voters approved of during last week’s midterm elections. There is also speculation that Republicans may also pass more restrictive laws designed to further strip Gov. Cooper’s powers, which is what they did in 2016 just before he took office. Published reports say the special session could last until Nov. 29th, if not longer.

            [RALEIGH] In hopes of trashing North Carolina’s current legislative voting districts in time for the 2020 elections, the nonpartisan group, Common Cause has filed a new lawsuit asking the court to order new, fairer redistricting maps be drawn. Federal courts have already determined twice that North Carolina’s congressional redistricting maps are unconstitutional due to illegal partisan gerrymandering. "Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly have egregiously rigged the state legislative district lines to guarantee that their party will control both chambers of the General Assembly regardless of how the people of North Carolina vote," the lawsuit states. "This attack on representative democracy and North Carolinians’ voting rights is wrong. It violates the North Carolina Constitution. And it needs to stop."


                                        DURHAM SHERIFF CLARENCE BIRKHEAD
                                              GUILFORD SHERIFF DANNY ROGERS
                                     MECKLENBURG SHERIFF GARRY McFADDEN
                                               WAKE SHERIFF GERALD M. BAKER
                                                      PITT SHERIFF PAULA DANCE

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            For Democrats in North Carolina, the week-old 2018 midterm elections yielded some meaningful victories – Anita Earls was elected to the state Supreme Court locking in the democrat majority 5-2; the Republican supermajorities Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper ha had to wrestle with since his election in 2016 have now been crippled, giving him more leverage and veto power over the GOP legislative majority; and North Carolina’s three congressional Democratic representatives are now part of the governing majority in the U.S. House.
            But the victories didn’t stop there.
Eight of the state’s largest counties all elected African-American sheriffs, replacing white incumbents, with Pitt County electing it’s first black female sheriff, Paula Dance.
Good law enforcement is always necessary but GREAT law enforcement requires exceptional service with a common-sense approach gained through experiences within the department,” the historymaker said. “Law enforcement is much more than just solving and deterring crime. Every interaction is an opportunity to enhance the quality of life for a citizen."
Sheriff-elect Dance is also the first African-American female sheriff in North Carolina history.
            Wake County elected Gerald Baker; Durham County -  Clarence Birkhead; Mecklenburg County -  Garry McFadden; Cumberland County -  Ennis Wright; Guilford County – Danny Rogers; Forsyth County – Bobby Kimbrough, Jr.; Buncombe County – Quentin Miller; and Pitt, which elected the aforementioned Paula Dance to the highest law enforcement office in the county. 
            “Regarding my opponent’s spokesman stating I told the Sheriff’s Office no one would lose their job; my response is this. My opponent chose not to retain all his predecessors’ staff and I’m sure after due diligence with my team I won’t retain all of his,” said Guilford Sheriff-elect Danny Rogers.
            “Thank You CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG for electing me as “The People’s Sheriff,” Sheriff Garry McFadden said on his Facebook page.
Each of the winners have long and extensive law enforcement backgrounds and experience.
            For Durham, Guilford, Cumberland, Forsyth, Pitt and Buncombe, this was the first time in history that an African-American had been elected sheriff. And in Wake, Guilford, Forsyth, Durham and Pitt, longtime Republican incumbents were unseated.
            One common thread to victory for all of the African-American sheriffs – they all vowed not to cooperate with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program 287(g), where local law enforcement agencies help ICE detain people deemed to be illegal immigrants.
            Incumbent sheriffs said the unpopular program – exploited by the Trump Administration – helped them better identify possible suspects in alleged crimes. But black Democrat challengers, like Wake’s Gerald Baker and Durham’s Clarence Birkhesd, maintained that the program broke up families needlessly, and “stirred racial tensions.”
            That position spurred the Latino community in several counties to support black Democratic candidates for sheriff.
            Six sheriff’s departments across North Carolina participated in the controversial 287(g) program. Wake County pays several specified officers to maintain the program in it’s sheriff’s department, costing taxpayers there nearly $2 million annually.
            Post – midterm election analysis suggests that the elected black sheriffs benefitted from grassroots voter registration, get-out-the-vote drives and free rides to the polls in their counties.
            In each successful campaign, the black sheriffs-elect vowed to help bring their respective communities together.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The potential for lame-duck mischief hatched by Republican chiefs savoring their last veto-proof weeks is high. Let’s hope their election setbacks – with many voters disgusted at ongoing power-grabs – convince them to exercise restraint.
                                                                                                Steve Ford
                                                                                                Columnist, NC Policywatch

