Under the Dome

McCrory campaign amasses $4.4 million

July 8, 2012 

Republican Pat McCrory will report a $4.4 million war chest this week, enough to give his campaign for governor a huge financial advantage as it enters its final four months.

McCrory added $2.2 million in contributions in the second quarter, according to campaign officials, with 98 percent from North Carolina donors.

His Democratic rival, Walter Dalton, has yet to offer a glimpse at his fundraising totals from April 21 through June 30. The candidates must file campaign finance disclosure forms by Wednesday.

“This outpouring of support from around the state is more proof that North Carolinians realize the only way to fix our broken economy and broken government is to elect an outsider to the governor’s office,” McCrory said in a statement.

Dalton reported $670,000 in cash-on-hand on April 21, but he likely spent most of it in his contested Democratic primary, forcing him to start nearly from scratch to raise the millions it will take to compete in November.

McCrory’s second-quarter haul bested the $1 million he raised in the same period during the 2008 campaign when he lost to Bev Perdue. At this point in 2008, McCrory had $726,000 in his campaign account.

Hamilton defends fracking vote

Rep. Susi Hamilton, a Democrat from Wilmington, took a lot of flak last week for crossing party lines to vote to override the fracking bill veto on the last night of the session Monday. At the same time, the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved an extension of tax incentives for the movie industry, smack in her district.

The N.C. League of Conservation Voters then revoked the “Rising Star” award it had given her a few weeks ago, accusing her of trading environmental protection for film incentives. On Saturday, Hamilton posted a video statement on her Facebook page and released an open letter defending her environmental record.

“I did not vote to support fracking, I voted to regulate fracking,” she writes. “A huge difference. … This was a vote to protect the small rural communities of the state against oil and gas companies.”

She says the oil and gas industry actually wanted to see the governor’s veto sustained Monday so they could resurrect another vetoed energy bill from last year, SB709 – “or, as I call it, ‘drill baby drill.’”

Hamilton touts her 83 percent rating by the N.C. League of Conservation voters, ranking her 12th out of 120 members of the House this year. She also takes a shot at the “well-to-do environmental lobby” for political posturing.

She says her work with Rep. Danny McComas, a Wilmington Republican, to extend the film incentives resulted in a victory for the whole state.

“No one can bully me into anything. They never have, and they never will. Period,” she concludes.

A clash on superintendent post

The Republican candidates for state superintendent are clearly delineated on one major issue: whether the post should be elected or appointed. John Tedesco, a Wake County school board member, says elected. His rival, Richard Alexander, a special education teacher, says appointed.

Tedesco bashed Alexander in a YouTube video ( http://bit.ly/Oi6uBL) saying he is promoting the “Perdue-Alexander agenda.” (The Gov. Bev Perdue reference recalls her effort to give greater powers to the chairman of the State Board of Education, essentially nullifying the elected superintendent – a cause she lost in the courts.)

But in hitting his rival, Tedesco also strikes McCrory, who believes the superintendent should be appointed.

Awkward. On the campaign trail, Tedesco refers to McCrory as “my friend Pat” (without even mentioning his last name) and Tedesco’s Facebook page features a prominent photo of McCrory and him.

For those interested, Dalton also believes the superintendent should be appointed. Such a move would take a constitutional amendment.

PAC announces new attack ad

Crossroads GPS, the conservative super PAC, announced Friday that it will launch a $2.7 million TV advertising blitz in North Carolina that criticizes President Barack Obama.

The first ad, called “Excuses,” says Obama has used a series of excuses for a bad economy rather than taking strong action.

“We’re suffering though one of the weakest economic recoveries in our history, and the one thing President Obama is offering is slogans and excuses,” said Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS. Crossroads is closely associated with Karl Rove, the former chief political adviser to President George W. Bush.

The ad campaign is part of a $25 million advocacy effort starting July 10 and running through early August. Besides North Carolina, the ad campaign is running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.

Staff writers John Frank, Craig Jarvis

and Rob Christensen

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