Dome: Former Gov. Hunt to lend Obama a hand

FROM STAFF REPORTSSeptember 27, 2012 

Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt is hitting the campaign trail for President Barack Obama over the next month, conducting what is being called a “middle-class listening tour.”

Hunt, a four-term governor, will meet at the homes of local families in the Triangle, Triad, Charlotte and Greenville to discuss the choices they face in the next election. He will begin Friday, meeting with a family in Raleigh.

“Gov. Hunt is one of North Carolina’s greatest advocates, and we are thrilled to have him back on the campaign trail for the president,” said Cameron French, Obama’s state campaign spokesman.

Coleman leading Forest

A poll by the conservative Civitas Institute provides an in-depth look at how Council of State races are shaping up, and the biggest revelation is that Democrat Linda Coleman is leading Republican Dan Forest in the race to become North Carolina’s lieutenant governor.

Coleman would pick up 43 percent of the vote, while Forest would take 39 percent, according to the poll, with the remaining undecided or unwilling to participate in the survey.

Forest is within the poll’s 4 percent margin of error.

“Any name recognition is important in the so-called ‘down ballot’ races,’ said Civitas president Francis X. De Luca. “However, there were substantial numbers of undecided voters in these surveys. Last-minute campaigning and voter turnout likely will play big roles in the final outcomes.”

Coleman is a former state legislator and was director of the Office of State Personnel.

National Research, a New Jersey-based firm, conducted a survey of 600 registered North Carolina voters on Sept. 18 and 19. Only those who voted in at least one of the last two general elections or registered since then were counted.

Tata for Senate?

Veteran Democratic consultant Gary Pearce believes the Democratic majority on the Wake County Board of Education made a major misstep in firing superintendent Tony Tata and may have even launched him in a Senate bid in 2014.

“Even strong Democrats believe the Wake school board flunked this test,” Pearce writes in his blog, Talking About Politics. “The board majority may have done the right thing, but they sure did it the wrong way. And Democrats may pay the price. It was a mistake to fire Tony Tata without first setting out a bill of particulars. You can’t fire a superintendent, then refuse to say why because ‘it’s a personnel matter.’

“Board members finally began explaining themselves today. That was a day late. They gave the public stage over to their Republican critics yesterday. At the start of the evening news broadcasts, no less.

“John Tedesco, Paul Coble & Co. were happy to take the stage. Tedesco may be the big winner here. He may stir up enough votes in Wake County to get elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Coble now has an excuse not to give the schools more money. And Tata gets a years’ pay so he can start (some critics theorize) running against Senator Kay Hagan in 2014. But keep one thing in mind. This board didn’t do what Tedesco’s board did. His crowd forced Tata’s predecessor out immediately. This board gave Tata a chance. But Tedesco and his colleagues are shocked, shocked.”

Staff writers Rob Christensen and Austin Baird

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