            Those two sentences of Steve Ford’s assessment of the 2018 midterm elections in North Carolina pretty much hits the bulls-eye of concern many observers now have about yet another planned GOP special session of the NC General Assembly, planned for November 27th, where the current Republican supermajority muscle through a series of laws emanating from passage of four of six proposed controversial constitutional amendments that passed as voter referendums last week.
            The most prominent of the four, per North Carolina’s African-American community, is the constitutional amendment establishing voter ID. And because the provision is now baked into the state Constitution, it cannot be easily removed, which is what the Republican legislative majority wanted.
            So the question – which has gone unanswered by the GOP authors of the Voter ID amendment – now is, exactly what new, last minute laws will the Republican supermajority conjure up and pass before the newly strengthened Democrat minority takes over in January, ready to support Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto power?
            Groups like the NC NAACP aren’t waiting to find out. The state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization is mobilizing now to bring as much protest power as necessary to special session a possible.
            “All roads lead to Raleigh on November 27 as we prepare for this usurper General Assembly, which came to power illegally through raciall discriminatory maps, to return to Raleigh in a lame duck session to make a final effort to enshrine discrimination in our laws,” wrote Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP.
            “The NC NAACP has led the fight against the anti-democracy, racist photo voter ID before it was improperly placed on the ballot, and we will continue to fight it and any effort to suppress the sacred right to vote in the weeks, months and years to come.”
            But, if published reports are to believed, there are rumors that the GOP supermajority will also add two new seats to state’s Supreme Court.
            “I am hearing from sources inside and outside the legislative building in Raleigh that the GOP super-majority will attempt to use its last days in power to ram through an expansion of the state Supreme Court’s membership,” wrote Brant Clifton, columnist for The Daily Haymaker, and online conservative website that state Republican leadership, like NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse, apparently read. “ Word is they will try to add TWO additional justices — basically cancelling out the gains by Democrats in the last two years.”
            Indeed, the state Constitution allows for nine seats on the NC Supreme Court. Five of those nine will be filled by Democrats during the next term, with on two Republicans.
            The GOP legislative supermajority could add two seats during the November 27thlame duck session, but only Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper could appoint associate justices to those seats. And even if the Republican majority could appoint the two expanded seats, those appointments would only last until 2020, the next major upcoming election.
            Even Clifton, in his own Daily Haymakercolumn, warned Republican legislative leaders against the rumored move.
            “It’s a bad idea for many reasons.  First, you’re simply creating two more opportunities for Democrats to build influence on the courts.  After what we’ve seen in 2016 and 2018, can we really trust the NCGOP gang-that-can’t-shoot-straight to get TWO new justices elected?”
            “Second, it’s moving the goalposts.  Changing the rules,” Clifton posited. “There is no real good reason to expand the court other than for political insiders to try and score some political points.”
            And yet, observers counter, the past has proven that Republican legislative leaders are not above trying to score “political points.” Especially when it comes to enhancing their power.



Wednesday, November 7, 2018



            Beyond Anita Earls victory win for the state Supreme Court, there were other statewide judicial victories of note.
            For the NC Court of Appeals, incumbent Appellate Judge John Arrowood, Raleigh attorney Toby Hampson and appellate attorney Allegra Collins all won. Once sworn-in, they will serve eight-year terms.

            On Tuesday night, voters elected three Democrats to the New Hanover County School Board – Nelson Beaulieu, Stephanie Adams and Judy Justice. A Republican, Bill Riverbark, was also elected to serve a four-year term.
            Voters also elected two Democrats to the NH Board of County Commissioners – incumbent Rob Zapple and former state senator Julia Olson-Boseman. That board now has a Democrat majority, replacing the current Republican board majority.

