Say what?

Rassmussen, which always seems to skew a bit GOPish anyway, has Richard Burr with a 56 percent job approval rating. I’m not sure I’ve seen many politicians crack that for reals in NC in quite a while, let alone a one term incumbent Senator.
They’re also calling the Burr-Marshall race at 52-37.
The poll is based on likely voters, which could eliminate the new voters signed up during the presidential race depending on the criteria.
The number I’d really like to see is name recognition.
How many people really know who their Senators are?

Watt fundraiser under scrutiny

The Hill reports that the Office of Congressional Ethics is looking why an amendment to financial regulatory reform legislation dealing with automobile dealers was withdrawn by Congressman Mel Watt. The timing of a fundraiser in Watts honor two days before he pulled the amendment has drawn interest.
The probe by OCE is looking into the actions of five Republicans and three Democrats as the legislation was coming to a vote.
TPM has more.

Chambers endorses Marshall

This from the Marshall campaign:

Charlotte, N.C. – Julius Chambers, trailblazing legal advocate and civil rights icon, today announced his support for Secretary of State Elaine Marshall in the U.S. Senate runoff. Through his Charlotte-based law firm and as Director Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Chambers litigated numerous landmark civil rights cases and was instrumental in dismantling many of the legal structures that upheld racial segregation and discrimination.

“I’m proud to have the support and endorsement of Julius Chambers,” said Marshall. “He’s dedicated his life and career to creating a more just and equitable society. I look forward to representing those same values in the U.S. Senate.”

Tax on

Already looking ahead to the tax battles of the fall?
Here’s a nice Reuters primer on what’s likely to happen, with this wonderfully succinct breakdown of the positions of the parties:

Democrats favor extension of the tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003, for middle and lower income individuals only. Republicans say raising taxes on the wealthy will hurt the stock market and choke growth.

Odd little place we are

Used to be this state was a little more predictable.
The tide is turning, but it is an unpredictable tide with an anti-incumbency undercurrent that can be exploited by either side. As we saw in the local elections in the odd year cycle, a little bit of organization and the fervor of anti-incumbency can lead to big changes.
Wake’s example
The Wake County school board race is a prime example of how a little bit of money – OK, it was a lot by recent standards, but not that much to the parties involved – can go a long way in the current climate.
Wake is being seen as an example of a resurgent cultural conservative movement. That’s too simple. The movement in Wake County is certainly solid, but it is hardly a typical grassroots operation. It’s heavily organized and financially well supported. (The group that the elections ushered in is also having a hard time governing.)
The school board elections were all about getting a solid turnout among the cultural conservatives, anti-tax advocates and disaffected voters ready to vote out the incumbent. This is certainly a strategy that many will try to duplicate in the 2010 cycle, but not every incumbent is a target for every one of the groups.

Effect on Senate Race
The big question for Democrats in 2010 is whether the power of anti-incumbency will pay off in the race at the top of the ticket. One indication that there is a strong anti-incumbency current is recent polling by PPP that shows Burr at only about 55 percent in his own primary. No doubt like many in the GOP he’ll face some kind of energized challenge from the right.
It’s also worth noting that the seat that Burr holds traded hands often in the past few decades, so he’s battling not just the new wave of anti-incumbency, but one that is much older and manifests itself in North Carolina by rotating this particular senate seat.
Another indication that something is in the air is evidenced by the Democratic side. Elaine Marshall, the better knows of the candidates and probably the most progressive, is outpolling her closest opponent by a wide margin. That’s led to a interesting shift in the discussion on the Democratic side.
Until recently, Cal Cunningham has come across as a more centrist candidate. He has started to stake out progressive positions on financial reform.
We’re likely to see a far more populist race for the senate seat than one would have thought last year. Moving to the middle is increasingly seen as being a part of the inside game in Washington.

Kissell has a primary challenger

From the welcome page of Nancy Shakir for Congress:

Nancy is a mother of three, the grandmother of one, and a retired educator living in Fayetteville, NC. Ms Shakir graduated with a BA in History from Rutgers University and a MA in Education Administration from St. Peter’s Jesuit College. Born in Jersey City, NJ with roots in Fayetteville, she moved to North Carolina to be with her family.

Ms Shakir works as a community activist to make the world a better place for her children. Nancy has written opinion editorials for the Fayetteville Observer where she served as a member of the Community Advisory Board. Nancy hosts a local cable TV show with the Cumberland County Progressives, mentors young children with the Great Oak Mentoring Program, serves on the Board of Directors for the Gilbert Theater and is active with the Fayetteville Peace with Justice Committee.

Nancy is running for Congress because she sees the need for jobs, education, and medical care. Ms Shakir is very disappointed by the voting record of our current representative, particularly on the issue of healthcare and keeping people in their homes. Nancy understands the value of hard work and the hardships workers often face. As a retired school administrator, much of her work experience has included work as a laundry presser, waitress, cashier, various temp and clerical jobs, market recruiter for a major corporation and director of a community based organization.

Nancy’s vocation and advocation has always been on behalf of our workers, our young, our veterans, our people with disabilities and our elderly. She looks forward to working for you in Congress.

To volunteer for the campaign send an email to info(at)NancyShakir.net.

Another hurdle cleared for 4th Circuit nominees

This from Kay Hagan

Judges Jim Wynn and Al Diaz were both approved by the Judiciary Committee today — with the overwhelming support of both Democrats and Republicans. North Carolina’s nominees for the 4th Circuit have for far too long been held up by petty, partisan politics. North Carolina, the largest state within the 4th Circuit, has been underrepresented for the court’s entire 118-year history. When I came to Washington, I made the case directly to the President that North Carolina deserved more than one seat on the 4th Circuit, and the White House listened. Today, fair representation for our state is one step closer to a reality. I will work with my colleagues to ensure Judges Diaz and Wynn receive a vote in the full Senate as soon as possible.”