Around the South for May 30th: AL, NC, & TX

Alabama: Trump slams Moore.  Prospective Republican candidate for Senate Roy Moore took a big hit this week when President Donald Trump said his nomination could have “devastating” consequences, especially for the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.  The twice-removed former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice lost to Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in 2017, following allegations that he had improper sexual contact with teenage girls in the 1970s.  North Carolina: Dems struggle to find good candidates.  U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is considered to be one of the more vulnerable Senate Republicans heading into 2020, but Democrats have struggled to find a suitable candidate to challenge him.  Cal Cunningham, a candidate for Lt. Gov., and State Senator Jeff Jackson have been floated as names, but as of now there is no big time candidate for the party to rally around.  Texas: SOS Whitley resigns.  Embattled Texas Secretary of State David Whitley resigned this week after he was failed to be confirmed before the end of the legislative session, as is required by law.  Whitley came under fire after his office wrongly flagged tens of thousands of Texans as potential non-citizens to be removed from the voter rolls.  That mistake led to a major lawsuit from a civil rights group and national media attention, and Democrats in the state Senate blocked his confirmation.  Gov. Greg Abbott must now name a replacement, who will have to be confirmed following the 2020...

Around the South for May 23rd: KY, SC, & FL

Kentucky: Beshear wins Dem nomination.  Attorney General Andy Beshear won the Democratic primary for governor this week, setting up a showdown with current Gov. Matt Bevin.  The two have had a testy relationship over the past four years, waging a series of legal battles over pension and education.  South Carolina: Biden boasts big lead.  The Palmetto State is one of the key early states for the Democratic presidential primary, and if early polls are any indicator then former Vice President Joe Biden has a major advantage.  A poll from Columbia-based Crantford Research has Biden at 42% of respondents’ first choice, followed distantly by California Sen. Kamala Harris at 10% and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 8%.  Florida: DeSantis calls for elections security check.  Following a report that Russian hackers successfully breached two counties’ election data ahead of the 2016 election, Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for a security check to ensure that elections infrastructure in the state is protected.  The state’s budget, still awaiting the governor’s signature, designates an additional $2.8 million in cybersecurity grants for county elections...

Around the South for May 16th: AL, TX, & NC

Alabama: Abortion bill causes uproar.  As neighboring states such as Georgia have passed more restrictive anti-abortion legislation this year, Alabama has gone one step further.  This week the state’s legislature passed a bill that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with almost no exceptions, a felony.  The bill now sits on the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey, as Democrats, including those already in the 2020 presidential primary, have slammed the legislation.  Texas: Jones to get rematch against Rep. Hurd.  Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democrat who narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, last year is running again.  Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer, lost to Hurd last year by fewer than 1,000 votes, and is ramping up her 2020 campaign early to get an edge on the rematch.  North Carolina: Bishop wins GOP primary.  In the redo race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, State Sen. Dan Bishop, author of the infamous “bathroom bill” in the state last year, won a low-turnout Republican primary to face Democrat Dan McCready in September.  The race is being redone because Republican Mark Harris, the original winner, was forced to resign after it was found he paid a political operative to commit voter...

Around the South for May 9th: AL, SC, & VA

Alabama: Equal pay bill advances.  A bill to prohibit Alabama employers from paying workers differently based on gender or race passed out of committee this week, moving it a step closer to becoming law.  While there are already federal laws on the books banning pay discrimination, Alabama and Mississippi are the only states without such a law on the books.  South Carolina: NFL owner threatens legislature.  Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is urging South Carolina lawmakers to pass a bill approving more than $115 million in incentives to get the team to move its team headquarters across the border from North to South Carolina.  Some South Carolina lawmakers have questioned the positive impact of the move, while others point to the millions in investment that it would bring as reason to move forward.  Tepper has said he’s happy to remain in Charlotte if legislators can’t come up with the incentives he’s asking for.  Virginia: State Sen. eyes higher office.  State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) is a rising star in the Democratic party – and she’s already beginning to look at moving up the ladder.  She recently launched a new PAC that seeks to help Dems take control of both the state House and Senate, and could also be used as a launching pad for a gubernatorial race in 2021.  The two presumed Democratic frontrunners for the nomination, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring, are mired in high profile scandals that may damage, if not kill, any potential campaigns in the...

Around the South for May 2nd: FL, TN, & NC

Florida: State House passes campus carry bill.  On Wednesday Florida’s House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill which will allow teachers to carry guns in high school classrooms.  Democrats bitterly opposed the measure, which will allow teachers to arm themselves if they complete the 144 hour voluntary Guardian program.  The legislation now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law.  Tennessee: Senate passes bill eliminating time changes.  The Tennessee state Senate has passed a bill that would keep daylight savings time year-round, a proposal that has gained steam around the country in recent years.  The bill would scrap the biannual time shift,  but only if Congress first passes a federal law allowing states to observe daylight saving year-round – which may be a big ask.  North Carolina: Congressional race goes to GOP runoff.  The race to replace former U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who passed away in February, will go to a runoff in the Republican primary.  A pair of doctors – state Rep. Greg Murphy and Joan Perry, emerged from a crowded primary field and will meet again on July 9.  The winner of that primary will be a heavy favorite in the right-leaning district ahead of a September general election against Democratic primary winner Allen Thomas, Libertarian winner Tim Harris and Constitution Party candidate Greg...