Under the Dome

Dome: Perdue funds swell amid malpractice debate

August 9, 2011 

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue got a substantial influx of political contributions from trial lawyers in June as she was considering whether to veto a medical malpractice bill making its way through the Republican legislature.

Between January and May 31, Perdue received $139,441 in campaign contributions from lawyers, according to her campaign report for the first six months of the year filed with the State Board of Elections.

But in June, lawyers donated $151,209 to her campaign as it became clear the medical malpractice bill was likely to pass, according to campaign records. She vetoed the bill on June 24, but the legislature over rode her veto July 25.

A significant amount of the money came from trial attorneys who were opposed to the cap on "non-economic" damages of $500,000 in most instances.

The 'Hunt Papers' Vol. 4 due out

On Tuesday afternoon, the fourth and final collection of four-term Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt's official papers will be released.

Hunt's papers will be made public at a 3 p.m. ceremony at the N.C. Museum of History.

The former governor is expected to attend. The 809-page volume contains the papers of his final term, 1997-2001.

Hunt gets the first copy but anyone who wants to pay the $9 shipping fee can also have a copy for the bookshelf.

The N.C. Office of Archives and History is required by law to publish the papers of former governors. It has been doing so since 1923, when it first published the papers of Thomas W. Bickett.

Post: Rep. Miller most apt to lose

Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Miller's House seat is the most likely congressional seat to turn over next year, according to The Washington Post's online political column, The Fix.

In handicapping the 10 House seats most likely to flip in 2012, the Post ranked the 13th District as No. 1.

That's because the legislature recently reconfigured the district from heavily Democratic to heavily Republican during the redistricting process.

"This is a very tough hold for Miller," The Post writes.

The legislature drew Miller out of the district, and he is considering running for the 4th District seat now held by Democratic Rep. David Price if legal challenges to the GOP plan fail.

Several Republicans have announced plans to run for the 13th, including former Raleigh Mayor Paul Coble, who is chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners; former U.S. Attorney George Holding; and Bill Randall, who was the GOP candidate last year.

The seventh most likely congressional seat to turn over, according to The Fix is the 7th District seat held by Democrat Larry Kissell, which has also been made more Republican by redistricting.

Republican state Reps. Jerry Dockham and Justin Burr are considering running against Kissell.

The other highly vulnerable seats are those held by Illinois Republicans Joe Walsh, Adam Kinzinger, Bobby Schilling and Bob Dold - ranked Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 6 - Republican David Dreier of California (ranked No. 5), Democrat Mike Ross of Arkansas (No. 8), Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana (No. 9) and Democrat Dan Boren of Oklahoma (No. 10)

Here is one way to look at it. North Carolina's Republican legislators are keeping fast company. If you believe The Washington Post list, only the Illinois Democratic legislature did a better job of drawing their opponents out of congressional seats.

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

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