Dome: Paul Stam ready to shift to new leadership spot

FROM STAFF REPORTSNovember 9, 2012 

House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam is aiming to become speaker pro tem.

Stam, an Apex Republican, said after six years as the chamber’s GOP leader it’s time to shift positions.

“I believe in term limits at the leadership level, and I want to set a good example,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

The position came open when state Rep. Dale Folwell left the N.C. House to make an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor. As pro tem, Stam would make $21,739 a year, plus $10,000 in expense allowances.

As the majority leader, he coordinated the daily calendar and flow of legislation. Stam said he doesn’t see the move to the pro tem job “as a promotion or a demotion.”

But the position serves the entire chamber, not just the Republicans, and Stam said he is looking forward to working 15 to 20 bills a session, as opposed to 15 to 20 bills a day. In the new post, Stam would assist the speaker and lead his own agenda.

Of course, his ascension isn’t a done deal. While the pro tem spot typically isn’t as competitive as the House speaker position, others could raise their hands. Julia Howard of Mocksville is one whose name has been mentioned.

The House Republican caucus meets to pick its leaders for the next two-year session on Nov. 17 in Raleigh. If it doesn’t pick leaders then, it will do so in December.

Stam declined to discuss whether he would run for House speaker in 2014, when Thom Tillis plans to step down as part of self-imposed term limits. (Stam lost to Tillis in 2010.)

“I may run in two years, but I’m not spending one second on that for the next long period of time,” Stam said.

Samuelson, Lewis eye posts

Stam’s decision to seek the pro tem spot leaves open the majority leader position – which may be divided into two posts.

Reps. Ruth Samuelson and David Lewis each want one of those spots.

On Wednesday, Samuelson emailed her colleagues to ask for support. The Charlotte lawmaker wants to take the “development” post that will put her in charge of strategic messaging, professional development and campaign fundraising.

“We had great success yesterday and I would like to continue to use that experience to make us stronger as a team,” she wrote in the email.

Meanwhile Lewis, who is from Dunn, also is making calls, saying he wants to serve alongside Samuelson. Lewis wants the operations end of the job that would run the daily calendar and manage the caucus agenda.

Lewis said the unprecedented move to split the position between two lawmakers would not cost taxpayers more money. State law gives majority and minority leaders about $4,300 more than average lawmakers, but Lewis said he and Samuelson would split the money.

The move makes sense for Samuelson, who serves as majority whip, a deputy to Stam. It would also put her in a position to run for House speaker in 2014.

She helped the caucus raise huge sums of money that enabled it to deliver a supermajority 77 members – more than even Republicans expected. Republicans competed in 79 races and won all but two. Stam even said he thought they’d take 75.

Charlotte No. 2 in fundraising

If you needed further proof that the Democratic National Convention was a nonstop party, here it is. The 362 political fundraisers held in Charlotte during those four days drove the city to the No. 2 spot on the Sunlight Foundation’s annual ranking of political fundraising cities.

The Tuesday and Wednesday of convention week turned out to be the busiest fundraising days of the entire year, according to the foundation, with 249 political parties between them.

Washington, D.C., again hosted the most fundraisers, with 1,128. Tampa, Fla., home to this year’s Republican National Convention, came in third at 209. The DNC-related parties accounted for 85 percent of the total number of political fundraisers in Charlotte during the year. The city’s overall total this year was 423.

•  New York City: 69

• San Francisco: 36

• Chicago: 25

• Los Angeles: 25

• Boston: 23

• St. Petersburg, Fla.: 21

• Denver: 16

Staff writer John Frank and Charlotte Observer staff writer Andrew Dunn

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