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North Carolina’s Huge Second-Half Rally Swamps Florida State



North Carolina’s Huge Second-Half Rally Swamps Florida State

UNC turned the tide in time to start ACC league play on a resounding and victorious note, roaring out of a double-digit deficit to avoid falling to Florida State in this building for the first time in more than a decade. The No. 17 Tar Heels swarmed the Seminoles with a staggering second-half comeback and won 78-70 on Saturday at the Smith Center.
(Inside Carolina)

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North Carolina

Looking ahead to tomorrow's big and important primary election in NC • NC Newsline



Looking ahead to tomorrow's big and important primary election in NC • NC Newsline

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday — the day on which voters in North Carolina and 14 other states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia) go to the polls to help select the major party nominees for this November’s presidential election.

And unlike the other 14, Tuesday is also the day on which North Carolina voters will select major party nominees for governor and a host of other statewide offices. (Most states elect their governors in off-year elections, and while Utah and Vermont will do so in 2024, the primaries are scheduled for later this year.)

Tomorrow is also the day on which North Carolina voters will select nominees in 170 state legislative and 14 congressional districts. Indeed, in many races where district maps are gerrymandered to favor one party or the other, tomorrow’s election will almost certainly decide the winner in November.

Now add the fact that tomorrow’s results will also go a long way toward shaping national, state, and local policies on a host of enormously important issues – the climate crisis, abortion rights, America’s role in the world, the future of public education, and even the health of our democracy – and it becomes clear why it’s an enormously important election.


Click here if you have any questions about when and how to vote. And here, for those who may still just be getting to the job of schooling themselves on their Super Tuesday ballots (click here to check you ballot out ahead of time) are summaries of some of the key races:

Biden, Haley and Trump vie for the presidency

By Clayton Henkel

Tuesday’s primary for the Republican presidential nomination is in many ways a contest between how the GOP envisions itself moving forward. Former President Donald Trump painted a picture Saturday in Greensboro in which he would be the country’s savior, and failure to return him to the White House would result in a Great Depression.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s U.N. Ambassador and the remaining Republican challenging the former president, views this Super Tuesday as an off-ramp for many Republicans and unaffiliated voters desperate to move the country forward and not relive the bruising 2020 Trump/Biden contest. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” Haley said she didn’t know if Trump would follow the U.S. Constitution if elected to a second term.

“When you go on and you talk about revenge, when you go on, you talk about vindication…what does that mean? I don’t know what that means. And only he can answer for that,” said Haley.


The latest High Point University Poll shows 69% of self-reported Republican primary voters support Trump, compared to 24% who favor Haley.

President Joe Biden has no opposition on Tuesday’s ballot. In that same HPU poll, 87% of likely and self-reported Democratic primary voters say they will support Biden while 13% chose “No Preference.”

Governor’s race: many candidates, but little drama

By Joe Killian

The primary elections for Governor of North Carolina will set up one of the most watched, most expensive and likely most contentious gubernatorial races in the nation. With Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper term limited, the race is an open one and has attracted Democratic, Republican and Libertarian candidates from the prominent to the obscure.

The Democratic field includes Attorney General Josh Stein, former State Supreme Court Associate Justice Mike Morgan, former police chief Gary Foxx and Tryon Town Council member Chrelle Booker.


Among the Democrats, Stein has consistently led the pack in both polling and fundraising. His campaign committee has raised $19.1 million since early 2021, with finance reports due last week showing the campaign raising almost $2.2 million in the first seven weeks of this year and spending $951,700. His campaign reported having $12.7 million on hand going into the final weeks of the primary.

Stein has seriously outpaced his closest and most recognizable Democratic rival in the primary, former State Supreme Court Associate Justice Mike Morgan. Morgan’s campaign reports having $44,300 going into the final stretch of the primary race, having added $33,700 in January and the first half of February to the $119,300 his campaign had raised to that point.

The Republican field features Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, former prosecutor and trial attorney Bill Graham and state Treasurer Dale Folwell. Robinson, who had no previous government or political experience before his successful run for Lt. Governor in 2020, was an early front-runner in the race. An endorsement from former President Donald Trump has helped to make him a national conservative figure and contributed to his enormous fundraising advantage.

