ON TAP TODAY: Gov. Pat likes his new digs. The new Republican governor starts his term with a cabinet meeting Monday morning at his new home, the Executive Mansion. McCrory had the cabinet to lunch at the mansion Saturday, too. The event is closed-door but McCrory will give a press conference later in the morning before heading to the mountains for his first stop on his statewide introduction tour.
Worth noting: McCrory's "open house" events require advance tickets. Free tickets but nonetheless.
***Welcome to the new DOME MORNING MEMO. This daily feature will serve as a tipsheet for the day in North Carolina politics -- previewing the next day's big story, breaking news that drives the political agenda and reviewing the latest dispatches from the state's political scribes. Consider it a nod to Dome's favorite D.C. morning briefings from the likes of Politico, NBC and TPM. It's an evolving product, so send tips, ideas, thoughts or even a better name to firstname.lastname@example.org. And thanks for reading. ***
MCCRORY AS A VOICE FOR THE NEW NATIONAL GOP? The New York Times gave Pat McCrory a national platform in a Sunday front page story about the new direction of the Republican Party and a nice photo. From the story: "Republicans have already demonstrated success in midterm elections, when fewer people vote, and in state elections for governorships and legislatures. In North Carolina, Pat McCrory, a Republican former mayor of Charlotte, was sworn in as governor on Saturday after waging a campaign that emphasized pragmatism over ideology. “My message remained a Republican message,” Mr. McCrory said, suggesting that national Republicans could learn a lesson from state politicians. “But I did it with a tone of problem solving. I did it with a tone of cooperation. I didn’t run one negative ad.”
NOT EXACTLY: McCrory likes saying he didn't run "one negative ad." It's true for TV ads but not the whole campaign because he issue a negative flier attacking his Democratic opponent and failed to denounce a million-dollar barrage of negative ads from his friends at the Republican Governors Association, despite his pledge earlier in the campaign to call out unfair ads.
MUST READ: The General Assembly returns to work for one day this week to prepare for a session that could bring about the most rapid and deep overhaul of state laws and policies in recent memory. More here.
DEMOCRATIC ANGER: State Rep. Deborah Ross, a Democrat on her party's role this legislative session: “Just because one party wins doesn’t meant everybody else goes into hibernation," she said. "There’s a lot of energy, and there’s a lot of anger.” Ross may be a lone voice. The state Democratic Party is, indeed, hibernating. McCrory finished his cabinet picks last week and took office Saturday without nary a word from the opposition party.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: 1. McCrory outlines his vision in inaugural address. Will he offer specifics or stick to the campaign platitudes 2. As he tours the state, what kind of reception does he receive? 3. The real important inaugural ball this year is not hosted by the Junior League, but rather a nonprofit that is promising access to the new governor. 4. The legislature begins to set the tone for the legislative session as lawmakers gather Wednesday in Raleigh. 5. The end-of-the-year campaign reports due Thursday will reveal what big money flowed into key races in the final days of the 2012 election.
OOPS: The new Republican governor bombed a comic routine last week and then couldn't say his transportation secretary's name right. (See previous Domes.) The latest (micro) gaffe: his website misspells his home county. In a list of open houses, the Wednesday event in Charlotte is schedule for the "Charlotte-Mecklenberg Government Center." Note to organizers: It's Mecklenburg.
PERSONNEL NOTE: At the state Department of Transportation, David Joyner retired as Turnpike Authority czar. Secretary Gene Conti, along with Joyner, are looking to do consulting. In one of her final acts, Gov. Bev Perdue appointed Pryor Gibson, her lobbyist and a former state representative, to fill a seat on the turnpike board. Gibson will succeed Charlotte attorney Anthony Foxx. Other moves in Perdue land: Pearse Edwards, communications director, will join CapStrat, a bigtime Raleigh PR agency, as vice president of public affairs. And Britt Cobb, chief of staff and longtime Democratic hand, retired Friday.
BIG NEWS: Dome wishes outgoing Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton a belated congratulations. At 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, he became a grandfather for the first time. Also: Welcome back to Kim Strach. The investigator at the State Board of Elections returns to work Monday from maternity leave. She and her husband Phil Strach, a GOP attorney, had a child in November.