Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum will visit Charlotte on Tuesday to attend a fundraiser for Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. It’s a big get for Forest, who saw his low-budget, narrowly victorious 2012 campaign overshadowed by Gov. Pat McCrory and the former Charlotte mayor’s big-name GOP fundraisers. Santorum, a former U.S. Senator, is expected to “express his support for the strong conservative leadership” from Forest and conservatives in the state legislature. His remarks are expected to focus on the state’s new tougher abortion law and the legislation that slashed income taxes.
The bigger question is what Santorum will say, if anything, on the state’s U.S. Senate race in 2014. Rev. Mark Harris, who is running against House Speaker Thom Tillis, is seeking to woo the same evangelical voters Santorum captured in his unsuccessful presidential bid. Santorum will address the media just before 5 p.m. in Charlotte.
*** More 2014 and even 2016 campaign news below in the Dome Morning Memo. Thanks for reading.***
TODAY IN POLITICS: Gov. Pat McCrory will be in Biloxi, Miss., on Tuesday at the 53rd annual Southern States Energy Board meeting for a forum on offshore drilling, a key priority of his administration. The N.C. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the pre-K eligibility case. ( Read the set up piece here.)
In Chapel Hill, Women Advance is hosting the N.C. Women’s Summit to highlight women leaders and activists in the state. The program starts at 9 a.m. at the Carolina Club on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Speakers include a number of prominent women leaders in the public policy arena.
Organizing for America will host a protest outside U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers’ office in Dunn to push for the federal government to reopen. It starts at 10 a.m.
THE BIG STORY: North Carolina on Monday suspended its Work First program, formerly known as welfare, because of the federal shutdown in Washington.
County social service agencies stopped processing new applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families because federal monies are expected to dry up by November unless Congress can reach a deal for funding the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services sent out a letter Thursday to county social service directors telling them to stop processing new applications as well as re-certifications for November. Read more here.
THE TOP CLICK: Raleigh resident Matthew Brown’s letter about his overburdened wife leaving teaching is getting hundreds of thousands of clicks. “After nearly seven years of her passion for teaching turning to dread, she is free to live her life unburdened by the oppressive hands of incompetent legislators and school board members who wish to micromanage education without actually getting involved with the people in it,” he writes. Read it here.
FOOD FIGHT: The 2016 governor’s race dissolved into a food fight early. Well, in a sense. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement at 11:28 a.m. Monday saying he fast-tracked $750,000 in state funds to needy food banks. Twenty-three minutes later, Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, upped the ante. Cooper’s office announced it would send $2 million to food banks from settlements of consumer lawsuits. Point: Cooper.
MORE 2016 #NCGOV NEWS — Cooper says he supports gay marriage: Read more here.
DEVELOPING STORY: From AP — The Buncombe County Register of Deeds says he’s going to accept marriage license applications Tuesday from same-sex couples and seek an opinion from North Carolina’s top lawyer.
A 2012 amendment to North Carolina’s Constitution forbids same-sex couples from marrying. But Drew Reisinger said he will hold the licenses and then ask Cooper for legal advice.
COOPER RESPONDS: Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper, said in a written statement Monday evening that “these marriage licenses cannot be issued.” “This is the law unless the Constitution is changed or the court says otherwise. This very issue is the subject of pending litigation against the State of North Carolina,” Talley said. Read more here.
NO COMMENT: From deep in a Winston-Salem Journal piece from Friday — “McCrory declined to comment on the record about recent developments centering on DHHS’ operational efficiency and transparency, DHHS Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos’ job performance, Thursday’s decision by the state Auditor’s Office to conduct a post-implementation audit of NCTracks, and if he had concerns about NCTracks’ readiness before its July 1 launch.” Find it here.
MONEYBOMB: Greg Brannon, an underdog Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, is trying to raise $100,000 or more on Dec. 16, the 240th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. According to a Facebook post, the campaign is trying to get 5,000 donors to contribute to the so-called “money bomb,” a one-day fundraising effort. More on it here.
