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Friday Forward News Roundup

North Carolina Gubernatorial Race: Stein vs. Robinson

On Super Tuesday, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein and Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson were declared the winners of their respective primaries. Stein vows to focus on law enforcement, fighting crime, and supporting Medicaid expansion, while Robinson emphasizes issues like education and the economy. Both candidates have received endorsements and are gearing up for a contentious general election battle. (News & Observer)

GOP Upsets in North Carolina Council of State Primaries

In a surprising turn of events, incumbent Catherine Truitt lost to Michele Morrow in the GOP primary for state superintendent of public instruction, with Morrow securing 52% of the vote. Morrow, a political newcomer, emphasized issues like the Parents Bill of Rights and school indoctrination concerns. Meanwhile, Luke Farley clinched the Republican nomination for commissioner of labor with 37% of the vote, defeating establishment-backed Jon Hardister. The GOP nomination for state auditor remains undecided, heading for a runoff between Jack Clark and Dave Boliek. (Carolina Journal)

New Faces Sweep Durham County Board of Commissioners

In a decisive election, three newcomers, Michelle Burton, Mike Lee, and Stephen Valentine, secured seats on the Durham County Board of Commissioners alongside incumbents Wendy Jacobs and Nida Allam. Notably, incumbents Nimasheena Burns and Brenda Howerton lost their bids for reelection. The incoming commissioners garnered critical endorsements, emphasizing education reform and addressing community needs. (Indy Week)

Mark Harris Secures Victory in Congressional Comeback

Mark Harris, a longtime pastor, secured a narrow victory in the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District, receiving 30.44% of the vote, just above the runoff threshold. The district, heavily Republican, virtually guarantees the primary winner's success in the general election. Harris, previously embroiled in a ballot fraud scandal in the 9th District, now seeks political redemption after a tumultuous history. (WUNC)

Tim Moore Wins Republican Nomination for Congress in North Carolina's 14th District

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore emerged victorious in the Republican primary for the 14th Congressional District, one of three districts anticipated to shift from Democratic to Republican control due to recent redistricting. With Moore's win, and potential runoffs in the 6th and 13th districts, the state's congressional delegation is poised to transform from a balanced split to one predominantly Republican. Several incumbents, both Democrat and Republican, are seeking reelection in their respective districts. (WWAY 3)

North Carolina Primaries May Lead to Runoff Elections

Two statewide races in North Carolina's primary are likely heading to a runoff election as candidates in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor and state auditor didn't secure more than 30% of the vote. Hal Weatherman and Jim O'Neill are potential candidates for lieutenant governor, while Jack Clark and Dave Boliek will compete in the state auditor runoff. These runoffs are scheduled for May 14th, coinciding with potential runoffs in two congressional races. (News & Observer)

Buncombe County's Historic Voter Apathy on Super Tuesday

The March 5 primary in Buncombe County witnessed historically low voter enthusiasm, with only 28.5% of registered voters participating, the lowest for a presidential primary year since 2004. This decline in turnout was attributed to races at the top of the ticket being seen as foregone conclusions, resulting in little doubt about the nominees. Despite Buncombe's low turnout, it fared better than other large counties statewide, but observers anticipate higher enthusiasm in the upcoming general election, driven by issues such as abortion, education, and climate. (Citizen Times)

Gov. Roy Cooper Allocates $1.3 Million for School Breakfast Programs

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced $1.3 million in grants to 42 public school districts and charter schools, benefiting 51,000 students, to facilitate access to healthy school breakfasts. The grants, funded through federal allocations from October 2023, aim to address food insecurity among students, with nearly 60% of North Carolina public school students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. Recipients utilize the federal Community Eligibility Provision to offer free meals to all students, selected through a competitive process managed by the Carolina Hunger Initiative and the North Carolina Alliance for Health. (North State Journal)

Education Advocates Launch Accountability Campaign Against GOP Candidate Mark Robinson

Following Super Tuesday, education advocates launched a statewide campaign against GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson, citing his past remarks and policy stances regarding public education. Robinson has supported expanding private school vouchers, advocated for eliminating the State Board of Education, and made controversial statements urging parents to remove their children from public schools. Advocates express concerns about the potential impact of Robinson's rhetoric on teachers and the LGBTQ+ community, emphasizing the importance of standing up for public schools and marginalized communities. (NC Newsline)

Saint Augustine's University Faces Payroll Challenges Amid Accreditation Struggles

Saint Augustine's University, facing financial woes, failed to meet its last payroll deadline and uncertainties loom over future payments. The university's accreditation appeal was recently denied, prompting efforts to explore alternative accreditation options such as the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). Despite the setbacks, the university vows to ensure graduating seniors receive their degrees and financial aid commitments are honored. (ABC 11)

North Carolina Law Enforcement Struggles with Recruitment and Retention Amidst Salary Woes

Leaders of state law enforcement agencies, including the NC State Bureau of Investigation and the NC State Highway Patrol, voiced concerns over the unprecedented difficulty in hiring and retaining personnel due to salary disparities with the private sector and local law enforcement. Despite previous pay raises approved by the General Assembly, agencies struggle to compete, with the SBI reporting significant losses of trained staff to private sector jobs offering substantially higher salaries. The shortage of personnel poses challenges in responding to incidents and maintaining public safety, prompting lawmakers to consider further measures to address recruitment and retention issues. (Queen City News)

North Carolina Sees Unprecedented Rise in New Businesses

North Carolina is experiencing a record-breaking influx of new businesses, surpassing previous records in January and February, according to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. LLCs are the most common type of new business, with sectors such as real estate, technology, and bio-life sciences leading the surge. The streamlined process and supportive initiatives like the Rural RISE N.C. program are aiding entrepreneurs, with the Secretary of State's office approving up to 700 new businesses daily. (CBS 17)

NC Officials Bring Diverse Guests to State of the Union

Senators Thom Tillis and Ted Budd are bringing the family of Keith Siegel, a Chapel Hill native held captive by Hamas, to the State of the Union. President Joe Biden's guests include Tiffany Zoeller, Steven Hadfield, and Kris Blackley, highlighting healthcare and cancer awareness. Representatives Alma Adams, Valerie Foushee, and Don Davis invited guests focused on reducing gun violence, including Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden and gun violence prevention activist Lavern Lucier. Davis invited 109-year-old Cassie Smith as his guest. (Charlotte Observer)

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