Dome: McCrory takes first trip as governor-elect

From staff reportsNovember 13, 2012 

Pat McCrory won the governor’s race and now he’s going to ... nope, not Disney.

The governor-elect traveled to Sin City on Tuesday for the Republican Governors Association’s annual conference, which runs Wednesday through Friday, a spokesman said.

McCrory is sure to be celebrated as the only Republican to flip a governor’s mansion from blue to red.

But the conference is ostensibly agenda-focused, with policy and political meetings intended to orient new governors like McCrory and to hone the larger GOP message. Republicans now hold 30 state governorships – the most since 2000.

Bowles for Treasury?

Erskine Bowles says he’s not interested in an Obama administration Cabinet post. But his name is still often mentioned. The Washington Post is listing the former UNC system president, big-time Democrat and two-time U.S. Senate candidate as a potential pick for Treasury secretary:

“Given the still-struggling state of the economy, Obama’s pick to succeed Geithner could well be the most important one he makes heading into a second term. White House chief of staff Jack Lew seems to have the inside track, but if he is chosen, Obama would have to find a new chief – his fourth during his time in office. Former Clinton administration official – and two-time failed North Carolina Senate candidate – Erskine Bowles appears to be a rising choice thanks to his work on the eponymous debt commission.”

2014 talk begins

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan held her 100th “Conversations with Kay” Tuesday morning. She finished her tour of all 100 counties at the Dunn Community Center in Harnett County.

At each of the meetings, when she started in August 2009, she has listened to constituent concerns involving Social Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies. “It’s really an opportunity for me to listen to people in their counties, and understand their concerns,” Hagan said.

Overwhelmingly, Hagan said, the biggest complaint from citizens is to do something about partisan gridlock. “People say, ‘Please stop fighting,’ ” she said.

The other big issue is jobs. And one of the issues she is honing in is the mismatch between jobs and skills, which is leaving some jobs unfilled even with a high unemployment rate.

With one election cycle over, attention is now going to be on Hagan’s re-election campaign in 2014. But Hagan didn’t want to talk about it Tuesday.

“I think people are thrilled the election is over and they can go back to car commercials,” Hagan said. “So I think we will let that rest.”

Hagan may not want to talk, but others do. Politico lists her as one of the six most vulnerable Democrats in the country. It also mentioned some likely challengers, writing:

“North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is the early Republican favorite to mount a bid against the first-term Hagan because of his fundraising ability and close ties to Gov.-elect Pat McCrory. But if Republicans want to make a concerted effort to close the gender gap, they may turn to Rep. Renee Ellmers, who just won a second term.”

Ellmers, who represents District 2, is new to the list of potential GOP contenders. Others include Senate leader Phil Berger and James P. Cain, who served as ambassador to Denmark under President George W. Bush.

Staff writers John Frank and Rob Christensen

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