by Rick Henderson
Editor-in-Chief, Carolina Journal
• U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, has lapped the field of North Carolina’s House incumbents and challengers with more than $2.3 million campaign cash on hand, the Salisbury Post reports. A distant seconc is Deputy House Majority Whip Patrick McHenry, R-10th, with $1.2 million in the bank. Incumbent GOP U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has nearly $5 million in cash for his re-election efforts.
• The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling’s most recent statewide survey shows Burr in a close race with Democratic former state Rep. Deborah Ross of Wake County, with Burr leading 43-39, though 73 percent of those surveyed have no opinion of Ross. She is a big favorite to win her party’s nomination over businessman Kevin Griffin and Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey. The race for governor between Republican incumbent Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper is a toss-up. If Ken Spaulding defeated Cooper in the Democratic primary, McCrory would defeat Spaulding by 15 points.
• A provision, sponsored by GOP Reps. Richard Hudson (8th District) and Robert Pittenger (9th District), of the recently passed budget deal repeals a mandate in Obamacare. The measure ends a requirement that companies with more than 200 employees automatically sign up new hires for Obamacare while giving the workers an option to reject coverage. The Congressional Budget Office projects that roughly 750,000 fewer people will sign up for Obamacare now that they’re not forced to do so. Hudson and Pittenger have supported the proposal since 2011.
• State Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover, who chairs the House Environment Committee, will retire at the end of next year’s short session. Catlin says he needs to commit full-time to the engineering firm he owns; the firm’s CEO passed away late last year.