            By one of the slimmest victories in local recent memory, Democrat Harper Peterson defeated Republican state Sen. Michael Lee in their Ninth District midterm contest Tuesday night, denying Lee his third term in the NC Senate. The top issue during that race was water quality and the GenX chemical pollution of the Cape Fear River.
            In the NC House race, Rep. Deb. Butler , a Democrat, won another term representing District 18 by 62%.

            Republican Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC-7)won a third term in Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections, defeating Democratic challenger Dr. Kyle Horton. Rouzer, however, will serve the next two years in the Republican minority, as Democrats have now won 230 seats in the U.S. House, while the GOP could only muster 205.

                                       NC ASSOCIATE JUSTICE-ELECT ANITA EARLS

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The 2018 midterm elections will go down in the history books as the “comeback” contests for Democrats across North Carolina, and in Congress.
            Buoyed by one of the largest midterm election voter turnouts in history, Democratic voters, in reaction to the change policies of President Donald Trump and his Republican Party, turned up, and turned out to “take their state and country back” at the polls, in preparation for the next presidential election in 2020 when Trump’s name is expected to be back on the ballot.
            It wasn’t the massive “blue wave” that was originally predicted, but it was enough of a renouncement of GOP rule to give Democrats something to leverage for the next big election in two years.
            While failing to win the two seats needed to take back the majority in the US Senate, Democrats were victorious in reclaiming the US House for the next two years, and are expected to go after the president with mounting investigations into his business dealings, taxes, and alleged 2016 campaign dealings with the Russians.
            Here in North Carolina, the highest notable Democratic victory for a black candidate was for civil rights attorney Anita Earls, who is projected to win a seat on the state Supreme Court with 49%, defeating incumbent Republican Associate Justice Barbara Jackson with 34%, and controversial GOP challenger Chris Anglin at 16%.
            “We have a president who believes he can, by executive order, erase the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” atty Earls said during her victory speech. “And we have misguided partisans in our state who believe that they should impeach justices who don’t rule in their favor. By working together over the past year, we’ve shown that we can stand up for the importance of an independent judiciary. Stand up for the principle that no one is above the law. And stand up for the importance of people’s right to vote.”
Associate Justice-elect Earls will now solidify the state High Court’s Democratic majority, making it 5-2.
            And the Republican supermajority grip on the NC General Assembly has now been broken, with Democrats picking up enough seats in the state legislature to sustain Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes now that the GOP can no longer muster a three-fifths majority in the state House to override.
            However, with the good election news for Democrats, came the bad.
            Even though two of the proposed six controversial Republican amendments to the state Constitution were defeated – one which would limit the governor’s power to fill judicial vacancies, another to make appointments to the NC Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement – four of them were passed by the voters, the most consequential for African-Americans being the voter ID amendment, which now will give the Republican-led legislature a literal blank check in establishing new laws requiring photo identification at the polls.
            Constitutional amendments protecting hunting and fishing in North Carolina, strengthening crime victims’ rights, capping the state income tax at just 7% were also passed. Opponents charged that some of the amendments proposed were paper tigers used to draw more conservative voters to the polls to support the voter ID and capping the income tax amendments. Millions of dollars were spent to convince voters to “nix all six.”
            While all three of North Carolina’s Democratic congresspeople – representatives  G. K. Butterfield (NC-1); Alma Adams (NC-12) and David Price (NC- 4) – were reelected, Democratic candidate Linda Coleman, who fought a hard, tough race in the Second Congressional District, fell short in her quest to unseat conservative Republican incumbent George Holding.
            Butterfield, Adams and Price will now return to Washington in the House majority when the next Congress convenes in January.
            In Raleigh, Wake County once again has an African-American sheriff named “Baker.” Democrat Gerald Baker ousted former boss and longtime Sheriff Donnie Harrison to become the sheriff-elect, 55 to 45 percent. 
            It was Harrison, a Republican, who, over a decade ago, unseated then longtime popular Sheriff John Baker.
            Gerald Baker, who just retired last May from the Wake Sheriff’s Department, vowed that if elected, he would hire more deputies of color.