Robinson’s campaign committee has raised nearly $10.7 million since 2021 and reported still having $4.4 million going into the last weeks of the primary. His nearest GOP competitor in both polls and fundraising is Graham, who has reported raising $4.7 million overall, receiving $1.82 million in January and the first half of February, almost all of it from loans Graham made to his own campaign. Largely self-financing his campaign, Graham has loaned the campaign $4.5 million since his belated entry into the race in October. Folwell’s campaign has reported raising $1.4 million overall, $1 million of that from a personal loan to own campaign. His campaign reported $94,700 in newly raised funds in January and the first part of February and $896,100 in expenses, $500,000 of that on social media ad buys.

Stein’s campaign has defined itself in opposition to Robinson and the state GOP agenda, which includes further abortion restrictions, anti-LGBTQ laws, further loosening gun control laws and restrictions on public money going to private schools. With Democrats looking to once again break the GOP supermajority in the General Assembly, Stein is hoping to act as a check on such legislation through the governor’s limited veto power.


Candidates in both the Democratic and Republican fields have decried Robinson’s long history of embracing conspiracy theories and making inflammatory comments about women, LGBTQ people, Jews and even the American Civil Rights movement and its icons.

Robinson has referred to LGBTQ people as “filth,” bragged that he will not be “talked into submission” by women, and said he believes Christians are called to be led by men, not women. He has called historical accounts of the Holocaust “hogwash,” discouraged Black people from enthusiasm over the Marvel superhero movie Black Panther because the character was created by Jews and agreed publicly with a conspiracy theorist that Jewish bankers are — with Muslims, China and the CIA — among the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

At a February campaign event, Robinson said now that the state had a 12-week abortion ban, the next goal was “to get it down to six and then just keep moving from there.” In a race against Stein, who if elected would be the state’s first Jewish governor, Robinson’s history of antisemitism could be a key issue in the campaign. If elected, Robinson would become the first Black governor of North Carolina — something state and national Republicans, who struggle with Black voters, see as a possible coup. But many Black North Carolinians have taken exception to Robinson’s long history of insulting his own community. Among other comments, he has called the American Civil Rights Movement a communist plot to subvert free choice and capitalism and called the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. both a communist and “ersatz pastor.” At a rally in Robinson’s hometown of Greensboro over the weekend, Trump called Robinson “Martin Luther King on steroids,” a comment Black political figures and organizations are already calling offensive.

Gerrymandered congressional and legislative maps give rise to a handful of crowded intra-party battles

By Lynn Bonner

In the congressional primaries, most of the action is on the Republican side, as candidates rushed to run for open seats.


Three incumbent Democrats decided not to seek reelection this year in newly gerrymandered districts drawn to elect Republican candidates. One Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, decided to run for state Attorney General. Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry is also leaving Congress.

The new 13th Congressional District, which looks like a ragged half-loop around Raleigh, Durham, Orange, and Alamance, attracted 14 Republican primary candidates. In the 6th Congressional, which takes in a bit of Cabarrus County and runs into parts of Forsyth and Guilford counties, a half dozen Republicans are running.

The 8th Congressional District, which includes most of Robeson and runs through six other counties to bleed into the eastern edge of Mecklenburg and most of Cabarrus, also has six Republicans in the primary.

The 10th District includes most of Forsyth and stretches to Lincoln County. It has five candidates in the GOP primary.

If no candidate tops the primary field with at least 30%-plus-one votes, the second-place finisher can request a runoff.


House Speaker Tim Moore is one of three Republicans running in the 14th Congressional District. Moore told reporters in January that he expects to be in Congress next year. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Moore in his race to represent the district that includes all or parts of six counties, including the western edge and northern tip of Mecklenburg.

Outside spending is a factor in several of the competitive GOP primaries.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super-PAC aligned with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, is running ads supporting Laurie Buckhout, a candidate in the 1st Congressional District. She faces Republican Sandy Smith, who was the GOP nominee for the seat in 2020 and 2022.

The winner will face first-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Davis in the state’s only congressional district considered a toss-up.

In a closely watched Democratic primary in the General Assembly, three Democratic candidates are competing for the chance to face Democrat-turned-Republican House member Tricia Cotham.


Democrats widely denounced Cotham when she switched parties last year and gave Republicans a veto-proof majority after she won as a Democrat in a solidly Democratic district. As they were redistricting, Republicans drew a House district for Cotham that she could win.

Voters in the House District 105 Democratic primary will have the choice of Yolanda Holmes, one of the candidates Cotham defeated in the Democratic primary two years ago, Terry Lansdell, executive director of BikeWalk NC, or Nicole Sidman, director of congregational life at Temple Beth El in Charlotte.

