Under the Dome

Groundwork begins for Burr's race

Staff WritersJanuary 5, 2009 

The 2010 Senate race is heating up.

With Democrats coming off one of their best election cycles ever, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, already has two potential opponents: Attorney General Roy Cooper and U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (and maybe departing state Treasurer Richard Moore).

To prepare, Burr has stepped up his media efforts in recent weeks.

And last week, his office unveiled a revamped Web site that features a blog, a podcast and video.

The site has been redesigned and streamlined and is, to Dome's eyes, more attractive than the usual Senate Web page.

Meantime, MMI Marketing, a Raleigh public relations firm, has been sending Dome lengthy e-mail messages about Cooper's years-long fight against a lawsuit filed by his 2000 Republican opponent, Dan Boyce.

"It will be interesting to see if N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper will argue something to the effect that he is above the law in his own lawsuit when it goes to trial on May 18, 2009," reads a typical sentence from one of the messages.

Burr's office has no connection to the Cooper lawsuit, but it is a sign that some Republicans are keenly interested in the state attorney general.

Harrell a hit up north?

Could Ty Harrell represent us in the Great White North?

A Canadian magazine thinks so.

In its Dec. 17 issue, Embassy magazine included state Rep. Ty Harrell on a list of possible ambassadors to Canada, once "one of the most sought-after positions in American foreign service."

"There is nobody clamoring for the job, and that silence is incredibly interesting," Canada expert Christopher Sands told the magazine.

Here's what the publication had to say about Harrell, a Raleigh Democrat: "Democratic state representative from the important swing state of North Carolina. This rising star endorsed Mr. Obama while John Edwards was still in the primaries. Wife is Canadian."

The magazine also included Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Rep. David Bonior, outgoing Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire.

'Magic Negro' debacle

Dr. Ada Fisher is taking a stand in the race for a new Republican national chairman.

As one of three black members of the Republican National Committee, the Salisbury doctor is in a rare position as the GOP crafts its response to Barack Obama's election.

Fisher recently announced her support for South Carolina chairman Katon Dawson in his bid to head the national party, despite a controversy over his membership in a country club that doesn't admit blacks.

Now she has criticized another candidate for the top post, Chip Saltsman, for distributing a CD that included a song played on Rush Limbaugh's radio program called "Barack the Magic Negro."

"It is time we all grew up and exhibited some sophistication in how we act, " she wrote. "Racist actions and deeds have no place in the party ... This is the party of Lincoln, and it was founded on the backs of the oppression of blacks. If we are to be the leading party, we had better understand that and act responsibly in addressing the needs of all of the citizens as we strive for more inclusiveness."

Reagan aide is speaker

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is scheduled to speak to the Cleveland County Republican Party for its Reagan Day Dinner on Feb. 20.

The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the North Lake Country Club in Shelby.

Huntsman, a Republican and former U.S. diplomat, was elected governor in 2004. He has helped enact record tax cuts while directing new funding for education, according to a news release from the Cleveland Republicans.

He was a White House staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan and has held senior appointments in the U.S. Commerce and State departments.

ryan.teague.beckwith@newsobserver.com or 202-383-6016

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