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Thom Tillis adds top fundraisers, political staff

U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis announced his top fundraisers Thursday, adding familiar North Carolina names to his campaign.

Former Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner, former Ambassador Dave Phillips, Bob Ingram and Harry Smith will lead the House speaker's finance team. Tillis will need to raise big bucks to win the four-way (for now) Republican primary and compete with incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan, who has a large campaign war chest.

Fix the Debt campaign makes another pitch

The North Carolina chapter of the national Fix the Debt campaign reacted Wednesday to the last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff, but vowed to keep up the pressure on politicians in Washington to come up with a long-term solution.

In a teleconference with reporters, co-chairman Bob Ingram, the retired CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, and Mary-Ann Baldwin from the Raleigh City Council, continued the effort begun in November when the group kicked off its campaign. Fix the Debt is a national effort promoting a way out of the federal debt by building on recommendations from the Simpson-Bowles commission.

National debt debate comes to North Carolina

A couple of former governors, a mayor and business executives will be on hand Tuesday when The Campaign to Fix the Debt comes to Raleigh.

Erskine Bowles and former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson started the national, bipartisan campaign to bring public pressure to lower the national debt.

Former governors Jim Hunt and Jim Holshouser, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, former GlaxoSmithKline CEO Bob Ingram, and Clear Defense CEO Tonya Cockman will be at the campaign's North Carolina launch.

Key legislators, business leaders on UNC strategic planning group

UNC system leaders have formed a broad advisory group that will help shape the future of the state's public universities.

Serving on the planning group are UNC chancellors, UNC board members, education leaders, business leaders and GOP leaders in the legislature -- House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger.

The appointments were announced this morning by UNC President Tom Ross and Peter Hans, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors.

Burr headed to Afghanistan

Republican Sen. Richard Burr is heading to Afghanistan later this week.

News of the trip was disclosed at an economic conference Monday morning in Durham by Bob Ingram, a close friend of Burr, who introduced the senator, a Republican from Winston-Salem. No details of the trip were immediately available.

The Burr trip comes at a critical time when the administration of President Barack Obama is deciding whether to increase the U.S. troop commitment to that country to fight the Taliban.

Democratic insiders embrace Dalton

Walter DaltonState Sen. Walter Dalton raised more than $100,000 in Raleigh Wednesday night in his race for lieutenant governor.

The event, held at the home of Wallace and Jeanette Hyde, a former U.S. ambassador, showed Dalton's support among the Democratic establishment, Rob Christensen reports.

The event included glowing comment from Senate boss Marc Basnight, who called Dalton "a forward thinking leader."

Among the sponsors were Sen. Vernon Malone, Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson, Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik, BlueCross/BlueShield CEO Bob Greczyn, former Lt. Gov. Bob Jordan, UNC benefactor Walter Davis, former N&O publisher Frank Daniels Jr., former Glaxo CEOs Bob Ingram and Charlie Sanders, and former state Democratic chairs Tom Hendrickson and Betty McCain and Barbara Allen.

The other Democrats running for lieutenant governor are Durham lawyer Hampton Dellinger, Winston-Salem Councilman Dan Besse, and Canton Mayor Pat Smathers.

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