Wake Dems Weekly Update: Fired Up and Ready for the #BlueWave


What do you get when you put 500+ Wake County Democrats in the Raleigh Convention Center on a Saturday afternoon? You get a group of fired up citizens who are ready to #BreaktheMajority!

The 2018 Wake County Democratic Party County Convention was a great success. With speeches from David Price, NC 4th District Congressman, and Jessica Holmes, the Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, as well as from our many candidates for the November 2018 elections, attendees were “Fired Up, Ready to Go!”. The #BlueWave is rising!

Update on the battle over the State Board of Elections

On Tuesday, the State Supreme Court refused to clarify its order relating to the merger of the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission, as requested by Governor Cooper last week. In response, the Governor has filed a new lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court over House Bill 90 to prevent its implementation on March 16th. The lawsuit cites a separation of powers violation with the new law.

This is the third lawsuit filed over the GOP’s attempts to limit the executive power of the Governor. We will continue to follow this lawsuit.

An ongoing constitutional violation of every child’s right,” judge declares

In 1994, five school districts in NC, and individuals in those districts - Cumberland, Halifax, Hoke, Robeson, and Vance - sued the State. Their claim was that state constitutional mandate for equal educational opportunity has been violated, especially for low wealth districts. Leandro v. State has become a landmark case in the US. In 1997, the State Supreme Court ruled that every child in NC has a right to obtain a sound basic education. As part of the ongoing case in 2004, the State Supreme Court held that at-risk prospective students were being denied their right to the opportunity for a sound basic education. The State expanded Pre-K services as a result, and positive outcomes were achieved.

As part of their first State budget in 2011, the GOP-led NCGA HB 200 capped the number of at-risk students at 20% for NC Pre-K, decreased the overall funding, and required a co-payment for enrollment in the program. The Bill was challenged in court under Leandro. In 2012, the State Court of Appeals upheld that the State must provide free Pre-K to any at-risk 4 year old who applies.

In 2017, the State Board of Education, under Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, requested of the Court to be dropped from the lawsuit, claiming that the Board has made the required changes needed under Leandro. This would mean that only the State of NC would be left as a Defendant.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge David Lee vehemently disagreed.  In his decision denying the request, Lee stated, "There is an ongoing constitutional violation of every child’s right to receive the opportunity for a sound basic education. This court not only has the power to hear and enter appropriate orders declaratory and remedial in nature, but also has a duty to address this violation." He also noted, “the court record is replete with evidence that the Leandro right continues to be denied to hundreds of thousands of North Carolina children.”

Lessons from Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District

As of the writing of this week’s update, it appears that Democrat Conor Lamb has won the special election in the PA 18th Congressional District, one which went for Donald Trump by more than 20 points in 2016. What are our takeaways as the Wake Dems head into the 2018 midterms?

  • In order to win, you have to show up (Part 1): Democrats had not run a candidate in the PA 18th in 2014 and 2016. Wake Dems have met this challenge, with at least one Democratic candidate in every race in 2018!

  • In order to win, you have to show up (Part 2): Get Out the Vote is an essential winning strategy in 2018! Our voters are motivated at all levels. GOTV begins with the primaries in May and continues up to November 8th.

  • Real Issues = Real Wins: Democrats must focus on the issues that matter to Wake County residents. Education, Jobs, Access to Affordable Healthcare, and Local Infrastructure impact our citizens every day. Wake Dems are lucky to have strong candidates who can not only speak to these issues, but also offer real solutions.

  • It Can Happen Once in a Blue Moon: 2018 is a “Blue Moon Election”. What does that mean? Every twelve (12) years in NC, we have an election cycle where there are no statewide elections held. For 2018, it also means we have a unique opportunity to focus and take back control of the NCGA as citizens look for positive change.

As we move into the 2018 election cycle, there are numerous opportunities for Wake Dems to learn more about the elections and to volunteer. One great source of information is the Events Calendar at wakedems.org. You can find out about candidate forums, volunteer opportunities and social activities!  You can also check out our Facebook page for more information.

How is your Social Media Game?

We are looking for some team members to join the social media committee. Email WCDP3vc@gmail.com if you are interested in joining the team.

Wake Dems Weekly Update: 2018 WDCP Annual County Convention


This Wake County Democratic Party Annual Convention is this Saturday from 1pm to 6pm at the Raleigh Convention Center! The Agenda for the event is now available. We look forward to seeing everyone!

State Board of Elections Confusion Continues

On Monday, the three judge panel hearing the case of Cooper vs. Berger I, relating to the merger and makeup of the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, issued a decision. They agreed with the North Carolina Supreme Court that a law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2016 should be partially struck down. However, the panel did not address the underlying issue of the case - the constitutionality of the GOP-lead NCGA’s merger of the two Boards.

Adding to even more confusion, House Bill 90, which the NCGA passed back in early February, expands the Board of Elections to nine (9) members - four Republicans, four Democrats, and one Unaffiliated - which are all chosen by the Governor from lists provided by the parties. The law also gives the Governor power to fire Board members at will. Governor Cooper did not veto the Bill but is allowing the Bill to become law on March 16th without his signature.

At this time, Wake is one of twenty-five (25) County Boards of Election to have only two seated members on a three-member board. These appointments are made by the State Board of Elections, which is the subject of the current merger lawsuits. Without a fully-functioning State Board of Elections, these county boards are unable to fulfill their duties.

On Wednesday, Governor Cooper officially asked the state Supreme Court to clarify and enforce its mandate to the three judge panel. The Governor requested that the Court declare the merger of the boards “void and without legal effect.”

