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Legislative spat over Durham development yields public hearing

The Durham development called 751 South has again divided the legislature. This time, it took the form of a fight between the House Rules chairman and a House Finance co-chairwoman. Finance won going away, in a 75-36 vote.

That means a public hearing on the bill requiring Durham to annex land for the controversial subdivision is on for 4 p.m. Monday.

Rep. Julia Howard, successfully argued to Senate Bill 315 transferred back to her Finance Committee after it had been moved to Rep. Tim Moore's Rules Committee.

Howard said Finance had decided to hold a public hearing, so it wouldn't be right to move the bill.

North Carolina's cameo in Michelle Obama's video

Nine-year-old Will Cunningham's friends at school don't believe him when he tells them about his summer.

But now he has video proof. Will, the son of former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, and his sister Caroline, 10, met First Lady Michelle Obama in a private event in the Raleigh backyard of state Rep. Grier Martin. The Aug. 1 private visit was featured in the eight minute video introducing Obama at the Democratic convention Tuesday night. (Click below for video. 3:33 mark)

In the final week, the sausage making gets messy

It's the final week at the N.C. General Assembly. And the sausage/law-making is getting messy.

Take the House Rules Committee meeting just before session. 

Republican Chairman Tim Moore of Kings Mountain amended Senate bill 382 to include a provision that will primarily benefit a Durham developer. (Read more about it here.) What's his interest? Moore said he thinks fairness is important. Pressed again, he said Cal Cunningham, a former Democratic state senator and the developer's attorney, approached him about it. The two are old college buddies from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Democratic Party forms search committee to find new leader

The N.C. Democratic Party has begun a process to replace Executive Director Jay Parmley, who resigned Sunday after allegations surfaced about the sexual harassment of a party staffer and a secret financial settlement.

But it sounds like the process of finding a replacement -- which is especially important with North Carolina as a battleground state in this election -- won't happen immediately.

David Parker, the embattled party chairman, who is facing calls for his resignation, sent an email to party officials Tuesday naming a search committee that includes the eventual winner of the May 8 Democratic primary for governor. 

Cal Cunningham decides against bid for state's No. 2 post

Cal Cunningham, a former U.S. Senate candidate, will not seek the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Cunningham issued a statement Monday saying he is too busy to launch a statewide campaign so late in the game.

"Elizabeth and I did not plan for a campaign this year," Cunningham said in a statement. "After careful reflection, I've concluded we cannot balance our existing professional, financial and family commitments with the full time demands of a statewide campaign at this late hour.  The only responsible decision under present circumstances is not to run."

The campaign is wide open after Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton decided to seek the Democratic nomination for governor after the departure of Gov. Bev Perdue from the race.

Democrats eye lieutenant governor's race

UPDATED: Amid the Democratic scramble in the governor's race, another tier of political names are considering a bid to replace Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton in the state's No. 2 post.

Dalton announced Thursday he would seek the governor's mansion. Among the Democratic names being mentioned as possible candidates: former U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham (see below), Sen. Don Vaughn of Greensboro, Sen. Malcolm Graham of Charlotte and former U.S. Senate candidate Ken Lewis. Former state Rep. Linda Coleman is also exploring a run and expects to make a decision next week.

Cal Cunningham considering bid for lieutenant governor

Cal Cunningham, a former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, is considering a bid for lieutenant governor after Walter Dalton announced plans to run for governor.

Cunningham issued a statement late Thursday saying he is "actively having conversations" about a potential campaign. Read his full statement below:

On camera: Cal Cunningham on Afghanistan, Democrats chances in 2012

Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham returned two weeks ago from an Army Reserve tour in Afghanistan as legal counsel to a Fort Bragg special forces unit. In an interview Friday, Cunningham sized up the war in Afghanistan, Gov. Bev Perdue's chances for re-election, Democrats chances of taking back control of the legislature and the political landscape facing President Barack Obama in 2012.

Cunningham, who lost in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary to Elaine Marshall, remained coy about his political future -- though he acknowledges a likely run for office again in the future. For the time being, expect to see Cunningham as a surrogate for Obama and a promoter for other party allies running next year.

Cal Cunningham off to Afghanistan

Cal Cunningham, a former state senator who lost a U.S. Senate primary last year, is heading to Afghanistan, reports Charlotte Observer staff writer Jim Morrill.

Four years ago, the Lexington Democrat, a lawyer in the Army Reserve, deployed to Iraq. A senior prosecutor, he worked out of one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces.

In Afghanistan, he'll be one of two lawyers working with a special operations task force and doing “Village Stability Operations.” He writes about the new deployment on his blog.

He'll leave his wife and two children in Lexington, including the daughter born after Sept. 11, 2001.

"We were pregnant with Caroline on that horrifying September day ten years ago," he wrote. "If I can play some small role in helping make a world safer for her and for Will – and their generation – the time will be worth it. Given the stakes for our country, I am compelled to try."
 
Last year Cunningham lost a Democratic Senate primary runoff to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Marshall dons sneakers and heads into Durham neighborhoods

DURHAM – Democratic Senate candidate Elaine Marshall, donning sneakers, was knocking on doors this afternoon in Durham before heading out to the State Fairgrounds.

Before heading into the neighborhoods to canvass, she gave a pep talk about about 40 volunteers who gathered behind the Southbank building in downtown Durham.

“This election is about who you are going to stand up for: whether you are going to stand up for middle class.. or are you going to to up there for the millionaires and billionaires who ship jobs overseas again and again,” Marshall said.

She was joined by her former Democratic primary opponent, Durham attorney Ken Lewis. Earlier in the day, she was introduced at the Orange County Democratic Party breakfast by another former rival, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Richard Burr was working his way toward the Triangle holding rallies in Fayetteville and Goldsboro. He will be in Five County Stadium tonight in Zebulon.

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