Under the Dome

Hagan avoids specifics on Senate hopefuls

December 7, 2009 

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said last week that she has spoken with all three declared and potential Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, but she avoided questions about whether she's encouraging Cal Cunningham to run.

"There's a lot of speculation on a lot of candidates that are running, and I'm going to be supporting the Democratic nominee for that race," Hagan said in her weekly call with reporters.

First, she said, she had talked to "everybody."

Then she pointed out that she and Cunningham served together in the state Senate.

Then, asked about Cunningham, Durham lawyer Kenneth Lewis and N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, she said, "I've talked to all three of them."

Her message?

"It's a long campaign year; it's a long, hard year," she said. "But it's a worthwhile endeavor. You probably need to get a good car to travel the state, because we've got a big state in North Carolina."

Lewis and Marshall have declared their candidacies. Cunningham, after bowing out, is expected to announce soon that he's back in. He is being courted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Hagan, of course, was talked back into seeking election by the DSCC in 2008 after initially declining to take on incumbent Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

A lot of hot air?

With the debate over global warming heating up this week - no pun intended - both sides of the issue will be seeking to influence the debate in Raleigh with dueling lunch presentations.

On Wednesday, N.C. Policy Watch will hold a lunch briefing at the Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.

Todd Wooten, director of the Southeast Climate Resources Center at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and a former legislative counsel to Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, will be the featured speaker. He will be joined by Veronica Butcher of the N.C. Conservation Network and Steve Jackson of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center.

Want a different take on global warming and the cap-and-trade legislation? A few blocks away, at the headquarters of the John Locke Foundation, Americans for Prosperity will be holding its own luncheon Wednesday.

Dallas Woodhouse of Americans for Prosperity and Roy Cordato of the Locke Foundation will talk about what they see as the flaws in some of the legislative proposals regarding global warming. They will be joined by satellite from Copenhagen by members of the national staff of Americans for Prosperity.

Group calls Burr a puppet

A Washington-based campaign finance group has named U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, an "insurance puppet" for the political contributions he has taken from insurance companies.

The Public Campaign Action Fund had an ad on the Web site fivethirtyeight.com depicting the North Carolina Republican on puppet strings. The group connects Burr's opposition to the federal health insurance legislation to the insurance donations.

The Public Campaign Action Fund describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes public financing of campaigns.

By staff writers Barbara Barrett, Rob Christensen and Lynn Bonner.

bbarrett@mcclatchydc.com or 202-383-0012

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