The two-week candidate filing period ended at noon Wednesday with last-minute drama, as a would-be congressional candidate ran into the state elections agency apparently seconds too late.
Forsyth Republican Party Chairman Nathan Tabor stopped his car in the middle of the State Board of Elections parking lot and ran into the building. He said the receptionist told him he made it just in time.
But a room away, elections chief Gary Bartlett announced the end of filing before Tabor entered. Bartlett told Tabor he was too late. Tabor plans to appeal to the full state elections board, which will make a decision Tuesday.
Tabor wanted to file to challenge longtime GOP incumbent Howard Coble in the 6th Congressional District, where a crowded Republican primary is under way.
Why did he wait? "I think I was in on time. My signature is on the board over here. The lady at the front - I came in the door - and she throws her hands in the air and says, 'You made it,' " Tabor recounted.
Tabor said he left Kernersville at 10 a.m. "My GPS said an hour and 30 minutes," he said.
He said that he respects Coble but that after doing overnight polling, he decided to enter the race. "I've done some praying. I've done some polling. I've done some researching ... and came to the conclusion today we need fresh leadership in Washington, D.C.," he said.
JOBS Act has McHenry bill
U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry's crowdfunding bill was one of six bills bundled together into the House Republicans JOBS Act introduced Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act would allow small businesses to flourish by increasing their access to capital and reduce regulatory burdens.
"That's what we believe is the secret to the success of growing this economy: It is to get the small business engine started again," he said.
Several of the proposed bills, including crowdfunding, passed the House with large bipartisan support but have stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The crowdfunding bill passed 407 to 17.
The White House has signaled a willingness to work with Republicans.
The crowdfunding bill would ease federal restrictions and allow entrepreneurs to raise capital from a large pool of small investors.
The JOBS Act also includes a proposal to remove a Securities and Exchange ban on small companies using advertising to solicit investors and another easing SEC regulations to allow small companies to go public at lower costs.
"There's not much that folks agree on in Washington these days, but getting our economy back on the right track is something that everyone supports," said McHenry, a Cherryville Republican.
"Economists predict that crowdfunding legislation will increase new-business startups by at least 10 percent," he said. "With unemployment in North Carolina higher than the national average, I'm hopeful that the Senate is ready to act."
Task force on benefits fraud
House Speaker Thom Tillis is forming a task force to examine unemployment fraud after hearing anecdotal concerns about waste.
Tillis called it a "broad-based problem" but acknowledged that lawmakers need more information to catalog abuse in the system and develop solutions. He named Reps. Marilyn Avila and G.L. Pridgen to head the task force.
Findings are due by May 15.
The recommendations will address ways to recoup overpayments, best practices from other states, penalties for fraud and the role of the Division of Employment Security within the Department of Commerce.
Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco said he welcomes the analysis, which will dovetail with an examination the department is conducting on its own.
Crisco said the numbers quantifying fraud and abuse are wide-ranging and he wants to get an accurate picture.
NFL clears way for Obama
The NFL is moving next season's opening game - featuring the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants - to Wednesday night, Sept. 5. It was originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6, when the president is scheduled to accept the Democratic nomination at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. In a statement, the league said it wanted to avoid a conflict.
A Democratic official stressed that the decision to move the game was made by the league, not at the request of the convention or Obama campaign.
In 2008, the NFL opener bumped against another acceptance speech - Republican John McCain's. The NFL moved the kickoff up 90 minutes.
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