Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell: Possums and Politics – A North Carolina Tradition Ends

RALEIGH — “Possum out: Famous New Year’s event in Brasstown shockingly ends after one final descent” was the lead headline in last week’s Cherokee Scout, North Carolina’s westernmost newspaper. After surviving years of animal rights lawsuits from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Clay County’s New Year’s Eve Possum Drop is calling it quits. “It’s a hard job to…

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Colin Campbell: How Did Gov. Roy Cooper Do In 2017?

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has finished his first year in office — a year full of the fireworks that are common in a divided state government. Cooper and Republican legislative leaders have sparred on TV, in courtrooms and in the most thrilling arena of all: The Strongly Worded Press Release. So how well did the governor do in 2017?…



Colin Campbell: More Dialogue, Fewer Theatrics Needed in Judicial Debate

RALEIGH — For the second time in as many years, Senate Democrats walked out on their Republican colleagues and left them to conduct legislative business by themselves. The first time they did it was in March 2016, when the Senate prepared to vote on House Bill 2 just hours after the “bathroom bill” was first made public. The Democrats objected…


Colin Campbell: Transparency Needed to Prevent Cardinal Scandal

RALEIGH — State lawmakers had a rare moment of bipartisan unity recently. Everyone, it seemed, was outraged about a state-funded healthcare agency that was paying its CEO a $635,000 salary. Until the overpaid executive and his agency’s lavish spending on parties and flights made headlines, few of us had even heard of Cardinal Innovations. The agency oversees mental health services…


Colin Campbell: N.C. Elections Agency Needs A Boss

RALEIGH — Imagine if your bosses got fired, and for more than six months, no one replaced them. You’re not allowed to perform the tasks that your bosses do, so you’re stuck trying to keep things running without much authority. Since June, that’s been the reality for the state agency charged with overseeing North Carolina elections. Gov. Roy Cooper is…


Colin Campbell: Fireworks Fizzled, But Cabinet Battle Rages On

RALEIGH — You might have already forgotten about 2017’s most over-hyped political drama between the state legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper, but the lawsuit is still crawling its way through the court system — with important implications for state government’s power balance. The fight over Senate confirmation hearings for Cooper’s Cabinet secretaries hasn’t gotten much attention lately, so let’s flash…


Colin Campbell: Incumbents Shouldn’t Get Special Treatment in New Maps

RALEIGH — State Reps. Grier Martin and Cynthia Ball, both D-Wake, agree on most of the issues that come before the legislature, but it’s possible that 2018’s election could pit them against each other in the Democratic primary. Martin and Ball are among at least four pairs of incumbents that would find themselves in the same district under maps drawn…


Colin Campbell: Municipal Election Results Say A Lot About North Carolina

RALEIGH — An unusually contentious season of municipal elections has come to an end, and 2018 races for legislature and Congress are already well under way in North Carolina. Nationally, Election Day 2017 is being viewed as a huge victory for Democrats, particularly in states like Virginia and New Jersey where there were races for governor. But it’s a bit…


Colin Campbell: ‘Special Master’ Spells Good News For Democrats

RALEIGH — A law professor out in California could end up having a big impact in North Carolina’s 2018 elections for the state legislature. Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University recently got a $500-an-hour job from federal court judges, who have charged him with drawing new district lines for nine House and Senate districts that the judges think may have been…