2016 Senate Races, Richard Burr Versus Deborah Ross in North Carolina


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North Carolina is a tight “swing state” in 2016 for the presidential race, the governor’s race, and the Senate race. Republican Senator Richard Burr since 2005 faces a competitive challenge by Democrat Deborah Ross. Polls for all of these races are close.

Republican Senator Richard Burr has received $8,707,382. His largest funding support comes from energy, tobacco, military and financial industries. Democratic challenger Deborah Ross has received $3,932,343. There is no break-out for her, but the FEC shows lots of partisan Democratic groups like Act Blue.

While Richard Burr previously resisted calls for debates, one was finally scheduled for October 13. The debate will be for one hour.

Republican incumbent Richard Burr spent ten years in the House and twelve years in the Senate.

Richard Burr sponsors the bipartisan ABLE Act.

The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities and their families to set up a special savings account for disability-related expenses. Earnings on an ABLE account would not be taxed, and account funds would generally not be considered for the supplemental security income (SSI) program, Medicaid, and other federal means-tested benefits.

Richard Burr and Democrat Diane Feinstein sponsor a bipartisan intelligence bill [PDF] that would require those who hold data to provide it in an “intelligible format” to the government. This anti-encryption bill comes out of the high-profile coverage of the refusal of Apple to provide a “master key” to break into the iPhone of the San Bernardino attacker. This bill remains a priority for Richard Burr.

On a far less bipartisan note, Richard Burr introduced and sponsored the Seniors’ Choice Act in 2012, which would cut off two years of Medicare.

It is the epitome of Republican ideas on Medicare. The plan would increase the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67, merge the program’s hospital and medical benefit, increase cost-sharing for wealthy seniors, and switch to a system of premium support with competitive bidding by private plans.

Richard Burr has also voted for most abortion restrictions and has always supported Constitutional amendments to ban flag burning and to declare marriage between a man and a woman.

Finally, on trade deals, Richard Burr has been around long enough to vote for NAFTA, CAFTA and the “Fast Track” TPA just last year. He now says that his vote for NAFTA was a bad assessment, and he does not support TPP. Richard Burr tweeted a challenge Deborah Ross to speak against the TPP even though she opposed the deal long ago.

Attorney Deborah Ross was a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2003 through 2013 when she took a job representing GoTriangle, a transportation service.

She is now looking to make a rather large leap to the federal Senate. She won the Democratic primary with 62.4 percent easily in a four-way race. Republican Richard Burr also faced an unusual four-way challenge for an incumbent seat and won with 61.4 percent of his party.

Deborah Ross is a supporter of End Citizens United.

In her state record, Deborah Ross voted for extending voting options, expanding Medicaid under “Obamacare,” and against “fracking.” She also opposed the state marriage amendment.

NORTH CAROLINA DEVELOPMENTS

Governor Pat McCrory has been involved in some very high profile situations lately. He signed the “bathroom law” requiring people to use the lavatory of their birth gender. A boycott followed.

Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States let an injunction stand that prevents the state from implementing voter restrictions by 4-4 vote. The restrictive law had been signed by the governor in 2013. With such close races, these marginal votes affected by the lawsuit may decide some of the elections.

In the past few days, the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina have become centers of protest against police shootings since black man Keith Scott was shot and killed. Since that story was published, protests continue and one person has died.

North Carolina will be at or near the center of interest as 2016 returns come in — for three critical races — and maybe for the deciding race in control of the Senate.

(featured picture: Richard Burr, Deborah Ross)