by Rick Henderson
Editor-in-Chief, Carolina Journal
• Debategate, round two? Attorney General Roy Cooper and former state Rep. Deborah Ross of Wake County, the Democratic Party’s presumed front-runners for governor and U.S. senate, respectively, still have refused to commit to debate their primary opponents, the N&O reports. Time Warner Cable News and WRAL have set aside time for the candidates either to debate or sit down and speak with reporters on camera, but Cooper and Ross are no-shows, for now. In 2014, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan didn’t show for a TWC debate with Republican opponent Thom Tillis. An empty chair was on the stage. Tillis wound up winning the Senate seat.
• As for the Senate campaign, Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey tells The Fayetteville Observer he can defeat Ross — who’s been endorsed by most of the major Democratic establishment PACS — in the primary if he raises between $250,000 and $300,000.
• In Council of State races, Democratic state Sen. John Stein had nearly $1.5 million on hand in his attempt to succeed Attorney General Roy Cooper. Republican rivals are far behind as they head into the March 15 primary. Forsyth County DA Jim O’Neill has $230,000 in the bank and state Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson County has $187,000.
• In the campaign for labor commissioner, incumbent Republican Cherie Berry has $44,000 on hand, leaving her roughly $25,000 behind former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, a Democrat.
• In the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones had $114,000 cash on hand. Linda Coleman, the 2012 Democratic nominee for the job, had less on hand, but Dome reports there were discrepancies in her filing, so it’s unclear how much less.