Another women’s group is entering the U.S. Senate fray on behalf of incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan.
EMILY’s List debuts a new television advertisement Monday that attacks Republican candidate Thom Tillis for cutting money for education while preserving tax breaks for the wealthy. (See it below.)
It represents a significant commitment from the organization, which backs women candidates through its Women Vote project, and demonstrates the liabilities for Tillis as he moves to finalize a budget with the state Senate.
The 30-second spot features a pregnant Raleigh teacher who feels the financial pinch from buying supplies for an increasingly crowded classroom.
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An announcer says Tillis cut $500 million from education (in the 2013 budget he supported) and makes the connection to the teacher’s classroom situation. It also notes that the Republican tax overhaul kept a sales tax break for people who buy yachts and jets.
The kicker: “It just doesn’t seem right for the kids,” the teacher says.
Republicans contend Democrats criticism of education funding is misleading and the ad lacks context about the broader education spending. It also shows how opponents may use the budget Republicans are writing now against Tillis in the Senate campaign.
The outside group’s ad is running in the state’s three largest media markets – Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro – on broadcast and cable stations through the end of June. EMILY’s List wouldn’t release a total cost on the buy, except to say it is a “significant, upper six-figure buy.” It is part of a $3 million campaign the organization will fund to help re-elect Hagan.
Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood announced it would spend the same amount to boost Hagan, calling North Carolina its No. 1 priority.
Hagan is one of four southern Democratic women on the ballot this fall in key races that could tilt the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
*** A new Senate forecast doesn’t show good news for Hagan. The Tillis campaign launches a new initiative. And trouble for the House budget plan. All below in the Dome Morning Memo. ***
TODAY IN POLTICS: Gov. Pat McCrory did not release a public calendar for Monday.
The Senate will draw most the attention Monday. Republicans leaders are introducing a bill to toughen coal ash regulation and putting it to a hearing at 3 p.m. in room 643 LOB. (See a preview below.)
The chamber convenes a full session at 7 p.m. to consider a full calendar. The House is not meeting Monday.
The Moral Monday protest starts at 5 p.m. A judge suspended some building rules Friday (see below) so how they conduct themselves will be a point to watch.
PREVIEW – SENATE INTRODUCES COAL ASH BILL: From Senate leader Phil Berger’s office: “Building on the foundation proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca and Senate Leader Phil Berger on Monday introduced a comprehensive and aggressive plan for coal ash mitigation that would give North Carolina the strictest regulations on coal ash in the country and make it the first state to force the closure of all coal ash ponds.” Look for more at newsobserver.com later today.
#NCSEN – The headlines from the U.S. Senate campaign trail.
HAGAN HAS A 57% CHANCE OF LOSING – The New York Times forecasting model for the U.S. Senate puts the North Carolina race in “competitive” category (one of nine states) but says Hagan has a 57 percent chance of losing.
It represents the worst prognostication for Hagan compared to a handful of others that list it at even or a tossup.
Check out the details and roll the dice on who gets control in November here.
TILLIS PAINTS HAGAN AS OBAMA’S PEN PAL: Tillis’ campaign is launching a new website Monday that casts rival Kay Hagan as a “pen pal” to President Barack Obama and Harry Reid.
It details all the letters the Democrat wrote to the administration on hot-button issues such as voter ID, health care and environmental regulations. The campaign suggests the letters are designed to mask her votes and other statements on the issues.
The spin: “Kay Hagan thinks she can erase the fact she votes with President Obama’s liberal agenda 95 percent of the time by sitting down and writing letters backtracking from her failed partisan record,” said Tillis campaign manager Jordan Shaw. “The reality is that North Carolinians want a proven leader and problem solver like Thom Tillis, not a part-time pen pal and full-time rubber stamp for President Obama and Harry Reid’s destructive policies that are crushing middle-class families and small businesses.”
THE NEXT CAMPAIGN ATTACK LINE: Expect Democrats to pick up on this headline for the fall campaign: N.C. tax law changes to raise power bills in July. Read more here.
IN SBI FIGHT, A THREAD FOR THE SENATE RACE: From Rob Christensen – In 2009, Hagan showed her independence by allowing a conservative Republican prosecutor to stay on the job to continue investigating two of the state’s most prominent Democrats. It is not far-fetched to say that the investigations and publicity damaged the Democrats and helped Republicans gain control of state government.
Now we will see how the Republicans handle a similar question. Read more here.
SENATE RACE SPENDING TOPS $100 MILLION – Hits $25 million in North Carolina; GOP outspends Dems here: From The Washington Post – Democrats, Republicans and the outside groups funding massive television blitzes have spent more than $100 million on television time to air general-election ads in battleground states critical to winning control of the Senate, according to public documents filed with television stations nationwide.
The two sides have bought or reserved more than $116 million since the beginning of January, those documents show. ...
The race for a North Carolina seat held by Sen. Kay Hagan (D) has drawn the most attention, those documents show. Since the beginning of the year, Republicans have spent more than $13 million on the contest, while Democrats have dropped $11 million to defend the senator. ... Tillis and his allies spent a few million dollars getting him through the May 6 primary, but most of the GOP’s money has gone toward attacking Hagan.
