Political notebook: State Senate Democratic candidates to debate Thursday

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 17, 2020

N.C. Senate District 33 candidates Tarsha Ellis and Geoffrey Hoy will participate in a forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Trinity Oaks.

The forum is hosted by the Rowan Democrats in partnership with the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP, Salisbury Indivisible and Rowan Concerned Citizens.

The forum is open to the public, and questions may be submitted in advance via an online form or email to info@rowancodems.com. Those submitting a question are asked to isen.nclude a name, address and telephone number.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican incumbent  Carl Ford in the general election.

Early voting for the primary is currently underway until Feb. 29. Primary election day is March 3.

The Rowan Democrats will also host a “See Democracy Work” forum from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Scotch Irish Fire Department.

The event will be focused on broadband.

Hoy, Ellis, U.S. House candidate Scott Huffman and a representative of U.S. presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg will be in attendance.

Poll says Sanders, Biden lead in NC Democratic primary

A new High Point University Poll finds that North Carolinians planning to vote in the 2020 Democratic primary for president prefer U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden to other candidates.

Sanders leads Biden 25% to 19% among self-identified, registered Democratic voters and unaffiliated voters who said they would participate in the Democratic primary. Biden draws, however, 24% of a smaller group of voters that are most likely to vote in the Democratic primary, compared to 20% for Sanders.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg received 13% support. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren received 12%. Pete Buttigieg followed with 6%. Andrew Yang received 4%, but he has since suspended his campaign. Tom Steyer received 3% and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar received 3%.

In the Republican primary for president, incumbent President Donald Trump has the support of 88% of self-identified, registered Republican voters and unaffiliated voters who said they would participate in the Republican primary.

Trump has the support of 91% of the smaller group of voters most likely to vote in the North Carolina Republican primary for president. Other Republican candidates for president draw single-digit support from registered voters — Joe Walsh with 4% and Bill Weld with 1%.

“As expected, we have an incumbent president with extremely high levels of support among those who will vote in the Republican primary and a very divided field on the Democratic side. The addition of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg makes it even more difficult to know what will happen in the coming weeks,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, associate professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll.

In the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, former State Sen. Cal Cunningham leads with 29%, followed by State Senator Erica D. Smith with 10%. A relatively large proportion of self-identified registered voters (50%) do not yet express a preference in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, incumbent U.S. Senator Thom Tillis has the support of 52% of the self-identified registered voters who may participate in the Republican primary. More than one-third — 38% — of these self-identified registered voters currently express no preference.  

The HPU poll interviewed 1,100 North Carolinians on Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.

Senate leader Phil Berger endorses Dan Forest for governor

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger announced Monday that he is endorsing Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s campaign for Governor of North Carolina.

Berger and Forest have worked together in the Senate since 2013.

“Over the past decade, we’ve made tremendous progress in North Carolina by lowering taxes, rolling back overbearing regulations, and improving education. Our economy is booming as a result,” Berger said. “All that hard work is now threatened by the lack of leadership we see from the governor today.”

Forest thanked Berger for the support.

“I am honored to have Sen. Berger’s support,” Forest said. “Leadership is hard work. I look forward to working together with the General Assembly — both Republicans and Democrats — to pursue bipartisan solutions to our state’s biggest challenges.”