Axios Raleigh

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🤝 Happy Thursday, dear readers.

  • Today sounds like this new song from Durham electro pop duo Sylvan Esso.

🔥 Weather: So, so, so hot. High pushing 98° and the heat index value around 109°.

Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 639 words — a 2.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The latest twist in a bizarre legal battle

Photo illustration of North Carolina Attorney General, Josh Stein, with lines radiating from him.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

The law at the center of a bizarre legal battle between Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's office and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was deemed virtually unenforceable several years ago by the state board of elections.

What's happening: In a 2019 memo obtained through a public records request by Axios' news reporting partner WBTV, a state board of elections lawyer discounted the same law in a similar case, telling the board it "may be" unconstitutional.

  • Still, Freeman's office launched an unprecedented investigation into Stein's campaign with an eye toward indicting the sitting attorney general, who is the state’s top law enforcement officer.

Catch up quick: Freeman's office has been investigating Stein's campaign for a potential violation of a century-old law that makes it a crime to lie in a campaign ad.

Between the lines: The case has effectively pitted two powerful Democrats against each other, unsettling many in the party. And it appears it could have been avoided altogether.

Worth noting: In an interview with Axios, Freeman underscored that she has recused herself from the case and it's instead being handled by Assistant District Attorney David Saacks.

Read more

2. North Carolina's new citizens

Illustration of an "I Voted" sticker as a swing.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Around 71,000 North Carolinians became U.S. citizens between 2016 and 2020, ​​according to a new report by the National Partnership for New Americans and the Service Employees International Union.

Why it matters: These newly naturalized North Carolinians — expected to swell in number to some 94,000 before November’s midterm election — represent a diverse voting bloc with the potential to sway upcoming elections in swing states.

Context: The report ranked North Carolina sixth out of 10 politically important states, saying new citizens here could have an outsized impact in the race for U.S. Senate and control of North Carolina’s General Assembly.

  • In North Carolina, former President Donald Trump won the election by around 74,000 votes, just a few thousand votes more than the number of newly naturalized citizens in recent years.

What's next: Newly naturalized citizens have lower rates of voter registration and turnout than Americans born in the U.S., so organizations like the National Partnership for New Americans are strategically targeting groups to encourage them to register and vote.

Go deeper: ​​Newly naturalized citizens could sway elections in key states

3. The Tea: Headlines worth reading

Illustration of woman drinking tea and giving the side eye
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

🍲 Food Diary: How a 24-year-old waitress eats on $18K a year in Durham. (Bon Appetit)

🏠 Burlington ranked second in The Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index, which highlights the top metro areas for buying a home. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Raleigh ranked sixth and Durham-Chapel Hill 12th.

⚡️ Henry McKoy, a N.C. Central University professor, will join the Biden Administration’s infrastructure and climate team. (Indy Week)

🎹 Durham electro pop duo Sylvan Esso is releasing a new album called “No Rules Sandy.”

4. Quote du jour: A hot take from national media

Photo illustration of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper with lines radiating from him.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Charlotte Observer/Getty Images

"This is not a rising-star modern politician. This is the leader of an evangelical congregation in 1966. This is a guy who thinks Jimmy Carter is 'too rock 'n' roll.' This is what it would look like if a sweater designed a human. This is an advertisement you use to scare teenagers into using drugs." Slate Magazine's Ben Mathis-Lilley on Gov. Roy Cooper

Cooper's office declined to comment on the description to Axios.

Now hiring: New job openings

🔥 Hot and fresh local job listings.

  1. STEPS Senior Diversity Officer at North Carolina State University.
  2. Senior Community Programs Manager, Google Cloud Customer Community at Google.
  3. Account Executive, Software Sales, Axios HQ at Axios.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

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5. Tacuterie Thursday

Young Hearts Distilling's street taco spread
Street tacos with tofu. Photo: Lucille Sherman/Axios

Young Hearts Distilling started a new Thursday tradition last week, and Lucille couldn't help but try it.

Book a reservation tonight for Tacuterie Thursday — where you'll get street tacos in the form of charcuterie. Pair it with a black lava-salted margarita or two.

The spread is $60, serves two to four people and includes vegetarian options.

☕️ Zachery is really trying to cut out a 3pm coffee from his life — and it is not going well.

🍉 Lucille can't wait have another watermelon margarita from Young Hearts.