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Friday Forward News Roundup

North Carolina Forward Party Supports Incumbent Democrat in Primary Election

The North Carolina Forward Party (NCFP) backed incumbent Democrat Rep. Cecil Brockman's reelection bid, citing his history of compromise in the partisan assembly and his responsiveness to constituents. Emphasizing the need for diverse perspectives over ideological purity, NCFP's support for Brockman signals a shift towards a more inclusive political discourse, challenging traditional party dynamics and advocating for constituent-focused leadership. (Carolina Journal)

Primary Defeats Highlight Concerns of Narrowing Democratic Tent in North Carolina

Following primary defeats of long-serving legislative Democrats Rep. Michael Wray and Sen. Mike Woodard, party activists supporting the challengers claim victory, while Rep. Cecil Brockman emphasizes the importance of voting for district interests over party lines. Brockman narrowly survived a tough challenge, while Woodard lost by a significant margin. The defeats prompt reflections on party dynamics and the importance of collaboration across the aisle. (News & Observer)

Tight Race in North Carolina Governor's Race as Many Voters Remain Undecided

An exclusive WRAL News poll reveals a close gubernatorial race in North Carolina, with Democratic nominee Josh Stein leading Republican nominee Mark Robinson by a slim margin of 44% to 42%, while 15% of likely voters remain undecided. Stein's financial advantage, with $10 million in campaign funds compared to Robinson's lesser haul, underscores the significance of undecided voters in the coming months, as both candidates vie for support in a race that will impact issues ranging from economic development to public safety. (WRAL)

Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory Resigns as National Co-Chair of No Labels

Former Republican Governor Pat McCrory has resigned from his position as national co-chair of centrist group No Labels, amid the group's announcement of a "Unity presidential ticket," details of which were not disclosed. McCrory cited a desire to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with his family, with the group focusing on bipartisan initiatives such as the Problem Solvers Caucus. No Labels has been hinting at running a presidential candidate, raising concerns about potential impact on major party nominees, but has previously stated it would only do so if there was a viable path to victory. (Charlotte Observer)

Former Rep. Mark Walker Ends Congressional Campaign to Work for Trump

Former Rep. Mark Walker has ended his congressional campaign without requesting a runoff against former lobbyist Addison McDowell, likely paving McDowell's path to Congress in January. Walker confirmed his campaign's end, opting to work for former President Donald Trump, who endorsed McDowell in the race. Despite initially indicating plans to proceed with the runoff, Walker accepted a position with Trump to work on outreach to faith groups and minority communities. Walker's campaign faced controversy and criticism, including from Trump Jr., and his decision to exit the race underscores the influence of Trump in North Carolina Republican politics. (News & Observer)

North Carolina Judicial Primaries Yield Victories and Potential Shifts

In the North Carolina judicial primaries, Democrat Associate Justice Allison Riggs secured a decisive win over challenger Lora Cubbage for Supreme Court Seat 6, setting up a showdown with Republican Judge Jefferson Griffin in the general election. Riggs, formerly of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, replaced Michael Morgan in 2023. Meanwhile, in the Court of Appeals, Republican Judge Chris Freeman unseated incumbent Hunter Murphy amid controversy surrounding a censure over a "toxic work environment" in Murphy's office. (North State Journal)

North Carolina House Speaker Outlines Legislative Priorities for Short Session

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, having secured victory in the Republican primary for a congressional seat, highlights legislative priorities for the upcoming short session. With control over the House Republican Caucus and a veto-proof supermajority, Moore aims to focus on passing a budget, considering additional raises for teachers and state employees, defining antisemitism as a hate crime, addressing immigration issues, and tackling inflation. However, contentious topics such as abortion restrictions and IVF legislation won't be on the agenda for this year, while discussions on unresolved issues like medical marijuana legalization remain uncertain. (News & Observer)

