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In new Democratic polling, some state lawmakers looking vulnerable

The upheaval from the legislative session continues to reverberate as lawmakers look at what it did for their prospects in 2014. Voters are wavering, Republicans are openly discussing a course-correction next year and the N.C. Democratic Party is trying to capitalize. And now, it's showing in legislative district polls.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm based in Raleigh, recently looked at eight state Senate districts held by Republicans, finding two leaning Democrat and six more in the toss-up category. PPP pollster Tom Jensen writes that "the political landscape has shifted in such a way that Democrats have a lot more opportunities to eat into the Republican majority next year than could have ever been imagined even six months ago."


Wake lawmakers split on interstate loop bill

Moving to erase a law that has stopped progress on the next leg of the 540 Outer Loop, two Wake County House members filed a bill Wednesday to allow study of the Red Route option – which would bulldoze parks and neighborhoods in Garner.

But Garner’s new senator said he would oppose the legislation. “I can’t support a bill that will approve study of a route that we don’t intend to fund – and will go straight through the middle of one of the towns that I represent,” said Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Wake Forest Republican elected in November, whose district includes Garner. The bill was filed Wednesday by Reps. Paul Stam of Apex and Nelson Dollar of Cary, both Republicans. Barefoot is Stam's former legislative aide.

Wake County leaders and state Department of Transportation officials favor the Orange Route, south of Garner, as the path for extending the six-lane 540 Outer Loop expressway across southern Wake. A 2011 law forbids DOT to build or even study the Red Route. Read more here.

Barefoot tops $900k raised for state Senate race

UPDATED: Chad Barefoot is nothing if not solvent. Campaign filings released earlier this week show Barefoot, Republican candidate for state Senate from District 18, has raised more than $916,000 this election cycle. Most of it -- $817,000 -- came since July and most it from the state GOP.

Doug Berger, his Democratic opponent, who has raised just north of $260,000 this election cycle, said in email the spending makes the campaign the "most expensive state Senate race in North Carolina history."

Chad Barefoot's comical ad hits Doug Berger as a 'silly liberal'

First-time candidate Chad Barefoot debuted his first television commercial in his state Senate race with a tried-and-true jab at the legislative body he wants to join.

Barefoot mocks his rival, Democratic incumbent Doug Berger, for sponsoring legislation to regulate the use of barber poles in an ad featuring a circus tent and the label "clowning around."

Stam aide eyes state Senate seat

As an aide to the former House Republican leader, Chad Barefoot worked the halls of the legislative office building long enough to come to a realization: "I can do this."

Now Barefoot, 28, is a candidate for the new state Senate seat in District 18. "I come from a long line of public servants," he said. "I have always been passionate about helping people through public policy."

Barefoot worked as an aide for state Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam for six years, including the last three in Stam's legislative office as a policy analyst. He resigned his position at the end of November as he launched his first political bid. He is now the business development direction at Pioneer Strategies, a public relations firm run by Frank Williams.

The new district including Franklin County and parts of eastern Wake County, forming a reverse "c" that stretches from Rolesville through parts of Zebulon, Knightdale, Garner and Fuquay-Varina. Barefoot is a Thomasville native but his parents grew up in Garner. He now lives in Wake Forest.

State Rep. Glen Bradley, a Youngsville Republican, is also seeking the seat. Bradley's libertarian streak is legendary: He suggested that the state create its own currency and proposed removing the state from the certification of marriage.

The match-up makes for an interesting primary race given that Bradley, who has often bucked his party, faces the aide of the House GOP leader. Barefoot, however, says he isn't running as the establishment challenge to Bradley. He said he considered entering politics for a longtime and doesn't want to "tear down people in my own party to build myself up."

Barefoot, who received a graduate degree in Christian ethics from Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, is married to Paige Barefoot, an aide to House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell. Her mother is Tami Fitzgerald, a lobbyist who worked with Stam and Folwell to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ban gay marriage and civil unions.

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