Under the Dome

Dome: Elections chief quit over marriage measure

STAFF WRITERJanuary 12, 2012 

The Harnett County elections chief resigned this month because she will not oversee a constitutional referendum in May on whether to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.

"Honestly," Sherre Toler said in an interview, "I could not in good conscience remain in my post to facilitate a constitutional amendment that I believe is unconstitutional and immoral."

Toler's Jan. 3 resignation letter said the actions of the N.C. General Assembly in putting the referendum on the ballot "made it impossible for me to continue as director of elections as speaking publicly about candidates or issues appearing on the ballot is prohibited."

Toler told The Associated Press her resignation will enable her to work with groups seeking to defeat the May referendum.

Tough primary for Crawford

A new survey conducted for a liberal Democratic group suggests that conservative Democrat Jim Crawford could be in some trouble.

The survey found Crawford of Oxford trailing Rep. Winkie Wilkins of Person County by 43 percent to 28 percent in a potential Democratic primary matchup. The two Democrats have been thrown into the same district under lines drawn by the Republican legislature.

Crawford has upset some Democrats by voting with Republicans on some key issues, including the budget compromise he helped work out last year.

The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh and was commissioned by Progress North Carolina, a group that has been critical of the actions of the GOP-controlled legislature.

The survey also found that Republican state Sen. Neal Hunt of Raleigh would defeat Democratic civic leader Jill Gammon in a matchup 43 percent to 39 percent if the election were held today.

The spin: "The most recent round of legislative redistricting has left many progressives frustrated, but they should not be," said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress North Carolina. "There are competitive districts all over the state if the right people step up and run for office."

Both polls were conducted Saturday to Monday. The survey of the Crawford district polled 354 Democratic voters and had a margin of sampling error of 5 percentage points. The survey of Hunt's district polled 1,552 voters and had a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.

Stadium likely for DNC finale

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is considering moving the final day of the Democratic National Convention to Bank of America Stadium to sell more skyboxes to wealthy donors, three Democrats involved in the fundraising told Bloomberg News.

According to wire and staff reports, the 74,000-seat home of the Carolina Panthers also would have room for the convention to sell more floor passes close to the stage. Planners are struggling to meet a $36.6 million fundraising goal, according to the Democrats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter.

Other Democrats involved deny fundraising problems. In a statement Tuesday night, convention CEO Steve Kerrigan said: "Decisions about convention planning are driven by engaging more people in the process, not by money."

John Snow wants rematch

Former state Sen. John Snow of Murphy wants his seat back. Snow, a Democrat and former veteran judge, served six years in the Senate until he lost a close fight with Republican Jim Davis for the District 50 post in Western North Carolina.

Snow's 2010 election battle hit the pages of The New Yorker magazine last year in a piece that looked at the influence of Republican financier Art Pope.

But as The N&O reported in October, the article made it look like Snow was the victim of a Pope-funded assault, when in fact it was one of the most fiercely contested districts in the state into which both sides poured money.

In his announcement, Snow doesn't mention his loss. Instead, he hits the high notes about jobs as a priority and the need to fund education.

Frank: 919-829-4698

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