Big stakes for the state’s justice system in AG, Supreme Court contests

By Kelan Lyons

Those voting in the Democratic primary for attorney general will have to pick from several candidates. They are:

  • Jeff Jackson, former state senator and current Congressman who was gerrymandered out of his seat following Republican redistricting. Jackson has said his experience in close races makes him the best candidate for the general election. He’s also a fundraising juggernaut compared to his opponents, ending the first quarter of the year with more than $2.3 million in the bank. Individual supporters donated more than $900,000 to his campaign in the first quarter of the year.
  • Satana Deberry, current district attorney of Durham County. Deberry is a progressive prosecutor who says her experience as a consumer advocate for the banking industry, general counsel for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and head of the North Carolina Housing Coalition all make her uniquely qualified to be attorney general. She ended the first quarter of the year with just under $12,000 cash on hand. She received about $60,000 in individual donations between Jan. 1 and Feb 17 of this year.
  • Tim Dunn, former prosecutor in the U.S. Marine Corps who is now a defense attorney in Fayetteville. The least financed of his opponents, Dunn started the year $20 in the hole and ended the first quarter with about $280. Individuals donated about $5,000 to his cause over the past few months.

Whichever Democrat wins will face Dan Bishop, the author of North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill” that banned transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Individual supporters gave Bishop more than $180,000 in the first quarter of the year. As of Feb. 17 he had more than $1.4 million in the bank.

On Tuesday, voters will also choose between two Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for a seat on the state Supreme Court. Currently that seat is occupied by Justice Allison Riggs, a voting rights attorney who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the court by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2023. Riggs has said she is not just running her race, but campaigning to build a pipeline so Democrats can win back control of the high court in 2028. Riggs’ campaign received more than $80,000 in individual donations in the first quarter of 2024. She ended that reporting cycle with more than $178,000 in the bank.


Riggs’ opponent in the primary is Lora Cubbage, a former prosecutor who also worked in the Attorney General’s Office handling workers’ compensation claims before becoming a Superior Court judge. Cubbage received about $50,000 in individual donations. Among them: a $250 donation from Brent Barringer, husband of state Supreme Court Associate Justice Tamara Barringer, a Republican. She also received $250 from Robert Broadie, a Superior Court judge in Davidson and Davie counties. Cubbage had about $90,000 left in the bank as of mid-February.

Whoever prevails will face Jefferson Griffin, a judge on the state Court of Appeals. Griffin received just under $50,000 from individual donors in the first quarter of the year, including more than $3,000 from Brent Barringer. (The husband of the sitting Supreme Court justice has donated $6,400 to Griffin’s campaign so far.) Griffin, who does not have a primary opponent, had just under $750,000 cash on hand as of Feb. 17.

Public education controversies spotlighted in school superintendent’s race

By Greg Childress

On Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans will each send a candidate forward to vie for the State Superintendent of Public Education seat in the fall General Election.

Republican incumbent Catherine Truitt is being challenged by Michele Morrow in the Republican primary. Morrow is a former nurse turned stay-at-home mother and homeschool teacher from Cary. She gained notoriety as a far-right conservative Wake County Board of Education candidate in 2022. In that race, Morrow was endorsed by the Wake County Republican Party and Moms for Liberty.


Meanwhile, the Democratic field of candidates includes longtime educator Maurice “Mo” Green of Raleigh. Green became the first Black superintendent of Guilford County Schools in 2008. He resigned in 2015 to lead the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem.

The Democratic field of superintendent hopefuls is rounded out by two educators currently working in school districts:

  • Kenon Crumble of Clayton is a Wake County high school principal who unsuccessfully sought election to the Johnston County Board of Education in 2022.
  • C.R. Katie Eddings, a Lee County personal finance teacher who lives in Sanford, announced plans to run for the office in June. Eddings is a 20-year veteran of public education.

The race for superintendent comes at a time when the state’s Republican-led General Assembly has passed controversial laws to dramatically change public education in North Carolina.

In the spring, GOP lawmakers approved Senate Bill 49, the so-called “Parents’ Bill of Rights” law, which requires educators to alert parents if their child changes their name or pronoun at school. It also restricts instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms. Lawmakers also approved House Bill 574, the so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which restricts transgender females from playing middle school, high school and college sports.

Truitt has expressed support for both measures, which critics contend discriminate against and marginalize LGBTQ children.

