Rusty Jacobs

Rusty Jacobs is a politics reporter for WUNC. Rusty previously worked at WUNC as a reporter and substitute host from 2001 until 2007 and now returns after a nine-year absence during which he went to law school at Carolina and then worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Wake County.

As a reporter, he has covered a wide array of topics including military affairs, sports, government and damaging storms.

As partisan rancor flared in Washington during congressional debate over the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, state lawmakers in Raleigh sounded a note of cooperation at the start of this year's North Carolina General Assembly session.

Federal and state law enforcement have arrested 21 people associated with a large-scale drug ring involving the North Carolina campuses at UNC-Chapel Hill, Appalachian State University and Duke University.

Like it or not, Cheri Beasley's tenure as Chief Justice will be defined in large part by her response to COVID-19.

Counties across the state are finishing up the ballot count today and will hold canvas meetings to tally final results from the 2020 General Election.

North Carolina Republicans are frustrated that national media outlets haven't called the state for President Donald Trump yet in last week's election.

Young voters helped contribute to record turnout for North Carolina's 2020 general elections.

As North Carolinians await final results in key political battles in an unprecedented election year, state officials say it's business as usual.

Law enforcement officers pepper sprayed peaceful protesters in Alamance County this weekend on the last day of early voting. The group of about 150 people were participating in a “Legacy March to the Polls” in downtown Graham that included a stop at the controversial Confederate monument there and a plan to march two blocks to an early voting site. 

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest faced off Wednesday night in the lone debate of North Carolina’s gubernatorial race. It was a spirited exchange over education, health care, economy and the COVID-19 crisis.

Tens of thousands of absentee ballots already returned by North Carolina voters have been processed without issue. But a much smaller number has been set aside – held up while elections officials eagerly await guidance on how to cure deficiencies like missing witness information.

A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments over whether North Carolina is providing voters sufficient opportunity to fix absentee ballots that arrive without full information on who witnessed it.

On a late afternoon in Granville County, Linda Smart took a stroll around beautiful Lake Rogers Park with her husband, Henry, and a friend.

"We're hikers and kayakers and stuff, so we're usually at parks," said Smart, 65.

The Smarts recently moved north from Durham to Granville to find a little more wide open space.

Ken Raymond and David Black suddenly resigned from the North Carolina State Board of Elections late Wednesday claiming they were misled about a proposed settlement of lawsuits over absentee voting rules. It was an abrupt turnaround from the unanimous vote the two members joined just days earlier in a closed session of the elections board.

It didn't take long for a GOP candidate to exploit the resignations of the two Republican members of North Carolina's State Board of Elections.

WUNC has all the coverage you need this election season. Check out our 2020 Voter Guide for information on absentee ballots and more. And be sure to check out our Races To Watch stories for everything you need to know about candidates in statewide and legislative elections. Subscribe to WUNC's Politics Podcast, and follow reporters Rusty Jacobs and Jeff Tiberii on Twitter.

This year, North Carolina voters will make crucial decisions at the polls that could impact state politics and laws for at least the next decade.

In addition to casting their ballot in the race for the White House, North Carolinians will also vote in statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate, the state attorney general, the state supreme court, and U.S. House races.

More than a tenth of registered voters in North Carolina have requested absentee ballots this year — significantly higher than in previous elections.

The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted legislation to ease absentee-by-mail voting this year and to make polls safer for in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted along party lines Monday to back plans for early voting on Sundays in some counties.

Interest in absentee-by-mail voting is way up this year in North Carolina. Voters are submitting absentee ballot request forms at a record pace  requests statewide are already 10 times ahead of where they were four years ago and elections officials are working hard to keep up.

Few people, if anyone, track voting data in North Carolina more closely than Michael Bitzer. The Catawba College political scientist posts near daily upates on his Old North State Politics blog, crunching the latest numbers from elections officials across the state. And Bitzer's steady stream of tweets make something very clear: 2020 is shaping up to be very different from previous presidential election years.

Hospitals in North Carolina are ready to start seeing more non-COVID-19 patients as state public health restrictions are slowly being eased.

Hospitals paused certain elective procedures and clinic visits back in mid-March. All part of the effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to conserve limited supplies of personal protective equipment, like gowns and masks.

A few hundred people gathered Tuesday in downtown Raleigh for a "ReOpen NC" rally. They were protesting Governor Roy Cooper's stay-at-home order, which was put in place to limit coronavirus infections in North Carolina.

The Raleigh Police Department released body camera footage on Wednesday evening of an officer’s non-fatal shooting of Javier Torres. A judge authorized the release of the body and dash camera footage of the incident earlier on Wednesday.

Super Tuesday narrowed the Democratic presidential field to a race between two men: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The majority of Democratic North Carolinians cast their ballots for Biden, giving him the state and adding fuel to his comeback after a landslide win in the South Carolina primary. And today former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Biden.

In North Carolina's 2016 primaries, about a third of voters cast ballots early, with the remaining two-thirds turning out on election day.

"If that pattern holds, we could be talking about a million registered voters participating on Tuesday.  That would be pretty substantial," said Michael Bitzer, professor of political science at Catawba College, noting that North Carolinians cast just under 800,000 early votes by absentee ballot and at one-stop polling sites this year. There are more than 6.9 million registered voters in the state.

Not too long ago, a Democratic primary in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District was little more than an exercise in futility: picking a candidate to run a losing campaign against an entrenched Republican incumbent.

State lawmakers adjourned today without taking up a vote on overriding Governor Roy Cooper's budget veto. 

North Carolina's newly redrawn congressional map has convinced at least one Republican incumbent not to run for reelection next year. U.S. Rep. George Holding issued a statement today acknowledging that changes to the 2nd Congressional District factored into his decision not to seek another term in 2020.

The Confederate statue known as Silent Sam will never again stand on a UNC campus, according to a consent order handed down today by a state court.

An investigation launched by the Republican-controlled General Assembly has concluded that Gov. Roy Cooper improperly handled negotiations over a $57.8 million fund related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

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