Columns

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…


Colin Campbell: Bathroom Brawl Is Back Again

RALEIGH — Just when you thought North Carolina had moved on from debating bathrooms, House Bill 2 is back in the headlines thanks to a surprise move by Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper wants to resolve a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and LGBT groups that challenges the HB2 replacement law that Cooper signed in March. The replacement law — the…


Colin Campbell: Appointing Judges Could Work — If It’s Done Right

RALEIGH — In next year’s election, you might find yourself picking dozens of judges on an insanely long ballot. Or you might never vote in a multiple candidate judicial election ever again. Legislative leaders are considering a wide range of options for overhauling how North Carolina chooses its judges — from the state Supreme Court to the local District Court…


Colin Campbell: Wacky Rules Complicate Municipal Elections

RALEIGH — If the rules for Raleigh’s municipal elections had applied to last year’s governor’s race, Pat McCrory would have had the power to send voters back to the polls in December. It would have been the same election without the Libertarian candidate — and given Gov. Roy Cooper’s narrow margin of victory in November, it’s anybody’s guess who would…


Colin Campbell: An Assault on Newspapers, Transparency

RALEIGH — Imagine this hypothetical scenario: Someone wants to build a factory in your neighborhood, a change that would bring noise, pollution and heavy truck traffic. Your local government has to hold a public hearing and OK the proposal first, but that’s already happened before you even heard about it. The bulldozers have arrived to start construction, and it’s too…


Colin Campbell: Time for Fireworks in Raleigh — Again

RALEIGH — The legislature is coming back to town Oct. 4, and as usual, sticking it to Gov. Roy Cooper is at the top of the agenda. Overriding the governor’s vetoes is one of the main reasons we’re seeing the third extra session since the legislature ended its regular session back in June. Every extra session brings another round of…