Probe of Harrell heartens his 2008 GOP foe

September 15, 2009 

With Democratic state Rep. Ty Harrell facing questions about his use of campaign money, his Republican challenger is considering another run at him.

Apex Town Councilman Bryan Gossage says he is taking a careful look at challenging Harrell again in 2010.

"Our message last year was that the liberal tax, borrow, and spend policies of the incumbent were wrong for the district and wrong for the state," Gossage said in a statement. "Unfortunately, higher taxes and unemployment numbers are some of the best proof of that."

In 2008, Harrell defeated Gossage 54 percent to 46 percent in a strongly Democratic year. The district, which includes parts of Apex and Cary, is regarded as a swing district. Harrell won the district in 2006 by defeating six-term Republican Russell Capps.

The State Board of Elections and the Legislative Ethics Committee are investigating Harrell's use of campaign money.

Clergy to nudge Hagan

Several local ministers will hold a service outside the Raleigh office of Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan at noon today to urge her to support proposals before Congress to overhaul the nation's health-care system.

"Whenever people are suffering and dying due to lack of or denial of insurance, people of faith must speak out," said the Rev. Tom Rhodes of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Raleigh.

Several ministers, including the Rev. Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and the Rev. Denise Long of United Church of Christ, are expected to participate. A spokeswoman said 25 or more people are expected.

Hagan, a moderate, has been the subject of extensive lobbying on both sides.

Justice will fight Navy

The N.C. Department of Justice pledged to be an ally to northeastern North Carolina in its fight against the U.S. Navy's proposed Outlying Landing Field.

A letter from the Attorney General's Office to U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Farmville Republican, indicates the department is prepared to enforce laws so the state would retain some jurisdiction over lands seized for landing field in counties that do not already have military bases. That would allow the counties to enforce noise ordinances, for example, on the Navy.

"Without full jurisdiction over property acquired for an OLF, it appears that the Navy would have difficulty in operating a military base," wrote Chief Deputy Attorney General Grayson Kelley. "The Attorney General's office will therefore continue to carefully monitor all legal issues related to the OLF siting process and be prepared to act as necessary to protect the economy and environment of Eastern North Carolina."

The Navy is considering sites in Camden and Gates counties for a practice landing field for pilots from Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. Camden and Gates residents have opposed the Navy's proposals.

Perdue aids Va. Democrat

Gov. Beverly Perdue is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee for governor in the Old Dominion, on Oct. 1.

The event at the Capital City Club has a suggested minimum contribution of $500. The A-list of hosts includes former Gov. Jim Hunt, Democratic organizer and fundraiser Bruce Thompson, überfundraiser Peter Reichard and Ruffin Poole, lawyer and former aide to Gov. Mike Easley.

Deeds had been trailing the Republican nominee, former Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell. But McDonnell has been on the defensive since a recent Washington Post report highlighted his graduate school thesis while at CBN (now Regent) University, which was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. The thesis, among other arguments, characterized working women and feminists as "detrimental to the family."

By staff writers Rob Christensen, Mark Johnson and Jane Stancill

rob.christensen@newsobserver.com or 919-8294532

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