DACA in Limbo

In September 2017, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, put in place by President Obama in 2012, was being terminated. A final date of March 5, 2018, for the program was announced.

The DACA program provides legal protections for undocumented persons who were brought to the US as children. It allows for recipients to work and pursue higher education without fear of deportation. Participants are required to be under the age of 31 and enrolled in school, the military, or working full time, and to have no criminal record. Recipients must be reapproved every two (2) years.

That deadline passed this week and the DACA program is still in limbo. Multiple lawsuits were filed across the United States to stop the termination. Two of those cases have resulted in rulings halting the federal government from ending the program and forcing the continued acceptance of DACA renewal applications. Congress has been unable to come to a bipartisan resolution to the issue.

DACA is a federal issue, but is one that hits close to home for North Carolina and Wake County, in particular. Our state is home to 27,385 approved DACA recipients, one of the largest populations in the country. Estimates project that ending DACA will cost NC $1.2 billion over the next decade.

Early Voting and Absentee Ballots for May Primaries

The #BlueWave and our plan to #BreaktheMajority begins with the May 8th primaries. Be sure to mark your calendars!

Is your voter registration up to date? You can check the status of your registration and view your primary ballot at the Voter Search page offered by the State Board of Elections. Be sure to confirm that your address and affiliation are correct. You have until April 13th to make any updates prior to the May 8th primaries.

Voters can begin requesting absentee ballots for the May 8th primaries on March 19th. You can request your ballot using this form from the State Board of Elections. Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before May 8th to be counted.

Early Voting for the May 8th primaries begins on April 19th at the Wake County Board of Elections and on April 26th at all other Early Voting sites. Early voting runs through May 5th.

What Are Your Budget Priorities?

Did you know local government impacts your life more than some federal issues? We need to stay active and make our voices heard.

If you live in Raleigh, your city wants to hear from you! The FY2018 Resident Budget Priorities Survey is now available. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and provide your input on the direction of the city.

Wake Dems Weekly Update: NC Dems are running in every single state legislative district


Best News First!!

For the first time ever, North Carolina Democrats are running in every single state legislative district! That’s 170 seats with none unchallenged!

Now the real work begins! Time to start getting organized and GOTV!

We are also happy to announce that our Annual Precinct Organizational Meetings saw strong attendance and enthusiasm for the work to be done in 2018! Your precinct is a great place to get started with volunteering and organizing. You can learn more about your Precinct, including contacting Officers, via the new “Find My Precinct’ option at www.wakedems.org .

It Is Already Starting

Last year, we followed the twists and turns of the State Budget process and lamented the negative impact these recent tax cuts have had on many of our Wake County citizens while not providing the economic boost promised by the GOP. We warned that NC could become the next Kansas - slowing economic growth and increasing budget shortfalls. Unfortunately, it looks like our fears were founded.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities blog this week is titled “North Carolina’s Tax Cuts Haven’t Caused Economy to Surge”. It highlights the failure of the GOP’s economic strategies in the state and warns that NC is facing a budget shortfall of $1.2 billion in 2020, rising to $1.4 billion by 2022. The article explains how the tax cuts have not only cut our revenue by $3.5 billion annually, but have also widened the racial economic divide, with minority citizens paying a larger share of the state’s tax revenue. We are seeing slowing economic growth in NC - in just three years, we have gone from growing faster than the national economy to lagging behind other states in the Southeast. Three years!

With this slowdown in revenue and growth, look for the GOP legislature to start threatening the social safety net even more, including demands for more cuts to education at all levels. This is an economic crisis of the Republican’s making. Unless change happens quickly, NC is heading down the same path as states like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, where this failed experiment at supply-side tax cuts have lead to disastrous results.

Another Tear in the Social Safety Net

Slowing economic growth means we can expect to begin seeing rising unemployment numbers in Wake County and across the state. As we learned last month, Republican’s draconian policies towards unemployment benefits under former Governor McCrory mean that those who will need the most help in a worsening economy will not find much in the way of aid.

In February, The Urban Institute, an economic think tank focused on social and economic policy, presented its findings from a study of the state’s unemployment program to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance. They reported that NC has gone from a $2 billion deficit in the fund to a $3.1 billion surplus. However, this was not achieved by economic growth, but by “a radical reduction in the generosity of your program to the claimants,”

  • NC now only provides 9.3 weeks of benefits, down from 16.2 in 2016,
  • NC has the second shortest benefits period in the country, where the average is 14.7 weeks,

  • The national average for weekly benefits is $332,

  • In NC, the average is $247.

As was to be expected, the GOP sees no problem. As one Republican Representative responded, “I think where we are is a good thing. What is the point of your presentation?”.

A National Disgrace with Local Impacts

Our updates focus on Wake County and the NCGA, in general. However, we are watching with concern as HR 620 works its way through Congress, as it will impact our citizens here. As per GOP standards, the bill has an innocuous name - ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. However, its true purpose is to gut the Americans with Disabilities Act. As the ACLU’s response to the Act states, “The ‘ADA Education and Reform Act’ upends a key provision of the ADA by preventing people with disabilities from immediately going to court to enforce their rights and to press for timely removal of the barrier that impedes access. Without this critical enforcement mechanism, compliance under the ADA will suffer and people with disabilities will be denied the access to which they are entitled to under the law.”.

This will have a significant impact to our state, where we know from the latest statistics that 16% (1.24 million) of  North Carolinians have at least one disability. We will continue to monitor the Bill’s progress.