2014 #NCSEN — FACEBOOK FIND: Conservatives Against Thom Tillis with 80 likes and a copy of the Craven County Republican Party Executive Committee’s censure of the the House speaker and U.S. Senate candidate. See it here.
N.C. GERRYMANDERING: Dave Weigel at Slate keeps the conversation going about the affects of redistricting on the current gridlock in Washington and how North Carolina factors into the picture. Read it here.
MOONEYHAM — Berger stays on the Basnight track: Columnist Scott Mooneyham weighs in with a take on Republican Senate leader Phil Berger as the next Marc Basnight. Read it here.
DEMOCRATS’ HIGH HOPES FOR 2014: In case you missed it, the Fayetteville Observer’s Paul Woolverton takes a look at Democrats chances in the 2014 elections. He quotes Democratic state Rep. Rick Glazier expressing high hopes for the party: "There is a realistic plan and possibility of the Democrats being able to recapture both the House and Senate, and I would not have told you that five months ago," he said. Read more here.
AN INTERNATIONAL STORY: The Mount Pisgah Inn’s fight against the federal government to stay open during the federal shutdown is drawing international headlines — and attention to the irony that it sits in the district of U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican many consider a leader of the shutdown movement. From a recent Guardian story: “The standoff in the Appalachians lasted only two hours, but O’Connell’s showdown with federal park officials transformed him into a hero for anti-government conservatives. ... But there is an irony to this story that has so far gone unnoticed. If there is one place outside Washington that can claim responsibility for the government shutdown, it is here: the 11th congressional district of North Carolina.
“Last year, voters elected Mark Meadows, a Tea Party-backed Republican who typifies the kind of rightwinger calling the shots in the House of Representatives. He caused a minor controversy during his 2012 election campaign when, standing in front of a Tea Party Express bus, he declared his intention 'to send Mr Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is.' " Read more here.
MEADOWS MONEY SCORE: Ahead of the government shutdown, as Meadows was being touted by tea party groups for his effort to push back against the White House, his re-election campaign found little support from individuals. Meadows, a Highlands Republican, showed just 11 itemized donors in his third quarter report, part of a total $7,250 from individuals. But he pulled down another $55,000 from political committees, his new report filed Monday shows.
MORE CAMPAIGN MONEY REPORTS: GOP Rep. Walter Jones reported $51,000 in contributions – including more than half from individuals, his latest report filed Monday shows. Jones is expected to face a primary challenger and his fundraising is being closely watched.
MAN CHARGED IN CRIME SPREE TOUTS PHOTO WITH FORMER GOV. EASLEY: From WRAL — “The (arrested man’s) company website, which claims to be a leader in the field of Web development marketing, features a photo that purports to be Johnson receiving an outstanding achievement award on behalf of 1855 Media from former Gov. Mike Easley, Easley's wife and their son.
“Easley said Monday that neither he nor former first lady Mary Easley remembers taking the photo and that he can't recall there ever having been an occasion for the photo opportunity. The governor's office also could not find a record of the award, but said the document in the photo appears to be a certificate of appreciation, a document usually mailed to inmates on work-release programs.” Read more here.
CHEROKEES ADVANCE PLANS FOR SECOND CASINO: AP — North Carolina's Cherokee Indians are moving ahead with plans to build a second casino.
Tribal leaders are holding a ceremonial kick-off Tuesday for the $110 million project. They say the new casino and hotel will create 900 jobs and inject as much as $39 million in wages into the western North Carolina mountains. The new casino and hotel is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, but operated by Caesars Entertainment Corp.
The North Carolina Transportation Department is building a new bridge and making other improvements to make the casion more accessible. The new casino is about an hour's drive southwest of the existing Harrah's Cherokee resort. Earlier this year, the tribe completed a $650 million expansion of that casino, which draws an estimated 3.6 million visitors annually.