The governor of a Southern state said he’s “hopeful” that reopening can start in a week – even as COVID-19 hospitalizations and the number of new cases are near all-time highs.

Sounds reckless. Is this Georgia? Tennessee? South Carolina?

It’s actually North Carolina.

Tony Rand, Longtime NC Senator, Power Broker, Dies At 80

May 1, 2020

RALEIGH — Former Democratic state Sen. Tony Rand, a longtime power broker in North Carolina state politics whose legislative acumen helped elevate careers of politicians from both parties, died Friday at age 80.

Final Talks On Virus Aid Package Next After NC House OKs Plan

Apr 30, 2020
Public Domain

RALEIGH — North Carolina legislators got down Thursday to negotiating final details of their initial COVID-19 emergency package after the House approved a version more generous with federal funds than the Senate.

N.C. Department of Public Safety

The coronavirus has killed more than 300 people in North Carolina. Last week, at the state's near-daily press conference, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. WRAL's Paul Specht joins WFAE's Lisa Worf to assess that claim.

NC Session Marked By Empty Seats, Stay-Home Opponents

Apr 28, 2020
NC General Assembly
Wikimedia Commons

RALEIGH — The North Carolina General Assembly began its annual session Tuesday by turning immediately to legislation to distribute COVID-19 federal relief funds, operating under unprecedented rules with social distancing in mind.

Thom Tillis

As North Carolina’s stay-at-home order continues, hundreds of protestors – like Gary Jesmock — are having weekly marches in Raleigh.

NC Republican Leader: We Won't Seek Budget Veto Override

Apr 25, 2020
NC General Assembly
Wikimedia Commons

RALEIGH — North Carolina Senate Republicans won't try any more to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto from last summer, the chamber's leader said, citing state government's precarious fiscal situation due to COVID-19.

State of North Carolina

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's decision Thursday to extend the state's stay-at-home order until May 8 pleases Mecklenburg County officials, who asked him Wednesday to continue the restrictions.

But an increasing number of suburban towns -- and exurban counties -- near Charlotte want to go in a different direction.

Phil Berger
NC General Assembly

For the first three weeks of North Carolina’s stay-at-home order, the state’s top Republicans were mostly silent.

But that’s changing quickly. 


Under North Carolina's stay-at-home order, grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants offering takeout are deemed essential businesses and can stay open. But there are a few head scratchers among the bunch, including the state's government-run liquor stores.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

For the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic some Mecklenburg County commissioners have raised concerns about the county’s modeling and direction.

Their concerns came after the county issued a grim projection about the state of the pandemic – and then the hospitals suggested hours later the crisis wasn’t as dire.

Spectrum Center
Erin Keever / WFAE

The leaders of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte said Wednesday that the August convention is still moving forward "full speed ahead" but they said the convention could look very different if the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Sen. Burr Sold D.C. Townhouse To Donor At A Rich Price

Apr 14, 2020
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
NC Farm Bureau

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, has come under fire in recent weeks for unloading stock holdings right before the market crashed on fears of coronavirus and for a timely sale of shares in an obscure Dutch fertilizer company.

City housing director Pamela Wideman briefs the council on affordable housing during Monday's virtual meeting.
City of Charlotte

City housing officials have recommended spending $15 million from the Charlotte Housing Trust Fund to support nine projects this year. Most council members Monday night were unhappy that one project wasn't on the list - the redevelopment of the run-down Brookhill Village, off South Tryon Street. 

Steve Harrison/WFAE

The Democratic National Committee said Thursday that it has postponed its national convention in Milwaukee by a month until August 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic National Convention was originally scheduled for July 13-16.

What does that mean for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte?

Erik (HASH) Hersman / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

North Carolina’s top Republican lawmaker, Senate leader Phil Berger, said Wednesday he opposes some recommendations made by the North Carolina Board of Elections to make it easier to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

NC Legislature

DURHAM — A private funeral was held Friday for North Carolina state Rep. MaryAnn Black, who died this week at age 76.

Fox News

President Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night that there is "no way" he would cancel the Republican National Convention that's scheduled for August at Charlotte's Spectrum Center.


The State Board of Elections on Thursday asked legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper to make it easier for people to vote absentee by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thom Tillis tweeted Friday morning that his colleague, fellow Republican Sen. Richard Burr, “owes North Carolinians an explanation” for Burr’s sale in February of up to $1.8 million in stock.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
NC Farm Bureau

ProPublica reports that N.C. Sen. Richard Burr -- the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- sold as much as $1.6 million in stock on Feb. 13, during which time he was reportedly being briefed on the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.

We're starting off Wednesday not with politics, but, yes, with coronavirus. Social media has been full of charts and graphics about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself against it. We look at one that's been making its rounds. The chart involves classifications of the coronavirus. Now there aren't standard definitions, but mild to moderate cases include symptoms like a fever and dry cough. Some cases may involve a mild form of pneumonia that requires hospitilizaton. The chart we're fact checking says that 80% of coronavirus cases are mild. Joining us to assess this claim is WRAL's Paul Specht.

Two North Carolina Congressmen -- Dan Bishop of Charlotte and Ted Budd of Davie County -- voted against House legislation Friday that makes coronavirus testing for those who lack insurance free, as well as offering enhanced sick leave benefits and unemployment benefits.  

Gaston County Commission Chair Tracy Philbeck (left) and Mecklenburg commissioner chair George Dunlap led a joint meeting of the two county commissions Wednesday at CPCC's  Harris Campus.
David Boraks / WFAE

County commissioners from Gaston and Mecklenburg agreed in principle Wednesday to push for restarting the Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission, which was disbanded after a disagreement six years ago. And they agreed to cooperate on other shared issues, like state legislation and transportation. 

Spectrum Center
Erin Keever / WFAE

The Charlotte City Council couldn't cancel the Republican National Convention because of the coronavirus, although Mecklenburg County and the state could shut down the event if they deem it a threat to the public health. 

You generally won't hear North Carolina's political parties endorse a candidate in primary contests, but national groups do. Last week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's pick won the party's nomination for U.S. Senate. Cal Cunningham beat three other candidates, including Erica Smith, an African American woman who has served three terms in the state legislature.

The DSCC's endorsement of Cunningham prompted liberal activist William Barber to call out the group.


It wasn’t a surprise that former Vice President Joe Biden won North Carolina on Super Tuesday. But it was a surprise at how easily he won it, along with nine other states.

President Trump chats with North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.
Jeff Cravotta / WFAE

WASHINGTON  — President Donald Trump on Friday named Rep. Mark Meadows as his new chief of staff, replacing Mick Mulvaney, who been acting in the role for more than a year. 

Lawsuit: North Carolina Absentee Vote Changes Went Too Far

Mar 4, 2020
gavel and justice scales

RALEIGH — A portion of a 2019 North Carolina law designed to toughen mail-in absentee ballot rules following a fraud investigation in a congressional race went too far and is unconstitutional, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday contends.

Blowout Unlikely In Cooper, Forest Matchup For NC Governor

Mar 4, 2020

RALEIGH — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest earned dominating primary gubernatorial victories. But a blowout is unlikely in their fall election clash, especially if Donald Trump performs in presidential battleground North Carolina much how he did four years ago.