by Rick Henderson
Editor-in-Chief, Carolina Journal
• The League of Conservation Voters now goes after House Speaker and U.S. Senate nominee Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, trying to tie him to the coal ash spill at the Dan River. A bill imposing new regulations on Duke Energy and its coal-ash containment policies is pending at the General Assembly.
• Incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan keeps raking it in, reporting $3.6 million raised in the second quarter and $8.7 million cash on hand. Tillis, whose reports aren’t out yet, had about $1 million on hand at the end of the first quarter.
• A bill Hagan authored increasing protections for hunters and other sportsmen dies in the Senate. The measure was expected to give Hagan and other red-state Democrats insulation against charges they’re squishy on Second Amendment rights, but the bill fails after Majority Leader Harry Reid halted amendments that would have forced senators to choose sides on a host of gun-ownership controversies.
• Turnout in the 6th Congressional District runoff between Republicans Phil Berger Jr. and Mark Walker is brisk, with several election boards reporting more absentee ballots for Tuesday’s race than for May’s first primary.
• State Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, one of the most respected conservatives in the General Assembly, endorses Walker in the 6th District runoff. In part, Blust cites a $75,000 donation from Senate leader Phil Berger Sr.’s Republican State Leadership Committee to a Super PAC backing his son’s campaign. Blust said the money should have been used to support legislative candidates.
• Meantime, the conservative weekly Rhino Times endorses Berger, citing his record as a district attorney and endorsements from other members of the state’s congressional delegation, including retiring Rep. Howard Coble, whom Berger hopes to succeed.