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McCrory finalizes his cabinet, picked ousted Wake leader as DOT head

Gov.-elect Pat McCrory named former Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata as his secretary of transportation Thursday. He was one of four picks McCrory announced to complete his cabinet two days before he takes the oath. He also named Sharon Decker as his commerce secretary, former Republican state Rep. Bill Daughtridge to lead the Department of Administration and Neal Alexander as his personnel director. Read more here.

House GOP Caucus begins staffing up

Former state Rep. Bill Daughtridge of Rocky Mount has been named interim chief of staff during the transition period for the House Republicans by incoming Speaker Thom Tillis.
     Daughtridge, a three-term lawmaker, and was the Republican nominee for  state treasurer in 2008 losing to Democrat Janet  Cowell.
     “Bill has already hit the ground running by participating in meetings with Speaker (Joe) Hackney and House majority leaders,” Tillis said in an email to GOP lawmakers.
      Daughtridge is president of the Daughtridge Corp. of Rocky Mount, a family owned company started by his grandfather that delivers propane and fuel oil in Eastern North Carolina.
     He has a BA and and MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar.
     Dodie Renfer has also been hired as director of member services for the House transition team. Renfer had served as political director for the state Republican Party the past 15 months.
    The new spokesman for the transition is Jordan Shaw, who had been communications director for the state Republican Party. He will handle “talking points on key issues” for GOP lawmakers as well as handling press inquires.
     Shaw had previously worked three years for the Virginia state legislature, before moving to North Carolina in 2008.

House elects UNC board members

Eight members of the UNC Board of Governors were elected today by the state House.

Re-elected to the board were: Dudley Flood, a public speaker and educational consultant from Raleigh; Charles Mercer, Jr., a Raleigh attorney; Fred Mills, Sr., a Raleigh construction executive; Dr. Al Roseman, an endodontist from Wilmington; and David Young of Asheville, an Asheville business owner and chairman of the state Democratic Party.

New members elected were: Walter Davenport, a Raleigh accountant and trustee chairman at Elizabeth City State University; Bill Daughtridge, a Rocky Mount businessman and former House member; and James Deal Jr., a Boone attorney and trustee at Appalachian State University.

The Senate voted on its slate of eight members last month. The UNC Board of Governors makes policy and sets tuition at the state's 16 public universities and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics in Durham.

More UNC board candidates

The slate of UNC Board of Governors candidates on the House side includes two players from the political world.

Among the 11 names nominated are Bill Daughtridge, a Republican former legislator and candidate for state treasurer, and David Young, chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party and who ran in the Democratic primary for state treasurer. Young is currently a member of the UNC board, which makes policy for the state's university system.

Though the board is elected through a political process, its members try to stay away from politics during board discussions.

The House is scheduled to elect eight members on April 1. The Senate is scheduled to vote on its slate today.

Besides Daughtridge and Young, other nominees on the House side are: current UNC board members Dudley Flood, Charles Mercer, Fred Mills and Irvin Roseman; and Walter Davenport, James Deal, Joel Harbinson, George Rountree and former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard.

Cowell: Voters wanted pension protected

Treasurer-elect Janet Cowell said that in an election year marked by change, voters wanted a treasurer who would do more of the same.

"What they're looking for is continued conservative management, so I think the treasurer was a little different," said Cowell, a Democratic state Senator who defeated Republican state Rep. Bill Daughtridge.

Cowell said that women are now running state departments that deal with finance (treasurer and auditor). "I think it shows that women have made strides in those industries," she said. 

GOP files complaint against Cowell

The state Republican Party is filing a complaint with the N.C. State Ethics Commission against state Sen. Janet Cowell over allegations that she used her state office for campaign business.

A former staffer for Cowell said that she had members of her staff contact a Dell computer lobbyist to fix a campaign laptop, Mark Johnson reports.  And the manager of her campaign for state Treasurer exerted influence over her official duties to benefit her campaign.

Cowell faces Republican state Rep. Bill Daughtridge in the race for Treasurer.

State Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Daves said the incidents should give voters pause about Cowell. 

"The State Treasurer is entrusted with state pensions and must have integrity that is beyond reproach," Daves said.

Cowell dismissed the claims as a last-minute, partisan attack.

"I am shocked and disappointed that a disgruntled former employee who resigned half a year ago would make unfounded and untrue allegations three days before an election. These unfounded and untrue allegations are now being used in a desperate, last minute partisan attack," she said in a statement. "We have looked into the matter and feel confident that everything possible was done to ensure that there was a clear separation between the campaign and Senate staffs."

How Daughtridge, Cowell compare

How is fundraising going in the treasurer's race?

Campaign finance reports from both Republican nominee Bill Daughtridge and Democrat Janet Cowell are in from the second quarter.

Here's a breakdown of the numbers:

Fundraising: Since the beginning of their campaigns, Daughtridge has raised $244,348 while Cowell has raised $663,403, more than two and a half times as much. Neither has loaned or given their campaign cash. Advantage: Cowell.  

Cash on Hand: At the end of the second quarter, Daughtridge had $74,152 on hand, while Cowell had $197,133, again more than two and a half times as much. Cowell again has the advantage, although neither has enough for a serious TV campaign.

Spending: Daughtridge spent $44,788 in the second quarter, while Cowell spent $71,890. She is spending more on campaign staffers and had an $18,000 TV ad buy in the primary, but sometimes you have to spend money to make it.

Unlike the race for governor and Senate, this one will not be fought primarily on television, if only for the fact that neither candidate has enough cash to do it.

That means a lot of trench warfare: Mailers, campaign appearances and a strong campaign machine.

As a state senator and a former Raleigh City Councilwoman, Cowell has a good base of supporters and the trappings of a good campaign. So far, she's bringing in enough money to keep it humming, giving her a strong advantage heading into the fall.

Daughtridge raised $244k by end of June

Bill DaughtridgeBill Daughtridge received $244,348 in contributions by the end of June.

The Republican nominee for state treasurer received $48,703 in the second quarter of the year, according to his most recent campaign finance report.

Major donors included Cary attorney Brent Barringer, Rocky Mount businessman Nick Boddie, Raleigh Realtor Carolyn Grant, Greenville businessman Julian White Rawl, Golden Corral President Billy Sewell and N.C. Museum of Art Director Larry Wheeler.

He also received money from the N.C. Utility Contractors PAC and the N.C. Petroleum and Convenience Marketers PAC.

At the same time, he spent $44,788, leaving him with $74,152 in cash on hand.

Daughtridge doppelgänger

Daughtridge double

State Rep. Bill Daughtridge carries a life-sized cardboard photograph of himself around the General Assembly. The Rocky Mount Republican is running for state treasurer and will not return. Sending him off today, his colleagues joked that they would keep the two-dimensional Daughtridge as a memento. (Photo by Chris Seward)

Offshore drilling bill sent to committee

A state bill urging Congress to consider offshore drilling in North Carolina has been sent to committee.

The House resolution had been sponsored by Republican leader Paul Stam and Reps. Bill McGee and Dale Folwell of Forsyth County and Carolyn Justice of New Hanover County. It had 41 cosponsors, all Republicans, including state Treasurer candidate Bill Daughtridge.

The bill was mostly symbolic and would not have allowed drilling in North Carolina.

After a series of clauses saying that offshore drilling would reduce gas prices and "promote economic growth and prosperity," the bill calls for the Congressional delegation to support a bill that would end the moratorium on drilling.

The bill had its first reading today, but Speaker Joe Hackney sent it to the Rules Committee.

The move gives Hackney the latitude to revive the bill at any time or let it die in committee before the session ends.

Clarification: An earlier version of this post misused the word "tabled." Hackney's spokesman Bill Holmes says the bill has just been sent to committee and may yet be heard on the House floor.

"To say it's been tabled at this point is premature," he said.

But he would not say that the bill will definitely make it out of committee and be voted on by House members as a whole.

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