State and Local News this Week
While the legislature is in recess, committee meetings are still being held on issues that the majority deems sufficiently important.

This week the topic is judicial elections. In summary there is a strong likelihood that we will see a constitutional amendment on the March primary ballot seeking to abolish judicial elections and replace them with legislative nominations. Once again a lack of consultation with informed organizations (including those representing judges and the Bar Association) suggests the Republican majority is not interested in devising the best solution. Rather they prefer to ram through their own plan. Naturally this gives them control of nominations as the currently gerrymandered state legislature stands. Please watch our updates for more information as the story develops.

Candidates Popping Up All Over
With the firming up of district maps more candidates are announcing for state and congressional seats.
We are aware of NC House 36 (southern Wake including Fuquay Varina,) held by Rep Nelson Dollar where there are two Democratic challengers; Jen Ferrell who ran in 2016 and Matt Calabria, current Wake County Commissioner.
House District 35 (north eastern Wake), Terence Everitt has announced that he will run against Rep. Chris Malone. He also ran in 2016 and this is regarded as a highly competitive seat for 2018.
Senate District 17 (Cary) is held by Sen. Tamara Barringer who narrowly lost to Susan Evans in 2016. Local distillery owner, Sam Searcy has declared that he will run against her in 2018.
If you know of other candidates who are challenging incumbents and want us to share their information, please let us know.

Congressional Distict 2, held by George Holding has two serious Democratic challengers, Ken Romley and Linda Coleman. We will be watching this race very closely now that it has been identified by a number of groups as potentially winnable.

Non-Partisan NC Politics Video
If you are interested in updates on state politics, the NC Free Enterprise Foundation offers a daily video called News Review. It’s director Jonathan Kappler has a broad, non-partisan view of state politics. His updates are timely and brief.  You can subscribe by going to their website or by following him on Twitter  @jonathankaplan

Wake/Raleigh news
Finally as our local councils are sworn in and new representatives take up their seats, we have seen some interesting elevations. Jessica Holmes is the new Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners and Monika Johnson-Hostler is the chair of the Wake County School Board. This may be the first time that women of color have held these positions simultaneously.

We are also watching the Raleigh City Council as new members settle in and the larger slow growth group finds its feet. There may be some different dynamics as the council seeks to balance its’ desire to attract businesses to the area with the need for affordable housing and better transit and traffic planning.