The superintendent has also been unapologetic in her support for the state’s fast moving school choice movement. Truitt has championed charter schools and school vouchers, both of which critics say rob underfunded traditional public schools of badly needed resources.


The so-called “Opportunity Scholarship” or school voucher programs was created a decade ago to help low-income families escape failing districts and schools by help them pay private school tuition. The state’s wealthiest families are now eligible for the program, thanks to a Republican-approved expansion.

Other races of note

Voters will also select nominees for several Council of State offices.

  • Lt. Governor: Eleven Republicans are running in an extremely crowded primary for lieutenant governor; the winner will face one of three Democrats — state Sen. Rachel Hunt, former state Sen. Ben Clark or Mark H. Robinson in November.
  • Treasurer: two Democrats (political newcomer Gabriel Esparza and State Rep. Wesley Harris), along with three Republicans (Brad Briner, A.J. Daoud, and Rachel Johnson — all seeking their first elective office) are competing to replace outgoing Republican Treasurer Dale Folwell.
  • Secretary of State: Democratic incumbent Elaine Marshall is seeking her eighth consecutive four-year term and is unopposed so there is no Democratic primary. Three candidates — Gaston County Commissioner Chad Brown, retired corporate executive Jesse Thomas, and former police and probation officer Christine Villaverde — are seeking the GOP nomination.
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Longtime Republican incumbent Steve Troxler has a primary opponent in family farmer Colby “Bear” Hammonds. Fayetteville’s Sarah Taber is the only Democrat seeking the office.
  • Insurance Commissioner: Two Democrats — state Senator Natasha Marcus and businessman David Wheeler — are competing to take on Republican incumbent Mike Causey, who is opposed in the GOP primary by former state Rep. C. Robert Brawley and attorney Andrew Marcus.
  • Labor Commissioner: Four Republicans are vying to replace outgoing Republican incumbent, Josh Dobson: Luke Farley, state Rep. Jon Hardister, Chuck Stanley and Travis Wilson. The winner will face Democrat Braxton Winston II in November.
  • State Auditor: Democratic incumbent Jessica Holmes is unopposed for her party’s nomination. She’ll face one of six Republicans seeking the office in the fall: Dave Boliek, Jack Clark, Charles Dingee, Jim Kee, Anthony Wayne Street, and Jeff Tarte.


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Caesars first to launch sports betting in North Carolina with tribal partnership



Caesars first to launch sports betting in North Carolina with tribal partnership

Caesars Entertainment has become the first operator to launch legal online sports betting in North Carolina, rolling out its sportsbook in partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

North Carolina is not due to launch full-scale legal sports betting until 11 March. However, Caesars’ deal with the tribe and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act has made it possible for the operator to go live ahead of this date.

Players can place bets at two Cherokee-run casinos: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel. Betting is also permitted on Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tribal lands.

Caesars’ online sports betting offering will be extended across all North Carolina when the market fully launches next week. The operator has been running retail sportsbooks in the state for a number of years, with the online offering to complement these. 


“We’re thankful to be able to offer wagering at the Harrah’s Cherokee properties as part of our longstanding relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and with the sports calendar heating up, there is a lot to be excited about,” Caesars Digital president Eric Hession said. 

“Thank you to the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission, and its Sports Betting Committee for making this day a possibility.”

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians principal Michell Hicks also welcomed the launch. He said it builds on the long-running partnerships with Caesars in North Carolina.

“Over the years, the partnership between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Caesars Entertainment has only flourished and strengthened,” Hicks said. “We eagerly anticipate the chance to introduce mobile sports betting to North Carolina, offering a fresh and new experience to all sports fans.”

North Carolina: one week out from sports betting launch

With just one week to go until the entire market opens, preparations are well underway for sports betting in North Carolina.


Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 347 into law in June 2023 he gave approval to a timeline for implementation. This includes North Carolina publishing regulations before 8 January 2024, and operators accepting wagers before 14 June 2024.

FanDuel, DraftKings, Fanatics, Bet365, BetMGM, ESPN Bet and Underdog have all been granted licences

North Carolina met the regulations guideline last month and operators will start taking bets well ahead of June’s deadline. Operators were also given a deadline of 26 January to submit their internal controls ahead of launching.

Last week, the first round of licensees were also confirmed in North Carolina, with some big-hitters among those securing approval. North Carolina’s State Lottery Commission awarded eight interactive sports wagering licences in total.

