Under the Dome

Dome: Coalition to track human cost of state cuts

STAFF WRITERSNovember 16, 2011 

Together NC, a coalition of more than 100 advocacy groups, is launching a Web-based repository to track the real-life consequences of the state budget.

"It will have local data on employment statistics, jobs lost, to put the economic context around what's been happening with the budget," said Rob Thompson, a Together NC coordinator. It'll be called On the Chopping Block at togethernc.org .

Thompson said the site will act as a counter to assertions by House Speaker Thom Tillis "that the budget has not had a negative impact in a lot of ways, and if it has it's not their fault."

Together NC argued earlier this year for the legislature to keep the temporary sales taxes and income tax surcharges. Thompson said that he doesn't think that the legislature will go back and revisit that decision but that the site will be the basis for a good argument that they should not make more cuts.

Dority to challenge Marshall

He's been on so many ballots, you might recognize his name.

Republican Greg Dority, who has run for Congress three times in the last decade, is back in politics with a statewide race for secretary of state. He wants to challenge incumbent Democrat Elaine Marshall.

"I feel like it's the right race to be in at this time," Dority said. Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is the unannounced Republican candidate for governor, and Dority, who is from Washington, N.C., says it's important to have an eastern candidate on the statewide ticket.

Dority ran for Congress in the 12th District against Democratic incumbent Mel Watt of Charlotte in 2010 and in the 1st District in 2002 against Democrat Frank Ballance and in 2004 against Democratic U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield.

Third-party prospects

A national online effort to find and nominate a candidate for president has begun a petition drive to get that candidate on the ballot in North Carolina. Americans Elect, described as a "virtual Third Party," hopes to mobilize tens of thousands of people across the country to recommend and then vote on a presidential ticket in 2012.

Organizers say they already have the 1.6 million signatures they need to get on the ballot in California.

"There's a real hunger out there for a third ticket in 2012 and for folks to participate in a more meaningful way in a primary," said. Elliot Ackerman, the group's chief operating officer.

The group's board of advisers includes Mark Erwin of Charlotte, an investor and former U.S. ambassador, former FBI Director William Webster and Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush.

Asheville mayor to run

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that she will challenge U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican, next year.

"Washington is broke, and people are tired of watching the bickering and political posturing while businesses and families are struggling," Bellamy said in a statement. "As mayor, I'm expected to get results, and we should expect no less from our representatives. It's time to send some people to Congress who can get the job done, and put North Carolina and the country back to work."

Bellamy was the city's first African-American mayor and the youngest mayor when she was elected in 2005. In the past, Bellamy has not been in McHenry's district. But in order to weaken 11th District Democrat Heath Shuler, the legislature moved Asheville into the McHenry's 10th District. Although the 10th District is still Republican-leaning, it will be more politically competitive now that it includes Democratic-leaning Asheville.

Obama's team grows in N.C.

President Barack Obama's campaign organization, Organizing for America, formally opened its fourth campaign office in North Carolina on Tuesday in Fayetteville. The Obama organization already has offices in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro.

Obama campaign officials expect the president's re-election effort will surpass the 2008 effort. That year, the Obama campaign had 47 storefront offices.

To help pay the cost of the organization, singer James Taylor will be at the Cary Arts Center on Friday for a $500 per person fundraising concert to benefit the campaign.

Bonner: 919-829-4821

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service