Under the Dome

Dome: New conservative nonprofit group plans statewide events

Staff writersDecember 11, 2012 

The new nonprofit political organization that is picking up the tab for Gov.-elect Pat McCrory’s alt-inaugural bash next month is planning an active role in North Carolina politics. And it is courting big-money donors in order to pull it off.

The Foundation for North Carolina is planning a spring conference weekend retreat with the new governor in Pinehurst and a fall conference weekend at Bald Head Island with McCrory.

According to a solicitation obtained by Dome, the group is offering special memberships for $50,000 and $25,000 that come with tickets to those conferences, as well as to three inaugural events on Jan. 12: invitation-only cocktails and dinner with McCrory and his wife, Ann; a VIP reception that follows; and the main celebration at the Raleigh Convention Center. Buying in at that level also provides contributors with tickets to share with their friends.

The foundation was formed soon after McCrory’s election by his campaign strategist, Jack Hawke, and others. The foundation will have a full-time director and staff, according to its filing with the state. As Hawke explained last week, the plan is to conduct public policy research and publish its findings to further a goal of free-market reforms.

It also will make an annual award to entrepreneurs in North Carolina, according to its state filing.

Foundation organizers peeved some members of the Junior League of Raleigh by announcing the Jan. 12 party, which some saw as competition to the league’s annual inaugural ball the night before. The ball is the league’s major fundraiser for programs that benefit the community and state.

Karl Rove PAC targets Hagan

Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, a Washington-based political action committee headed by Karl Rove, has launched a new radio ad in the Tar Heel State. The $92,000 buy launched Tuesday and targets Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat who will face fierce (and apparently early) opposition in 2014.

It pushes for Sen. Kay Hagan to “insist on the balanced plan that President Obama promised to avoid the fiscal cliff and help the economy.”

“A balanced plan includes more than just the massive tax increases President Obama is insisting Congress pass,” said Steven Law, the group’s president, in a release. “It is up to Sen. Hagan to urge President Obama and Harry Reid to show real leadership.”

Earlier this year, the American Petroleum Institute started its ad blitz against Hagan, and the first-term senator’s name often shows up on lists of the most vulnerable seeking re-election in 2014.

GOP lining up Hagan challenger

While conservative groups are dropping money into an effort to push Hagan out of office in 2014, the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling on Tuesday released a poll that gives an early look at who the GOP is most likely to line up against the first-term Democrat.

Rep. Virginia Foxx tops Republicans’ wish list at 17 percent; 14 percent prefer Sue Myrick, 13 percent want Patrick McHenry and 11 percent Renee Ellmers.

Only 2 percent named state House Speaker Thom Tillis as their top choice. But 25 percent remain undecided in the distant (but not-distant-enough) 2014 primary election.

In a release announcing the poll’s results, Tom Jensen, PPP’s director, suggests Foxx is leading early because of her appeal with “very conservative” voters.

Jensen also suggests Republicans don’t have a potential candidate with an established statewide reputation, which plays into Hagan polling ahead of all potential GOP opponents.

PPP surveyed 578 North Carolina voters, including 462 usual Republican primary voters, to conduct the poll. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points and for GOP voters plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

Perdue, McCrory visiting bases

In a show of bipartisanship, Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue and Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory are planning to fly around together to North Carolina’s military bases on Friday.

Perdue has made making North Carolina a military-friendly state a priority, and McCrory plans to do the same. The two plan to travel together to visit the major military installations and hear what their major needs are from state government.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis, Austin Baird and Rob Christensen

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