Under the Dome

Dome: Roy Cooper testing waters for 2016 governor’s race

August 17, 2013 

Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper has been making calls to supporters testing the waters for a possible bid against Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016, insiders say.

Cooper’s calls are described as very preliminary, seeing if the support and money would be there for a possible run. Cooper is said to be angry at the direction of the Republican legislature and McCrory.

He also recently sent out an email to supporters blasting the new voter ID law that McCrory has signed. And Cooper started a petition asking McCrory not to sign the voter ID bill.

Cooper’s public criticisms of the voter ID bill drew a rebuke from McCrory, who told WRAL “the attorney general gave me his political opinion, not his legal opinion.” The governor suggested Cooper might be in a conflict of interest.

Cooper responded by noting that his personal opinions have no bearing on his legal duties as attorney general. Cooper, who was first elected attorney general in 2000, has been talked about for governor in the past, but he has always taken a pass.

Nick to work with nonprofit

Brian Nick, who played an important role in McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign, will be helping the outside nonprofit group formed by friends of the governor.

Nick will serve as spokesman and other roles for Renew North Carolina, a 501(c)(4) group that was formed earlier year by McCrory allies to push issues favored by the governor. The group held major fundraisers in Raleigh during the inauguration and more recently at the Grandover Hotel near Greensboro.

Nick, who works for the L.A.-based Strategic Perception consulting firm, was a McCrory adviser during the campaign. After the election he didn’t join the administration, but went to work in McCrory’s old law firm, Moore and Van Allen in Charlotte. He recently left the firm.

Nick is a veteran of Tar Heel politics, having been heavily involved in both the campaigns and the Senate staff of Elizabeth Dole. While working for Strategic Perception, Nick will be taking on Renew North Carolina as a client.

State GOP hires Snyder

Luther Snyder has been hired as deputy executive director of the state Republican Party.

Snyder, a Charlotte native and owner of Snyder Interactive, will direct communications and digital strategy for the party.

He served on McCrory’s staff in the boards and commission office, was campaign strategist for N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Chris Dillon, ran digital strategy for Congressman George Holding, was a senior adviser to Congresswoman Renee Ellmers and was deputy campaign manager for McCrory’s 2008 campaign.

He will join Todd Poole, who is the party’s executive director.

Billboards target Sen. Hagan

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is debuting seven billboards across the state targeting U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s support for the federal health care law. Republicans are trying to make the case that Hagan, a Democrat facing re-election in 2014, accomplished nothing besides supporting Obamacare in the first five years of her term.

“Kay Hagan promised North Carolinians that she would govern as a centrist, but instead has been a Democratic partisan, supporting the President’s signature initiatives lock, stock and barrel,” said Brook Hougesen, a NRSC spokeswoman.

The effort is designed to put the one-term incumbent – who polls show is vulnerable – on the defensive while the GOP struggles to find a dominant candidate. House Speaker Thom Tillis is the most prominent name in the race but other major Republicans are still considering whether to run.

Cary physician Greg Brannon, a tea party candidate, is also making a bid. He has been endorsed by iCaucus, a coalition of county tea party and like-minded groups.

The billboards are located in Greensboro, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and the Raleigh-Durham area.

Staff writers Rob Christensen, John Frank and Lynn Bonner

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