RIP VAN HOLDING ONLY GOT ONE DONATION FROM HIS DISTRICT: Rep. George Holding, a Republican from Raleigh, represents more than 700,000 North Carolinians in Congress in District 2. But in the last three months, only one of those residents has contributed to his 2020 reelection campaign, according to new campaign finance reports. “After voting to strip away health care from North Carolina families and line the pockets of big drug companies, Congressman Holding’s lousy fundraising report proves that his biggest supporters are the wealthy D.C. special interests and not actual North Carolinians,” said Avery Jaffe, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in an email. The DCCC is a national group that supports Democrats in U.S. House races. Holding’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment about his fundraising or his critics. District 2 encompasses the Wake County suburbs, as well as more rural areas in Harnett, Johnston, Wilson, Nash and Franklin counties.
WRAL ANALYSIS FINDS NEW MAPS MORE FAIR THAN PREVIOUS ONES: The General Assembly's mad scramble last month to redraw nearly half of the state's House and Senate districts under a tight court deadline appears to have produced something new for North Carolina – fair maps. That's according to a new analysis by WRAL News, which used a technique developed by Duke University mathematicians to compare the performance of the newly proposed districts to thousands of computer-generated potential maps. The new maps still show more Republicans elected statewide. But the proposed districts would likely mean more Democratic wins than previous maps, which a three-court panel of judges ruled unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders just last month. Yet Democrats still aren't completely happy with the latest round of mapmaking, which they say carried forward inherent bias from previous iterations and didn't go far enough to improve the redistricting process.
REIDSVILLE (BERGER DISTRICT) COMPANY ANNOUNCES OVER 100 LAYOFFS: “Reidsville has experienced and dedicated employees, a great business climate and cooperative public officials,” Carr said. “However, it is a business decision we had to make.” ITG said displaced hourly employees will receive a severance package. It has established a benefits plan for salaried employees affected by the closing. The hourly workers are represented by Local 192T of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers’ & Grain Millers International Union. ITG spokesman Mark Smith said in November “it is to be determined whether Reidsville production employees will be offered jobs in Greensboro. But at this point, we don’t expect there will be new jobs added to Greensboro,” Smith said. “Additional volume is expected to be handled by existing workers at the Greensboro facility.”
RUSSIANS ARE BACK IN THE ELECTION MEDDLING GAME ON FACEBOOK: Facebook on Monday said it removed a network of Russian-backed accounts that posed as locals weighing in on political issues in swing states, praising President Donald Trump and attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, illustrating that the familiar threat of Russian interference looms over the next U.S. presidential race. Facebook said the network bears the hallmark of the same Kremlin-backed group that interfered in the 2016 election by sowing social discord, boosting Trump and attacking Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The new disinformation campaign appears to follow the same playbook. This time, a coordinated group of Russian accounts that appears to show some links to the Internet Research Agency took largely to Facebook’s photo-sharing app, Instagram, to post content this year about U.S. politics and memes targeting Democratic presidential contenders. The operation demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the schisms within the Democratic Party as it labors to choose a nominee to face Trump next November. One Russian account, which portrayed itself as as a black voter in Michigan, used the #blacklivesmatter hashtag to hammer Biden for his gaffes about racial issues. Some of the accounts boosted one of his left-wing rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
RUSSIA AND TURKEY TO DECIDE FATE OF KURDISH SYRIA: The meeting began hours before the end of an American-brokered truce between Turkish and Kurdish forces in Syria, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey says his troops have seized more than 900 square miles of territory since invading on Oct. 6. The negotiations highlight the loss of American influence in the days since Mr. Trump ordered troops to withdraw from northeast Syria, a region controlled by a Kurdish-led militia allied with the United States. The presence of American soldiers there had ensured that other nations did not challenge Kurdish control. The American retreat created a power vacuum, allowing Turkey to invade. That prompted the area’s Kurdish leaders to turn to the government of Bashar al-Assad, and its main backers, the Russian government, for protection. This sudden alliance has allowed Syrian government forces back into parts of northeast Syria that they have not entered in half a decade. It has positioned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as the main power broker in negotiations about the future of the region, a status emphasized by Mr. Erdogan’s hastily planned trip to Sochi, where Mr. Putin has his official summer residence.