Political notebook: Cress named to Burr’s veteran leadership team

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 17, 2016

By Josh Bergeron


The campaign of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has picked a local resident for a veterans’ group.

Vietnam veteran and retired Army Sgt. Rodney Cress was one of nine people picked by the Burr campaign to serve on the Veterans for Burr leadership team. The group is the fourth such leadership team named by the campaign.

In 1970, Cress graduated from the infantry noncommissioned officer candidate school in Fort Benning, Georgia. He received the Bronze Star Medal with valor for his service during the Vietnam War.

Following his retirement from the Army, Cress has served as a veterans advocate. He has received the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service and the North Carolina Society of Historians Barringer Award of Excellence for military history.

Cress penned an online letter this week about the importance of making veterans a priority. The letter includes an endorsement of Burr on veterans issues.

“The VA has been marred by gross mismanagement, and Senator Burr has proven he is not afraid to hold their feet to the fire,” Cress wrote in his online letter. “As the former ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, he fought to expose the VA health care scandal. And he helped to pass reforms in 2014 that allow veterans to see a doctor of their choosing if they are on a waitlist or live far from a VA facility.”

In the letter, Cress says he trusts Burr to fight for veterans in the U.S. Senate.

Newest poll shows NC’s political race still close

The latest poll from the conservative-leaning Civitas Institute finds that two of the top political races in North Carolina are essentially tied.

The presidential race in North Carolina is tied at 42 percent between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the poll. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is at 5 percent, which is a lower number than he’s seen in the organization’s previous polls.

Civitas’ survey falls in line with historical trends among polls in North Carolina, where the Real Clear Politics average of polls find a 0.6 percent advantage for Clinton.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina gubernatorial race is also essentially tied, according to Civitas’ most recent results. Civitas found incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory with a 2 percent lead over Democrat Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general. That lead, however, falls within the margin of error.

Civitas’ results in the gubernatorial race are notably different from others. Polls monitored by Real Clear Politics have shown an advantage for Cooper since early August. Overall, Real Clear Politics’ polling average shows a 4.7 percent advantage for Cooper.

In Civitas poll, 600 registered, likely voters were surveyed on Sept. 11 and 12.

NRA announces more spending in NC’s U.S. Senate race

In an effort to help U.S. Sen. Richard Burr get re-elected, the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund says it will launch an advertising campaign in four of the state’s TV markets.

The NRA this week didn’t release the exact amount of money it plans to spend on the ads, but said it would be a seven-figure sum. Federal Election Commission records don’t yet include any spending that reflects this week’s announcement.

With its new advertising in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race, the NRA will add to the nearly $360,000 it has already spent in the contest, according to FEC records.

The latest ad will specifically target Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Deborah Ross as voting against personal liberty and voting for gun control measures.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.