Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul endorsed Republican Greg Brannon for North Carolina’s marquee U.S. Senate race, giving the Cary physician’s low-profile campaign a huge boost.
“I enthusiastically endorse Greg Brannon for U.S. Senate because he’s a true constitutional conservative who will join me in fighting against business as usual in Washington,” Paul said in a statement Wednesday morning released by Brannon’s campaign. “Americans are looking for leaders who will honor their oath of office by fighting to ‘protect and defend’ the Constitution and Greg is the clear choice for conservatives in North Carolina.”
Paul’s decision to snub the two top-tier candidates – Thom Tillis and Mark Harris – to endorse Brannon further splits the Republican primary vote, reflecting the divide in the party among moderates, evangelicals and tea partiers.
***Read more from Paul’s endorsement and get the latest campaign fundraising figures below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
Here’s more from Paul’s endorsement: “The American people don’t want more politicians in the U.S. Senate who will continue to expand the size of government. We need Greg in the Senate to provide vital reinforcements to help reverse out-of-control spending, restore constitutional limitations on our federal government, and fight back against President Obama’s agenda.
"And as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and I showed clearly in our campaigns, when you run on principle and excite the grass-roots Republicans, and Independents and even Democrats hungry for a change, you win. That's why I support Greg Brannon, and expect him to be North Carolina's next Senator," Paul concluded. Full annoucement here.
A joint Hagan fundraising committee with the N.C. Democratic Party raised another $255,000 for her effort, posting $244,000 in the bank.
Republican Thom Tillis has not released his campaign reports. But he said in an email he will have more than $800,000 cash on hand to seven months before the GOP primary.
Samuelson, 53, said she decided that a continued political career would take too much time from other passions, “philanthropy, faith and family.” She also plans to pursue business opportunities. “We realized that my current trajectory in the House ruled out a lot of other things that are more important to us,” she told the Observer. “We’ve got a lot of awesome opportunities. We wanted to be more intentional.”
Samuelson, who hadn’t hidden her desire to be the state’s first female speaker, plans to leave the House when her term ends after next year’s election. But the decision by the Republican Conference Leader creates another key vacancy in House leadership and deprives Republicans of a top fundraiser. Read more here.
Counties across North Carolina are facing difficult choices including the loss of money for subsidized child care, for feeding and nutrition programs for babies and their mothers, for child protection programs, and for money to pay social workers, officials said. “There are kids who are losing their child care today in counties,” said Sherry Bradsher, deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
But as state officials blamed Washington for the fraying social safety net, Democrats questioned why North Carolina has been so quick to cut off access to federal dollars. Read more here.
U.S. Reps. Renee Ellmers and Robert Pittenger, both Republicans, predicted the current political and fiscal mess and tried to tell their constituents that defunding the health care law by halting government operations was a bad idea. But then they voted for the shutdown anyway, facing intense pressure from conservative groups.
More than two weeks into the shutdown, few places exemplify the growing divide between House and Senate Republicans over strategy more than North Carolina, where diverse viewpoints and redistricting have intensified competing pressures on lawmakers. Read more here.
At issue is whether legislative cuts to the publicly funded pre-K program ran afoul of the state’s previous commitment to provide preschool for children at risk of failure in school.
The pre-K program, previously known as More at Four, was created in 2004 as a state response to court rulings in the long-running Leandro school quality lawsuit brought by poor counties. In the 19-year-old case, courts found that there is a constitutional right for all children to have a “sound, basic education.”
Tuesday’s oral arguments focused on whether the state has an obligation to provide public preschool to all low-income, at-risk North Carolina schoolchildren. For years, the state increased funding for the program, but in 2011, the legislature cut the program and placed limits on eligibility. Read more here.
The resolution, approved 6-3 along party lines, urges Gov. Pat McCrory to call the General Assembly into a special session to reverse its previous decision and expand the state’s Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act. Read more here.
“Wood, a Democrat, said Monday he is running "basically as a result of the legislation from the North Carolina General Assembly, especially as it relates to education and some of the other things that relate to voter suppression." Apodaca, who is a member of the leadership as the Senate Rules Committee chairman, said he welcomed an opponent.” Read more here.
John Lassiter, chairman of the N.C. Economic Development Board, told a crowd at the Charlotte Chamber’s quarterly economic development breakfast that Gov. Pat McCrory’s effort to refocus job recruitment efforts under a single statewide public-private agency is moving ahead, with a completed plan expected to roll out in January.
Many have questioned what that will mean for the seven existing smaller partnerships that currently serve different regions of the state. Read more here.
“Overnight,” he said, “North Carolina turned into Mississippi.” Read more here.