Dome: McCrory's cabinet tilts to the right despite voter registration

FROM STAFF REPORTSJanuary 5, 2013 

Naming his final picks for the Cabinet last week, Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory said he met his campaign pledge to assemble a bipartisan team.

“We have filled all eight of my Cabinet secretary positions with a diverse bipartisan group representing all portions of North Carolina,” he said. “Half of which are Republican and half of which are either Democrats or Independent.”

A spokesman for McCrory said the new governor was referring to their voter registration.

Here’s the partisan Cabinet breakdown provided by McCrory’s team. Four Republicans: Aldona Wos, Kieran Shanahan, Bill Daughtridge and Lyons Gray. One Democrat: Susan Kluttz. And three independents: Tony Tata, Sharon Decker and John Skvarla.

But a review of campaign finance records and public statements suggests his Cabinet is far from bipartisan.

The finance records show independents Decker and Skvarla gave more campaign money to Republicans than Democrats.

Decker has given $2,500 to Republicans and $600 to Democrats at the state level since 1996 but hasn’t donated to either party since 2007 when she gave $100 to the Rutherford County Democratic Party, in her home county. Interestingly, Decker’s other Democratic contributions are to McCrory’s former opponent, Walter Dalton. The two live in Rutherfordton. She gave $250 to his campaigns for state Senate in 2002 and 2004.

Skvarla is a significant GOP donor, donating $18,000 since 2006 – all to Republicans, including $4,000 to McCrory’s 2012 campaign, according to state reports. He has never donated to Democratic candidates at the state level.

Records suggest that Tata hasn’t made any state political contributions, but his political leanings are visible in a review of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s book. Tata wrote that Palin was far more qualified to be president than President Barack Obama.

In a separate 2009 post on breitbart.com, the website owned by the late conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart, Tata wrote about the Democratic president: “Bit by bit, after 18 months Americans are seeing the real Obama: an aloof Ivy League intellectual with tremendous contempt for the people he allegedly serves.

“In addition to his demonstration of genuine contempt for the American people with his callous comment and his dismissive attitude toward our most seasoned defense professionals, the president actually never discusses victory or winning because he doesn’t believe we can win. For every war fighter in harm’s way right now, our president has communicated, ‘Better you than me, buddy.’ ”

Rep. Bryant to fill Senate seat

Democrat Angela Bryant will return to Raleigh this week as a state senator, not a representative.

The three-term lawmaker from Rocky Mount was selected to fill the vacant 4th District seat after the death of state Sen. Ed Jones last month. A committee of two representatives from each of the five counties in the district picked Bryant.

Now a committee will pick Bryant’s replacement in the House.

Four spurn storm aid request

Four N.C. Republicans in Congress voted against providing $9.7 billion in aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy, including two new freshmen.

The lawmakers who voted against: Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk, Mark Meadows of Hendersonville, George Holding of Raleigh and Richard Hudson of Charlotte.

They were part of a group of 67 Republicans who voted against the aid requested by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican Party star. The vote: 354-67.

Three Republicans didn’t immediately explain their votes, but Holding told McClatchy Newspapers last week that his main priority is to limit spending. Meadows is already being attacked by Democrats as a card-carrying tea partier. And Foxx is known for her uber-conservative stances.

Staff writers John Frank and Rob Christensen

Send tips to dome@newsobserver.com.

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