Advocates Stress Importance of IVF Amid Legal Uncertainties

Lauren Garrett and other parents share their experiences with in vitro fertilization (IVF), emphasizing its significance in their journey to parenthood. Concerns arise following the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling considering embryos from IVF as children under state law, prompting discussions about the future legality of IVF procedures across states, including potential implications for frozen embryos. Despite political debates and legislative actions, advocates like Attorney General Josh Stein urge for explicit protections for IVF in state law to address anxieties among families and ensure reproductive freedom. (NC Newsline)

North Carolina Judges Rule GOP Legislature's Election Board Changes Unconstitutional

A panel of judges in North Carolina has unanimously ruled against the Republican-controlled legislature's attempt to transfer the power to choose election board members from the governor, siding with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The judges deemed portions of the new election law unconstitutional, blocking its implementation and maintaining the previous setup of election boards. The decision represents a setback for GOP efforts to alter the composition of the state board and enact voting reforms, with potential implications for upcoming elections. (ABC 11)

Federal Trial Over North Carolina Voter ID Law Set for May Despite Efforts to Dismiss

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs has denied a motion to end efforts by civil rights groups challenging North Carolina's photo voter identification law, allowing the federal trial to proceed in May. The law, implemented by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2018, faces allegations of racial bias, with the NAACP contending that it disproportionately discriminates against Black and Latino voters. Despite legal delays and previous reversals, the trial will move forward, with disputed facts and inferences to be addressed. (ABC 13)

North Carolina Extends eCourts Contract, Achieves Cost Savings Amid Lawsuit Challenges

North Carolina's court system is extending its eCourts contract by another five years while capping cost increases at 3% per year, resulting in more than $6 million in savings from the original 10-year contract. Despite the contract extension and cost reductions, a federal trial over the photo voter identification law remains scheduled for May, with civil rights groups alleging racial bias. The eCourts expansion continues, with paperless recordkeeping set to commence in 11 Western North Carolina counties in July, despite ongoing legal challenges to the system's rollout. (Carolina Journal)

Controversy Surrounds State Funding of Military Training Facility Disguised as STEM Education Center

The Emerging Technology Institute in Red Springs, North Carolina, presents itself as a STEM education hub but also offers military-style training, receiving $2 million in state taxpayer money. While some funds are allocated for STEM projects, a significant portion is designated for security infrastructure and unspecified expenses. Despite efforts to attract business and investment, concerns arise over the true objectives and transparency of the institute's operations. (NC Newsline)

High Interest in Sports Betting as North Carolina Sees Surge in Account Registrations

GeoComply reports that North Carolina has witnessed 370,000 new sports betting accounts and over 5.3 million geolocation checks within the first two days of sports betting legalization. Most activity is concentrated around Charlotte, indicating significant interest. However, consumer groups warn of potential scams, urging vigilance and emphasizing the importance of using licensed services within the state. Additionally, GeoComply notes interest from South Carolina, with thousands of accounts accessing North Carolina's sportsbooks. (CBS 17)

Bertie County Schools Tackle Teacher Retention with New Housing Complex

Otis Smallwood, superintendent of Bertie County Schools, recognized the need to address teacher turnover due to a lack of housing options in the area. To combat this issue, a 24-unit apartment complex designed for teachers will open in Windsor, funded primarily by the State Employees Credit Union. Smallwood hopes this initiative will encourage teachers to stay in the district and provide more consistency for students. Similar solutions may benefit other rural school districts grappling with affordable housing challenges statewide. (WUNC)

Durham Residents Engage in Dialogue Over Downtown Street Design Changes

Over 200 residents attended an open house at Global Scholars Academy to discuss proposed street design changes in downtown Durham, particularly Roxboro Street and Mangum Street, expressing concerns about safety due to speeding drivers. Suggestions ranged from improving sidewalks and bike lanes to converting one-way lanes to accommodate bikes or buses, with a focus on enhancing safety infrastructure. The city is considering converting the streets to two-ways, pending further public input and budget considerations, with construction estimated to begin in 2026. (Indy Week)

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