Politics

NC Democrats signal they'll uphold Gov. Roy Cooper's veto

Illustration of a column wrapped in snakes from a caduceus.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Every Democrat in North Carolina's legislature has signed onto a pair of identical bills that would codify Roe v. Wade, House and Senate Democrats announced in a release Tuesday.

  • Why it matters: Democrats' show of unity is a signal that the party intends to remain united on abortion, even as moderate Democrats face pressure to back the abortion restrictions Republicans propose this session.

NC auditor's state vehicle privileges revoked after hit-and-run

Photo illustration of Beth Wood with abstract pattern of gavels.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: North Carolina State Auditor's Office

North Carolina state officials waited six weeks to revoke State Auditor Beth Wood's ability to drive a state vehicle over her December hit-and-run, a spokesperson for the state Department of Administration said Friday.

  • Why it matters: The move came Tuesday, nearly a week after Wood's misdemeanor charge for her role in the hit-and-run came to light, rather than right after the incident.

N.C. doctor sues state over abortion pills restrictions

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

A UNC Health doctor sued North Carolina Wednesday over a law that restricts the use of abortion pills, arguing that its limitations run counter to federal law.

  • The lawsuit asks for the courts to block North Carolina's laws around the drug, mifepristone.
  • A similar lawsuit was filed in West Virginia the same day.

Why it matters: North Carolina's case is one of the first challenges to abortion laws since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in its Dobbs decision last year.

  • The case is expected to be watched closely by abortion opponents and advocates alike, as North Carolina has the least restrictive abortion laws in the Southeast.

N.C. Auditor Beth Wood was leaving Christmas party before hit-and-run

Photo illustration of Beth Wood with abstract pattern of gavels.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: North Carolina State Auditor's Office

North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood released a statement Monday, following reports last week of charges she's facing for a hit-and-run.

  • "I was shaken by the incident and, when I was unable to move my vehicle, I left the scene," Wood said. "That was a serious mistake and I regret my decision."
Lucille Sherman
Jan 19, 2023 - News

North Carolina Auditor Beth Wood charged with hit-and-run

A portrait of N.C. state Auditor Beth Wood.

State Auditor Beth Wood's official portrait. Photo: N.C. State Audtior's Office.

North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood is facing a misdemeanor charge for a hit-and-run on Salisbury and Hargett Streets in downtown Raleigh the evening of Dec. 8, records show.

  • She'll appear in court Jan. 26.

Details: Wood is charged with a Class 2 hit-and-run, leaving the scene and property damage. Wood also received an infraction for unsafe movement.

North Carolina AG Josh Stein announces his 2024 bid for governor

Josh Stein, speaking at an event

Photo: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein confirmed the worst-kept secret in state politics Wednesday: He's running for governor in 2024.

Driving the news: Stein, a Democrat, jump-starts a battle over who will succeed outgoing Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Why it matters: Cooper has served as the party's last line of defense against the Republican-controlled state legislature since his election in 2016.

  • Stein's bid will likely determine whether Democrats will have much say in the direction North Carolina goes in the coming years.

What he's saying: "I believe in a different North Carolina — and that the fights we choose determine what kind of state we’ll become," Stein said in his announcement video. "We’ll build a better and brighter North Carolina by standing together for what’s right, fighting to fix what’s wrong, and doing right by every single North Carolinian."

Between the lines: Stein wasted no time in taking shots at Republicans and their presumptive nominee, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who has yet to announce his run.

  • In his announcement, Stein painted the race as a battle to protect democracy from politicians who spark "division, ignite hate and fan the flames of bigotry."

The intrigue: Stein's announcement comes a little early considering the 2024 election is still nearly two years away — 657 days, to be exact, as the Assembly pointed out — but it came as no surprise to many political observers.

  • His career has been building up to this moment: Stein has followed the same trajectory as Cooper and former Gov. Mike Easley, both of whom served as attorney general before being elected governor of North Carolina.

Zoom in: Stein enters the race as an attorney general with a track record of helping win a $26 billion opioid settlement, the second largest state attorney general settlement in history, after the tobacco settlement of 1998.

  • He's also tackled price gouging, robocalls, the state's backlog of sexual assault kits and now, TikTok.

What's next: It's not clear when Robinson will announce his run for governor, as he's expected to, but Stein's announcement ramps up the pressure.

Lucille Sherman
Jan 11, 2023 - News

As N.C.'s legislature begins, here's what lawmakers are focusing on

Illustration of the North Carolina Legislative Building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

North Carolina's legislative session kicks off Wednesday, and the slate of issues on Republican leaders' agenda for the coming months could mean our state looks a lot different by this time next year.

Former VP Mike Pence visits Raleigh, a sign 2024 is nearing

Former VP Mike Pence, speaking

Former Vice President Pence speaking in Las Vegas during the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual meeting last month. Photo: Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence paid North Carolina a visit Tuesday, stopping in Charlotte and ending in the better city (Raleigh), where he spoke about foreign policy and sidestepped a question about whether he'll run for president.

Why it matters: Big-name Republicans and strategists are already assessing the playing field in North Carolina, which is likely to play a key role in the 2024 presidential election.

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