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Archive for January, 2012

Narrowing GOP field could mean wide-open race

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Wow, what a week it’s been, huh? My predictions for New Hampshire were pretty good, but they, like the primary itself, look more and more irrelevant each day

Let’s recap what’s happened the last several days. The week started with six candidates still in the Republican race for the White House. But leading up to Monday’s debate in Myrtle Beach, Jon Huntsman dropped out and endorsed Mitt Romney. No big surprise there considering how poorly Huntsman was polling in South Carolina and nationally, despite a decent performance in New Hampshire.

There was another debate Thursday night in Charleston, but it happened without Rick Perry, who wisely dropped out before what was sure to be the final embarassing showing of his campaign. Let’s face it, Perry entered the race last year with what he thought was a big, Texas swagger. In the end, I think he just reminded voters a little too much of another Texan who had a little more success in the political process.

Anyway, a few things aligned this week to really shake things up. When the candidates left the Granite State, it looked like Romney was in cruise control. That was still the case as the week began, with Romney up by as much as 14 points in the polls. But then the field narrowed and Newt Gingrich had two more strong debate performances while picking up Perry’s endorsement. He also got a boost when Sarah Palin said if she were in South Carolina, she would vote for Gingrich just to keep Romney from locking up the nomination too early.

Oh, and did I mention that as it turns out, Romney didn’t even win Iowa like we thought? Of course, it looks like no one will win Iowa because of lost votes. I don’t get that. I mean, who’s running that election? Katherine Harris? Seriously, not enough is being said about the vote count, but if this isn’t evidence enough that we put way too much emphasis on the Hawkeye State, I don’t know what is!

I expected Gingrich’s message and knowledge of the southeastern voter’s mindset to resonate in SC, but I never imagined it would happen this much. Even with the controversy over what his ex-wife told ABC’s Nightline, Gingrich is absolutely surging, up by as many as six points in a couple of polls. Of course, his fiery response to CNN’s John King asking him at the start of Thursday’s debate about the ex-wife issue surely didn’t hurt his reputation with media-weary Republicans.

Bottom line, there are now four candidates left: Romney, Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Romney still has a sizeable lead nationally, but as I’ve said over and over, this is all about momentum. So if Gingrich can pull out the South Carolina win, we really have a race. The question then would be how long it would be a four-man race. While he surely wants to win, Paul’s real aim is to make a statement, and he is. He’ll stay in as long as he can afford to. Santorum, the apparent winner in Iowa, probably doesn’t have as strong staying power without really making a move. But as I heard one expert say today, "If I’m Mitt Romney, I’m doing anything I can to make sure Santorum stays in. If not, it’s Romney and Gingrich one-on-one." Sorry, Rep. Paul.

OK, so let’s make some predictions for the Palmetto State:

-Gingrich: 35%
-Romney: 30%
-Paul: 12%
-Santorum: 11%

Next up is Florida, where Romney leads by about 20 points. But if Gingrich pulls out a big win in South Carolina, all bets are off. His momentum is sure to provide a sizeable bump, and with a closed primary in the Sunshine State, Romney won’t be able to cash in on independent voters.

South Carolina was already going to be interesting, but by this time tomorrow, there’s the possibility it really could have turned this whole race on its ear. Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: The opinions I express in this and future blogs is mine and mine alone. Also, nothing I write should be construed as any sort of endorsement of a candidate, party, ideal, issue, etc. These blogs are merely my observations (written as objectively as possible) on the process this country uses to select a president.

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ONLY ON 3 UPDATE: Smoke-filled ILM-bound plane had second smoke problem

Friday, January 20th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A flight from Charlotte to Wilmington was delayed this morning after reports of smoke on board. Passengers say while getting the on-board safety briefing, they noticed smoke in the plane.

“Basically everything was OK when we first got on,” Gail Beckstein, a passenger on Flight 2301, said after landing in Wilmington on a different aircraft about 22 minutes behind schedule. “Within a couple minutes, though, it appeared the cabin was filling up with smoke. The flight attendant, who was very professional, said, ‘Everybody off. Get out of your seats. Leave your belongings, and just get off the plane.'”

US Airways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr says the three-member crew decided to have the flight’s 25 passengers go back into the terminal and board a different plane. Mohr said it was not an emergency situation.

That wasn’t the case later, though. After crews at CLT checked out the plane, US Airways decided to put it back into service for an 11:20 a.m. flight to Charlottesville, VA. After taking off, the jet filled with smoke again and had to return to the airport.

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Wilmington police announce key promotions

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous announced on Friday the promotions of two longtime officials to key supervisory roles.

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Adams denied bond in cold case murder

Friday, January 20th, 2012

NEW BERN, NC (WWAY) — A man accused of murdering a Wilmington mother was denied bond in a Craven County cold case murder.

Andrew Bernard Adams is accused of a rape and murder that took place in New Bern 34 years ago. He made an appearance today in district court in Craven County.

Adams was formally charged with the 1977 rape and murder of Gwendolyn Nelson. If convicted, he could face life in prison or even the death penalty.

At the hearing, the prosecution requested that Adams be held without bond, which the judge granted. He’s also charged with last week’s murder of Latricia Ana Scott in Wilmington.

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Event to showcase prom fashions

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Vendors will have information about prom dresses, beauty salons, florists and more.

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