Under the Dome

Dome: Legislature is gone, but fundraisers are just getting started

Staff writersAugust 15, 2013 

Anyone in Raleigh this month would be forgiven for thinking the legislature is still in session, what with all the lawmakers still wandering around town. For folks who like hanging out with politicians and have a few thousand dollars lying around, there are enough political fundraisers to fill a social calendar.

House Democrats invited folks to a social spot on Fayetteville Street last week. Top dollar “benefactor” tickets went for $5,000. The lowest-cost ticket was $250.

Republican Reps. Mike Hager of Rutherfordton and Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte were at Tyler’s Taproom on Tuesday. High dollar, $4,000; low dollar, $250. It was not a joint event; donors were asked to aim checks at individual campaign committees. Republican Reps. Tom Murry of Morrisville, Tim Moffitt of Asheville and Susan Martin of Wilson were at Natty Greene’s Wednesday night. (“Three M’s are better than One!” read the invite.) Again, not a joint event. Dollar amounts ranged from a low of $250 to $4,000.

The House Republican Freshman Caucus is having a fundraiser Aug. 27 at the Carolina Country Club ($250 to $2,000; contribute to individual committees) featuring Rep. Ruth Samuelson, a Charlotte Republican and House GOP caucus leader who is on the list of potential House speakers. That will roll into a House GOP Caucus fundraiser at the country club ($150 to $10,000). The $10,000 platinum hosts will get a dozen tickets to the VIP and general receptions.

No words on health care

The Wake Republican Women’s Club introduced Aldona Wos, the state secretary of health and human services, as its Thursday meeting’s keynote speaker, saying she would discuss national health care. But when Wos took to the lectern, she said she would not be able to speak on the topic. Instead she addressed the group as a “private citizen” and told personal stories on the themes of “responsibility” and “freedom.”

“Democracy provides us the … responsibility to make choices,” she said. “Responsibility is too often overlooked. We must … say, ‘What are the facts, and what is the right thing to do?’ ”

Wos told the story of her move from Poland to the United States, and the tyranny her father faced during World War II. She’s shared the story before in The News & Observer. She didn’t specifically compare living in communist Poland with the U.S. government, but talked generally about appreciating the freedom available in this country. She said Americans have a responsibility to educate and improve themselves.

A bodyguard prevented a News & Observer reporter from asking Wos any questions after the speech.

Handicapping Hagan’s chances

Political guru Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia is still calling North Carolina’s Senate seat a tossup, but he writes that “it’s reasonable to question the Republicans’ chances there against first-term Sen. Kay Hagan.”

He writes that the national Republicans “do not seem thrilled” with the candidacy of House Speaker Thom Tillis, and grass-roots conservatives are not on board, either, with RedState.com editor Erick Erickson endorsing Cary physician and tea party activist Greg Brannon.

Moreover, Sabato suggests that angry Democrats could have the intensity on their side because of legislation the Republican legislature has passed, including the voter ID bill, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed Monday.

“The unsettled Republican field means, to us, that of the four incumbent Democratic senators running for re-election in states that Mitt Romney won in 2014 – Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Kay Hagan (NC) – Hagan is probably in the best shape at the moment.”

Sabato’s full post can be read at www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/notes-on-the-state-of-politics-2013-08-15.

Staff writers Annalise Frank, Lynn Bonner and Rob Christensen

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