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Political notebook: Clinton, Cooper, Burr lead in NC’s top political races

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

As election day draws closer, polls seem to consistently show Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with a lead in North Carolina, even if it’s within the margin of error.

The presidential race in North Carolina remains close. However, the latest batch of polls this week — four in total — all found Clinton with a slim lead, giving her a 2.9 percent lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polling. All four polls were among likely voters.

Clinton’s lead in North Carolina comes amid multiple allegations of sexual assault by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. A video of Trump making explicit remarks was also released one week ago. Three of the four polls were conducted after the release of the explicit remarks but before allegations of sexual assault.

Less than two weeks ago, the average of polls showed Clinton and Trump as essentially tied at 43 percent.

Including the latest batch of polls, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has 6.8 percent of voter support in North Carolina in the Real Clear Politics average.

The latest polls have all included questions about North Carolina’s other two hotly-contested races — governor and U.S. Senate.

Since August, Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, the state’s current attorney general, has maintained a lead over Republican incumbent Pat McCrory in North Carolina’s gubernatorial race. Now, Cooper has a four-point lead over McCrory, according to the Real Clear Politics average.

North Carolina’s U.S. Senate contest is the only one of the state’s top three political races where a Republican is leading. Three of four polls released this week show Republican incumbent Richard Burr with leads over Democratic challenger Deborah Ross. Currently, Burr has a 1.9 percent lead over Ross in the Real Clear Politics average.

Hudson: Both presidential candidates ‘flawed’

During an interview this week, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson called Trump’s recently released, explicit comments “disturbing and disgusting.”

As Trump’s campaign reels from a controversy over explicit comments about women and reports of sexual assault, a wide array of Republicans have condemned Trump’s behavior. Some have gone as far as revoking their endorsement of Trump for president. When asked for his reaction, Hudson noted his strong opposition, but wouldn’t go as far as revoking an endorsement.

“There’s no excuse for any man to talk that way,” Hudson said. “It’s very troubling, but when you look at it in terms of this election both candidates are flawed.”

Hudson quoted a recent Facebook post by evangelist Franklin Graham, saying that Clinton represents a “godless progressive agenda.” Hudson noted an open U.S. Supreme Court seat when saying that “given the full picture, I would prefer Trump.”

Without opponents, incumbent legislators get state chamber endorsement

All four of Rowan County’s state legislators are jobs champions and deserving of an endorsement, according to the N.C. Chamber of Commerce.

The business advocacy organization has announced its state legislature endorsements in recent days and picked all of Rowan’s incumbents. Sen. Tom McInnis, R-25, is the only one of the four with competition in November. McInnis will face schoolteacher and Democrat Dannie Montgomery.

McInnis’ 25th NC Senate District includes all of Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Stanly counties. It also includes a large portion of southern Rowan. The towns of Rockwell and China Grove are within the 25th District. Gold Hill and communities south of N.C. 152 are also in the district.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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