Under the Dome

Dome: Dalton gathers backing for governor's race

March 11, 2012 

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton has announced the endorsements of more than 100 current or past public officials in his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.

They include two former lieutenant governors, Bob Jordan and Pat Taylor, 23 mayors and city council members including Bill Bell of Durham, Scott Padgett of Concord, LaWane Mayfield of Charlotte, Yvonne Johnson of Greensboro, Fred Yates of Winfall, Terry Bellamy of Asheville, Bill Saffo of Wilmington, Eugene Weeks of Raleigh and Allen Joines of Winston-Salem.

The list included 24 county commissioners and 22 sheriffs and 33 members of the legislature, including Sen. Josh Stein of Raleigh, Rep. Rosa Gill of Raleigh, Sen. Charlie Dannelly of Charlotte, Sen. Linda Garrou of Winston-Salem, Sen. Ed Jones of Enfield and former Sen. Marc Basnight of Manteo. Also endorsing him is school board Chairman Bill Harrison.

Dalton is one of three major Democrats seeking the nomination in the May 8 primary along with former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and state Rep. Bill Faison of Orange County.

Philip Rivers picks a side

Former N.C. State University quarterback Philip Rivers has endorsed Rick Santorum in the GOP presidential primary.

Rivers, a four-time Pro Bowl pick with the San Diego Chargers, is an Alabama native who made his endorsement before Alabama voters go to the polls Tuesday.

"I am supporting Rick Santorum for president because of his stance on issues that attack vital Christian values our country was founded upon: no abortion, upholding traditional marriage, defending religious freedom, no euthanasia," Rivers said in a statement.

Louisiana senator to visit

Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Democrat from Louisiana, will hold a fundraiser in Raleigh next month.

The lunch event will be held April 2 in the law offices of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein in the Well Fargo Capital Center. The cost of the event ranges from $1,000 to $2,500 per person.

The invitation lists former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, Deirdre Denechaud, Jennifer Dupuy, Bob Spearman and Bruce Thompson.

Landrieu, who does not face re-election until 2014, is chairwoman of the Senate Small Business Committee.

Bill would block I-95 tolls

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers has introduced legislation that would prevent officials from installing tolls along I-95. Ellmers said the bill "No Tolls in North Carolina Act of 2012" prevents the Federal Highway Administration from approving a pilot program that would add tolls on the interstate highway to pay for its expansion.

"While our highways need to be updated to meet growing needs and usage, North Carolina taxpayers should not have to bear further burdens after paying one of the highest gas taxes in the country," she said.

North Carolina won preliminary approval from the FHA to collect tolls on Interstate 95 to pay for road improvements on 182 miles of the four lane interstate.

U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Lumberton Democrat, has also publicly said that he is opposed to toll collection in North Carolina.

Spokesman Dean Mitchell said by email that McIntyre "has heard from both individuals and businesses who are concerned about the impact that tolling will have on their pocketbooks."

rchristensen@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532

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