Americans for Prosperity to host tea party

April 1, 2010 

The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative anti-tax, smaller government group, is trying to get the North Carolina tea party movement organized.

The Raleigh-based chapter is holding two "North Carolina Tea Party Summits," one in Hickory and one in Wilmington, to help galvanize the movement.

The tea party movement had prided itself on being a grass-roots effort of people of varying beliefs united by their dissatisfaction with what's happening in Washington.

Americans for Prosperity is headed locally by former Raleigh newsman Dallas Woodhouse; it also has ties to Raleigh businessman Art Pope.

The first summit will be held May 14-16 at the Hickory Convention Center. The second will be May 21-23 at the Wilmington Hilton Riverside.

The meetings will include workshops on get-out-the-vote strategies, precinct organization, phone banks and other political skills.

On its Web site, Americans for Prosperity said it is not trying to hijack the tea party movement: "Our hope is to provide tools, training and information to keep this historic movement alive and work to support those issues."

Teachers for Cunningham

It's official. The N.C. Association of Educators is backing Cal Cunningham in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

The NCAE announced that 83 percent of its membership voted to ratify the endorsement recommendation of its government relations committee. The committee by an 18-1 vote had recommended backing Cunningham in the May 4 primary.

"Cal Cunningham is clearly the candidate who will fight for public education in North Carolina as a U.S. senator," said Sheri Strickland, NCAE president.

Gantt backs Lewis

Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, meanwhile, is supporting the Senate campaign of Ken Lewis.

Gantt, who won the Democratic Senate primary twice himself, says he thinks Lewis can go even further.

"I told Ken, to show me a campaign that can win not just in May but in November, and I would get behind that campaign 100 percent," Gantt said Wednesday in a statement. "Today, Ken Lewis has proven that he can mount such a campaign and finish the job we started two decades ago."

Marshall has Durham allies

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall is touting two Durham endorsements in her bid to win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

On Monday, Durham businessman, investor and banker Maceo Sloan threw his support behind Marshall, according to a news release. Sloan is one of the state's most successful African-American business leaders. He is president and CEO of Sloan Financial Group and was chairman of Mechanics & Farmers Bank until 2008.

Marshall also picked up the endorsement of the Durham People's Alliance, a group that works to improve the quality of life in Durham by promoting "diversity and sustainability."

"For years, Secretary Marshall has demonstrated leadership and progressive values," alliance member Milo Pyne said. "We believe she is the best candidate to appeal to both urban and rural voters and the strongest candidate to take on Richard Burr in November."

Barbour to speak to state GOP

The N.C. Republican Party is bringing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to Raleigh to help raise money for the party.

Barbour will headline a hot dog and hamburger dinner at Sisters' Garden on May 13, with the proceeds going to the GOP. The cost of the event ranges from $50 to $500.

Barbour, who is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012, is a former Republican National Committee chairman and Washington lobbyist. He is chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

By staff writers Rob Christensen and Benjamin Niolet

rob.christensen@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532

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