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Obama goes up with new TV ad, a sign that it thinks the state is still close

The Obama campaign has gone up on the air in North Carolina and other key battleground states with a new TV ad featuring retired four-star General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsing the president's re-election.

What is interesting is that this is is the first new TV ad in recent days that the Obama ad has aired where North Carolina has been included in the rotation.

Asheboro's Pumpkin Chunkin Poll to predict election winner

Forget all the presidential polls you’ve been reading, the one to follow is annual Courier-Tribune Pumpkin Chunking Poll Thursday in Asheboro.

In the field behind a Harley-Davidson dealership, pumpkins painted with the faces of President Barack Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney will be sent flying through the air from a trebuchet armed with a pumpkin sling. The one that rolls the farthest wins the poll, and presumably the election.

Morning Roundup: Election officials seeing more voting complaints this year

After two weeks of early voting, there have been almost daily complaints about intimidation, aggressive campaigning and attempts to misinform voters.

While every presidential election has its share of discord, State Elections director Gary Bartlett said long lines and partisan tensions have led to an increased number of complaints to his office and to county election officials. Election officials are spending much of their debunking rumors. Full story here.

More political headlines:

--Democratic lawmaker Martha Alexander's race has become a magnet for money – not only from the Republican Party, but from outside groups. Now, it’s one of Mecklenburg’s two contested House races and one of about a dozen in the state that Republicans are targeting – and bankrolling – in hopes of increasing their House majority.

Romney campaign expect to win big in NC

Top strategists for Mitt Romney Wednesday expressed confidence that the GOP nominee would win North Carolina.

Rich Beeson, political director for the Romney campaign, said Democrat Barack Obama carried the state by 14,000 votes in 2008. But so far this year, Republicans had closed the absentee and early vote gap in North Carolina gap by over 100,000 votes.

Dalton files complaint against McCrory; Republican rejects 'desperate' charges

Democrat Walter Dalton's campaign filed a campaign finance complaint Wednesday alleging Pat McCrory didn't properly pay for campaign flights and whether it amounted to an illegal corporate contribution.

The Republican's campaign outright rejected the claims and provided documentation that it believes supports its claim. State elections chief Gary Bartlett said his agency received the complaint but the agency doesn't have time to investigate until after next week's election.

The Dalton complaint focuses on private flights for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to North Carolina for separate McCrory campaign events. 

McCrory continues to hold big lead

Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory is maintaining his large lead a week before the election, according to a new poll.

McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor, leads Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton by a 50-39 percent margin, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh. Libertarian candidate Barbara Howe is polling at 4 percent.

McCrory has a a 62-34 favorability rating and winning over 24 percent of the Democratic vote, according to the poll. The survey of 730 likely voters was conducted Oct. 29-31 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.

Joe Scarborough vows to grow a mustache if Obama wins North Carolina

Morning Joe's Joe Scarborough bet Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod he would grow a mustache if the president wins North Carolina or Florida.

The on-air boast was designed to match a bet Axelrod made moments earlier, promising to "shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose" Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota. (Starts at 5 minutes into video.)

"Alright!" Axelrod said in taking Scarborough's bet. "After the election you guys aren't going to have that much to talk about so people can tune in everyday to watch your mustache grow."

Gov. Perdue refunds donors, gives $250K to party; $1.26 million remains

As noted in today's story, Gov. Bev Perdue is still sitting on $1.26 million as her would-be Democratic successor struggled to raise money. More details from her report:

Perdue started the year with $2 million. Since July, she directed $250,000 to the state Democratic Party and refunded $243,000 to individual donors. A campaign aide said she also gave $4,000 to Dalton, but the donation is not reflected in the records.

Dwane Powell's election house of horror

Dwane Powell, the N&O's editorial cartoonist for 35 years until his retirement in 2009, returns today to escort us on a Halloween tour of the elections.

An excerpt to the right.

See the full cartoon in a downloadable PDF file here.

Inside the money reports: Gov. Christie's expensive flight, Dalton's meager haul

Inside the cash reports for Pat McCrory and Walter Dalton, the extent of the Republican's money advantage is readily apparent. A breakdown of the numbers:

McCrory raised most his money this campaign cycle from Mecklenburg County -- $2 million, more than double any other county. He also raised more than $730,000 from out-of-state donors, a total that exceeded his haul from most North Carolina counties combined.

It came in bunches with more than $1 million generated in just one three day period at the end of September.

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