1. Reinstatement of Fire Safety Officials
Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey reinstated key fire safety officials this week, including state fire marshal Brian Taylor, after they were previously dismissed amidst a political battle. The move follows legislation that was eventually included in the state budget designed to protect these employees' positions and separate the state fire marshal's office from the Insurance Commissioner. Commissioner Causey argued the dismissal was due to a breach of trust, while Taylor refuted any mishandling of sensitive information.
2. Lt. Gov Mark Robinson's Visit to Israel
Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, a Republican, who has faced criticism for past antisemitic comments, embarked on a trip to Israel, organized by the North Carolina Faith and Freedom Coalition. The Lieutenant Governor's trip to Israel is part of a broader effort to align himself more visibly with pro-Israel stances and distance himself from past statements. Bill Graham, a Salisbury Republican also running for governor, criticized Robinson for the trip. “Mark Robinson said in 2017 that he was sick of hearing that the Nazis were evil and manipulative towards the Jews,” Graham spokesman Alex Baltzegar said in an emailed statement. “That is just one of many examples of his well-documented history of antisemitism.
3. Satana Deberry's Attorney General Candidacy
Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry announced her candidacy for North Carolina attorney general, joining the Democratic primary race against U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson. Deberry's candidacy could be a significant factor in the primary, given her strong base in Durham County and her advocacy for progressive legal reforms. Deberry's bid also adds diversity to the race, as she could become the first Black woman elected to a statewide position in North Carolina.
4. Senate Republicans Challenge Democratic Colleague
State Senate Republicans are urging Democratic Senator Lisa Grafstein (D-Wake) to resign following her move to a new district. The redistricting process, which saw Sen. Grafstein "double-bunked" out of her original district, was criticized by Democrats as a partisan maneuver. Sen. Grafstein, an outspoken critic of Republican policies and the only openly LGBTQ+ member of the Senate, plans to run in the newly formed Senate District 13 in 2024.
5. Tim Moore's Congressional Campaign Launch
House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) has launched a significant advertising campaign for his congressional run in North Carolina's 14th District, with a $1.1 million ad buy. Speaker Moore, facing competition in the Republican primary, has focused on fundraising and consolidating support across the district that encompasses Burke, Cleveland, Gaston, Rutherford and parts of Mecklenburg and Polk counties.