Under the Dome

Dome: Brad Miller isn't going to back down from a fight

August 8, 2011 

U.S. Rep. Brad Miller continues to signal his interest in running for the 4th Congressional District seat now held by fellow Democrat David Price.

In a fundraising email letter to supporters, Miller wrote that he hopes the courts overturn the redistricting plan the Republican legislature approved last month. The plan turns his 13th district into a Republican stronghold.

But Miller expresses a strong interest in the 4th, noting that that the legislature moved his home into the 4th; the district now includes Fayetteville, where he grew up, and 31 percent of his current constituents.

"I've long thought that the Republicans in the legislature would create one packed Democratic district in the Triangle so that everything around it would be Republican," Miller writes. "They actually went further than I thought they would."

Later he adds, "All of the Democrats from North Carolina are standing shoulder-to-shoulder to challenge the new districts in court on all the grounds available to us. But I want you to know that I want to continue to serve in Congress. I feel no sense of entitlement to a seat in Congress, but I don't want to walk away from the fight I'm in.

"This is the fight of my life. I hope you will help keep me in that fight. Please consider volunteering or making a donation to my campaign."

Planned Parenthood

Here's a preview of North Carolina's defense against the lawsuit by a Planned Parenthood affiliate that was cut out of the state budget this year: "North Carolina has a right to favor childbirth over abortions."

That comes from a brief the state Attorney General's Office filed last week opposing the motion by Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina for a preliminary injunction preventing the state from withholding the money. There's a hearing on the motion Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem.

In June, the Republican-controlled General Assembly cut off all funds to the organization, even though the money wasn't used for abortions. The organization sued on constitutional grounds and said thousands of women will be deprived of health services.

On Thursday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a law in Kansas that stripped Planned Parenthood of its funding.

But North Carolina says there's nothing stopping Planned Parenthood from applying directly to the federal government for the money that had been funneled through the state Department of Health and Human Services. And, the state says, there are plenty of other places where people can go for the same services; in fact, the state contracted with 91 entities for family-planning services, most of which are county health departments.

An injunction forcing the state to contract with the organization would be "extraordinary and drastic," not to mention unconstitutional, the state contends.

Cunningham redeploys

Cal Cunningham, a former state senator who lost a U.S. Senate primary last year, is heading to Afghanistan.

Four years ago, the Lexington Democrat, a lawyer in the Army Reserve, deployed to Iraq. A senior prosecutor, he worked out of one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces.

In Afghanistan, he'll be one of two lawyers working with a special operations task force and doing "village stability operations." He writes about the new deployment on his blog.

He'll leave his wife and two children in Lexington, including the daughter born after Sept. 11, 2001.

"We were pregnant with Caroline on that horrifying September day ten years ago," he wrote. "If I can play some small role in helping make a world safer for her and for Will - and their generation - the time will be worth it. Given the stakes for our country, I am compelled to try."

Last year Cunningham lost a Democratic Senate primary runoff to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Burr, Hagan on hand

North Carolina's two senators, Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan, will be in Fayetteville today and Tuesday for the 10th Annual N.C. Defense Trade Show.

The trade show brings together major defense companies, North Carolina firms and military officials to talk business.

Burr and Hagan are sponsors, along with Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell, the N.C. Military Business Center, the N.C. Defense Business Association, the Partnership for Defense Innovation, and the University of North Carolina system.

Burr will speak tonight at a Defense Trade Show dinner and give remarks Tuesday at the opening of the Trade Show.

Hagan will speak today at an N.C. Defense Business Association lunch and Tuesday at a Defense Trade Show Vendor breakfast and will help kick off the trade show Tuesday morning at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

Compiled by staff writers Rob Christensen, Craig Jarvis and Jim Morrill

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

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