As Congress voted Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and avoid a default, North Carolina’s Republican delegation was torn.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr voted for the measure in the Senate. In the House, Rep. George Holding of Raleigh voted against the bill because it failed to cut spending. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican from Dunn who in the past has supported the House leadership, said the bill to end the federal government shutdown didn’t have enough in it to cut spending and the president’s health care law, and so she also voted against it. Reps. Richard Hudson, Walter Jones, Mark Meadows and Virginia Foxx voted no. Other North Carolina Republicans saw it differently. Rep. Howard Coble of Greensboro voted yes, and so did Reps. Robert Pittenger and Patrick McHenry. All Democrats supported it, including Rep. Mike McIntyre.
The full delegation’s final score: nine for, six against.
***Read much more on G-Day, the day the shutdown ended, and get new polling numbers in the 2014 U.S. Senate race below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
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TODAY IN POLTICS: Gov. Pat McCrory will attend the Fidelity Investments grand opening in Research Triangle Park at 10 a.m.
N.C. DELEGATION REACTS TO THE VOTE:
Burr: “From the outset, I have been clear that I believed that defunding Obamacare by shutting down the federal government was unachievable,” Burr said in a statement. “The decision to shut down the government has been viewed, rightfully, by the American people as irresponsible governing.”
Holding: “If anyone had any doubt Washington politics are broken, look at what happened tonight: after ten months of deliberation Congress voted to borrow more. Not to cut spending,” Holding said in a statement after the vote. “And to repeat the same debt ceiling and Continuing Resolution process, we’ve just been through, in a few months. That is the culmination of broken politics.”
Ellmers: “There isn’t really enough in this bill for me to be for. It doesn’t take apart Obamacare in the way I wanted to. I really was looking for a delay in the individual mandate,” Ellmers said. “Conscience protections should be there, too,” she added, referring to language some conservatives seek that would protect physicians who refuse to provide abortions.
McINTYRE COMES BACK HOME: Rep. Mike McIntyre of Lumberton was one of the few Democrats who, over the past two weeks, had voted in favor of measures in the House to open parts of the government, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Most Democrats rejected that approach, calling for a full reopening instead.
On Wednesday before the vote, McIntyre put out a statement saying it was good that the country could avoid a default and reopen and called for more cooperation. Read full story here.
RICHARD BURR TAKES SWIPE AT DEFUND-REPUBLICANS: From the New York Times story on the fiscal deal -- “Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, took a swipe at Senators Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, as well as House members who linked further funding of the government to gutting the health care law, which is financed by its own designated revenues and spending cuts.
“Let’s just say sometimes learning what can’t be accomplished is an important long-term thing,” Mr. Burr said, “and hopefully for some of the members they’ve learned it’s impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government.”
“But while Mr. Cruz conceded defeat, he did not express contrition. “Unfortunately, the Washington establishment is failing to listen to the American people,” he said as he emerged from a meeting of Senate Republicans called to ratify the agreement. Read more here.
PAUL ENDORSEMENT REINFORCES SPLIT IN SENATE RACE: Sen. Rand Paul’s decision to support a long-shot candidate, instead of top-tier contenders House Speaker Thom Tillis and Charlotte pastor Mark Harris, exemplifies the split in the national Republican Party visible in Washington amid the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate. Brannon is catering to tea partiers. Tillis is drawing support from establishment Republicans. And Harris is attracting interest from conservative evangelicals.
“It confirms what we thought for a couple years now, that there are a lot of different belief systems going on in the Republican Party,” said David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University in Raleigh. “In North Carolina, the Senate race is just a reflection of what’s going on in Washington.”
The endorsement alone is unlikely to push Brannon to the front of the race for the GOP nomination, but he said it gives his candidacy credibility. “I think it will give us some true legitimacy and help us with fundraising and put a focus on our message … about who is sovereign and what is the legitimate role of the government,” he said in an interview.
Calling Paul a “liberty leader,” Brannon said he agrees with him and Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, “virtually on everything.” Brannon also expects Paul to come campaign in North Carolina. Paul’s spokesman did not return a message Wednesday. Read more here.
HERE FIRST -- NEW PPP POLL SHOWS REPUBLICANS UNDECIDED IN SENATE RACE: A new October poll from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, shows nearly half of Republican primary voters polled are still undecided about the race. In a hypothetical matchup, PPP found Tillis in the lead at 19 percent, with Harris, Brannon and Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant all clustered near 11 percent.
Tillis is the best known candidate but Republican primary voters are torn on him. The PPP poll found 18 percent favorable, 23 percent unfavorable and 59 with no opinion of Tillis. The poll has a +/- 4.2 percent margin of error. All the other candidates were unknown by at least 70 percent of those polled. It’s the first poll without Senate leader Phil Berger in the mix and Tillis saw his number jump from 12 percent a month ago with his legislative counterpart out of the game. Berger has a slight lead in the field when he was considering a bid.
Among those same Republican primary voters, 16 percent want Jeb Bush to be the party’s nominee for president in 2016 and 15 percent want Ted Cruz, the poll found.
HARRIS RAISES $128,000: Soon after stories appeared in September that Rev. Mark Harris would run for the U.S. Senate, the donations began flowing. More came after his announcement Oct. 2. His campaign announced to supporters Wednesday evening that it raised $128,000 and has about $90,000 cash on hand, an early jolt in a campaign that will need millions.
HEATHER GRANT CAMPAIGN UPDATE: From the candidate, a first-time candidate and Wilkesboro nurse: “Our approach until mid-October has been to get my name out to the voters and contacting local GOP and TEA Party groups. We have been focused on getting out to meet people and talking to anyone who wants to chat. We began actual fund raising mid-October when we began working with our fundraising and consulting group.”
CAN’T MISS PHOTO: The picture of Gov. Pat McCrory on the local front of today’s News & Observer is a can’t miss. He’s licking icing from a knife used to cut the cake at a community college celebration like an overjoyed little kid. It deserves a caption contest. Our best effort: “So this is what being governing tastes like.” Post your ideas in the comment section. See the photo here. And read the story from the event here.
A BIG EATER: U.S. Rep. George Holding’s third-quarter campaign finance report shows a fondness for fine dining. Read more here.
COLUMNIST BARRY SAUNDERS: Fund pre-K education for poor children. Read more here.
TEACHERS GROUP URGES AGAINST WALK OUT: The group representing Wake County’s teachers is urging educators to abandon a proposed Nov. 4 walk-out in favor of coming to work that day and meeting with the public to talk about ways to improve education.
Teachers across the state have been talking online about not showing up for work on Nov. 4 to protest issues such as low pay, loss of tenure and working conditions. But the Wake County chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators says teachers can have more of an impact if they have a walk-in as opposed to a walk-out on Nov. 4.
“Starting a community dialogue with parents on Nov. 4 is better than antagonizing them and overburdening administrators by walking out,” Larry Nilles, president of Wake NCAE, said Wednesday.
The walk-in appears to be building statewide momentum. Read more here.
LAWMAKERS URGE MERGER: More than 65 Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday urged President Obama and the Department of Justice to end their opposition to the US Airways and American Airlines merger. Read more here.
AG COMMISSIONER STEVE TROXLER’S BIG SHOW: What to expect from the State Fair. Read more here.
PERSONNEL FILE: Democratic operative Lachlan McIntosh has signed on to manage Laura Fjeld’s campaign. Fjeld is the Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Howard Coble of Greensboro. In 2012, McIntosh managed Democrat U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre’s improbable win in the state’s 7th District.