FanDuel, DraftKings, Fanatics, Bet365, BetMGM, ESPN Bet and Underdog picked up licences.

Who is partnered with who?

Operators seeking to offer sports betting in the state must partner a sports team, league or venue within North Carolina. All those issued a licence have secured such a deal.


DraftKings is partnered with stock-car racing series Nascar and BetMGM teamed up with the Charlotte Motor Speedway. ESPN Bet gained entry to North Carolina by signing a PGA Tour deal to become the official betting operators of the Wells Fargo Championship, held in the state. FanDuel is also working with golf’s PGA Tour to launch in North Carolina. 

Meanwhile, Fanatics Betting and Gaming is working with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. This will see Fanatics become the team’s official sports betting partner. Bet365 signed a partnership deal with the NBA team the Charlotte Hornets in November 2023

In addition, Underdog has expanded its position as a paid fantasy sports operator via a partnership with McConnell Golf.

Aside from operator licences, approvals have also been confirmed for sports wagering suppliers licences. Successful applicants include GeoComply, SBTech and Sportradar.


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Gymnastics Places Second At Nebraska Quad Meet – University of North Carolina Athletics



Gymnastics Places Second At Nebraska Quad Meet – University of North Carolina Athletics

LINCOLN, Neb. – Lali Dekanoidze and Julia Knower both secured individual event wins and the University of North Carolina gymnastics team finished second at the Nebraska Quad Meet on Sunday afternoon at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.  

The Tar Heels totaled 195.200, their second highest road score this season. UNC topped Illinois State (193.650) and Southeast Missouri State (194.375) but fell to host Nebraska (197.125).

Knower and Gwen Fink were both on all-around duty, earning respective finishes of second and third. Knower tallied 39.200 with Fink close behind with a 39.100.  

Knower’s runner-up performance came after a 9.825 on vault, 9.7 on bars, 9.875 on beam and 9.8 on floor. Fink had scores of 9.7 on vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.85 on beam and 9.725 on floor.


Rotation One – Bars (48.950)
The Tar Heels began the meet on bars with Dekanoidze and Isabelle Schaefer both scoring 9.85 to lead the team. Also scoring for the Tar Heels were Fink (9.825), Jamie Shearer (9.725) and Knower (9.7). 

Carolina’s team score stood at 48.950 after the opening rotation. It was the second-best among all competing schools behind Nebraska’s 49.425. Southeast Missouri State had a 48.700 and Illinois State ended with a 46.650. 

Rotation Two – Beam (48.575)
Knower impressed on beam with a 9.875 for a new season high. Her previous season high was a 9.85 done three times prior. She was part of a six-way tie for first place, the second beam title of her career.

Scores that also counted for North Carolina were Fink (9.85), Jamie Shearer (9.775), Hallie Thompson (9.65) and Jessica Naranjo (9.425).

UNC accumulated a 48.575 on its second rotation. UN led with 49.3, followed by ISU’s 48.975 and SEMO’s 48.450. 


Rotation Three – Floor (48.800)
Bella Miller and Knower both had routines that earned 9.8s on floor in the third rotation for Carolina. Taylor Schulze recorded a 9.75 while a pair of 9.725s from Fink and Amy Wozniak also counted.

The Tar Heels’ team score on floor was 48.800, which trailed the Huskers’ 49.450 and the Redbirds’ 49.150, but ahead of the Redhawks’ 48.750.

Rotation Four – Vault (48.875)
Dekanoidze put together a strong vault performance in UNC’s fourth and final rotation. The junior totaled a 9.85 to tie for first place overall, which marked the 14th vault title of her career.

Scores that also contributed to Carolina’s team tally included a 9.825 from Knower, 9.75 from Kaya Forbes and 9.725s from both Paige Prejean and Cory Shinohara.

UNC’s 48.875 was again tied for the second highest of the meet along with Illinois State. Nebraska held a narrow lead with 48.950 while SEMO totaled 48.475 on vault.


Up Next
The Tar Heels return to Chapel Hill for their final home meet of the year on Friday, March 8, against sixth-ranked Kentucky. Competition will start at 7:30 p.m. ET inside Carmichael Arena with introductions beginning at 7:15 p.m. and doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

The team will honor its graduating class after the meet for Senior Day presented by Carolina Alumni. Tickets are available for purchase here.

Stay up to date with Carolina Gymnastics by following the Tar Heels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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