The North Carolina numbers: Republicans outspent Democrats by $1,591,021. Democrats spent:: $11,815,533. Republicans spent: $13,406,554. The grand total so far: $25,222,087. Read more here.
HEADLINES – The Economist: America’s Republicans are a big success and a worrying mess, from Charlotte and Washington. Read more here. NYT: Obama mocks lawmakers who deny climate change. Read more here. Washington Post: Republicans come out of the 2014 primary season with little to guide them forward. Read more here.
#NCGA – A roundup of news from the N.C. General Assembly.
CARTOON: The lottery gambit. See it here.
THE BIG STORY FROM SATURDAY – Officials warned before House vote that lottery estimate was not accurate: The House budget that won approval Friday overestimates how much lottery money the state is expected to receive, documents show, jeopardizing Republicans’ plan to increase teacher pay.
The N.C. Education Lottery warned legislative staffers that the House’s plan to boost lottery sales by doubling the advertising budget would generate only $59 million next year – far less than the $106 million designated in the budget.
It is outlined in a fiscal memo sent to legislative staffers before the House voted Thursday and Friday to approve the $21.1 billion spending plan.
The documents, obtained by The News & Observer, show that the House’s projection didn’t take into account language in the bill eliminating lottery advertising at college sporting events and restricting the description about jackpot payouts. The lottery commission suggests the limits would cost them $47 million in sales.
State Rep. Nelson Dollar, the lead House budget writer, would not say whether he saw the projection before the House vote. Read more here.
THREE KEY LEGISLATIVE BUILDING RULES SUSPENDED BY JUDGE: A judge in Wake County Superior Court on Friday agreed to temporarily suspend some of the new rules for the N.C. Legislative Building.
Judge Carl Fox, an Orange County judge presiding in Wake County this week, made the ruling after hearing arguments from attorneys for the NAACP and the special deputy attorney generals representing the state.
Fox said a rule stating that visitors to the legislative complex “may not disturb or act in a manner that will imminently disturb” the General Assembly, its members, committees or staff, was overly broad. Read more here.
LAWMAKERS RUSH BILL IN RESPONSE TO SCOTUS: State lawmakers are rushing through a bill that would counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that potentially hobbled groundwater contamination lawsuits by families at Camp Lejeune and in an Asheville neighborhood. Read more here.
#NCPOL --- More political news from North Carolina.
SUBPOENAS ISSUED IN COAL ASH INVESTIGATION: Federal prosecutors in North Carolina have issued a new subpoena in their ongoing criminal investigation into the massive coal ash spill at a Duke Energy power plant.
The grand jury subpoena delivered to the N.C. Utilities Commission on Friday directs the agency’s staff to provide additional records involving the two coal ash dumps at Duke’s Dan River Steam Station in Eden. A pipe running under one of the dumps collapsed Feb. 2, triggering a spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge. Read more here.
NEW GAS PIPELINE MAY DAMPEN INTEREST IN FRACKING: North Carolina could soon be deluged with cheap and abundant natural gas from the Marcellus Shale through a major pipeline expansion that could dampen urgency to incubate a home-grown fracking industry. ...
The prospects for local shale-gas exploration, which is under moratorium until 2015 in North Carolina, are less clear. Access to an interstate pipeline could reduce barriers to entry for local energy exploration, but local fracking operators still may not be able to compete with established upstream producers.
“This will impede exploration in North Carolina,” said Mark Bridgers, a pipeline construction consultant and principal with Continuum Advisory Group in Raleigh. “Simply building a pipeline doesn’t get around the fact that most of the other infrastructure doesn’t exist.” Read more here.
N.C. DEFERS FOR A YEAR ON ONE OF HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS KEY FEATURES: New York Times – When it set the final rules implementing small-business health insurance exchanges for next year, the federal government gave states the option of taking a one-year pass on one of the exchanges’ most attractive features: the opportunity for small-business employees to choose among a variety of health plans. This week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 18 states would in fact defer employee choice until 2016. Read more here.
BUZZFEED OBSESSION WITH HOWARD COBLE CONTINUES: Why Everyone In D.C. Should Start Dressing Like This 83-Year-Old Congressman. Read more here.
RICHARD HUDSON FOR DEPUTY MAJORITY WHIP? From National Journal: Rep. Steve Scalise, the Louisianan who chairs the powerful Republican Study Committee, emerged from the weekend the same way he went in – ahead of the pack. ... Behind him is Rep. Peter Roskam, the chief deputy whip from Illinois. ...
Over the weekend two of the candidates were said to have chosen a partner. Roskam, according to sources, has unofficially tapped Rep. Richard Hudson as his running mate ... Hudson, from North Carolina, is known to be to Roskam’s right. Read more here.
MORE: North Carolina U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry is key in the Scalise team. Read more here.
QUICK LOOK – More headlines from across the state.
N.C. A&T researchers find a “miracle material” that uses coal ash. Read more here.
In first, N.C. to use drone to explore state historic site. Read more here.
LEGO gets a Moral Monday theme. Read more here.
O’Connor: Phil Berger shows the civil approach. Read more here.
N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller: McCrory, cronies sold out to fracking. Read more here.
Pay for North Carolina CEOs rises 14 percent. Read more here.
N.C. appellate court helps remedy federal inquiry of state’s employment agency. Read more here.
Judge rules against N.C. alienation of affection law. Read more here.