Under the Dome

Burr assumes Helms' conservative mantle

Staff WritersJune 17, 2008 

Elizabeth Dole may have taken Jesse Helms' seat in the U.S. Senate, but Richard Burr took his place.

According to rankings by a professor at the University of California at San Diego, Burr has occupied the same place as Helms in the political spectrum since joining the Senate in 2005.

Developed by political scientist Keith Poole, the rankings are based on an analysis of every roll call vote in the Senate since 1937, a method that he says better captures the ideological consistency of lawmakers than cherry-picking certain issues.

In the 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 sessions, Burr was ranked the sixth-most conservative senator. He is ranked as less conservative than only Sens. John Ensign of Nevada, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Helms was ranked the sixth-most conservative senator in the 2001-2002 session.

Dole, who took Helms' seat in 2003, has become more conservative during her tenure. She was ranked the 30th most conservative senator in the 2003-2004 session, the 27th most conservative in the 2005-2006 session and the 16th most conservative in the 2007-2008 session.

Sen. John Edwards was the 38th most liberal senator in the 2001-2002 session and the 20th most liberal senator in the 2003-2004 session.

Bush coming to Raleigh

It's official. The White House announced Monday that President Bush will be in Raleigh on Friday to help raise money for Pat McCrory, the Republican candidate for governor.

The location for the afternoon event is listed as a private residence, and the event will be closed to the public and news media.

But as Dome reported previously, the McCrory campaign says the event will be at the home of John Kane, who is redeveloping the North Hills area.

Burr aide joins lobbying firm

Burr's chief of staff, Alicia Peterson Clark, has joined an international lobbying and public affairs consulting firm in Washington.

Peterson Clark will become a vice president and senior adviser for APCO Worldwide, the company announced.

She worked with Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, during his time in the U.S. House and rejoined him in the Senate.

In between, she also worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000 and in the White House during Bush's first term.

APCO Worldwide has a long list of clients that include Microsoft, Ikea and Procter & Gamble. The agency also has worked with the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, two key supporters of Burr's.

Bob Dole, the former senator from Kansas and husband of Elizabeth Dole, joined the firm several years ago as a senior counselor.

Replacing Peterson Clark in Burr's office will be Chris Joyner, a former Burr staffer who is returning from the American Petroleum Institute.

Lottery bill struggles

State Sen. Eddie Goodall is fighting an uphill battle to get lawmakers to give away $50 million in revenue.

Goodall, a Weddington Republican, has again filed a bill that would divert all tax money collected by the state on lottery winnings to a fund to pay for classroom supplies.

"It was logical to me. It's supposed to be an education lottery, correct?"

Money raised by ticket sales pays for four specific education priorities. But taxes collected on prize money go to the general fund. Goodall's proposal has failed at least once before.

Goodall says the state collects as much as $50 million a year from the winnings of lottery players. That's enough, he said to give every teacher in the state (100,000) a $500 stipend to cover the cost of classroom supplies. But that would mean the state would have $50 million less to pay for other things.

Goodall said his bill hasn't gotten much attention from the education lobby.

"I assume that if they're not interested in taking the money, that if they're not interested in that bill, we might have some problems," he said.

Democrats plan bash

The N.C. Democratic Party is planning its third Sanford-Hunt Dinner.

The annual fundraiser, which honors former Govs. Jim Hunt and Terry Sanford, will be held Friday at the Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern.

Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek said he has high hopes for the event, hoping to sell out the 800-seat venue, in part because of the timing of the state convention, which will bring 1,500 delegates to New Bern the same day.

By staff writers Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bill Krueger and Rob Christensen. ryan.teague.beckwith@newsobserver.com or (919) 836-4944

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