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Cherie Berry says she won't run for U.S. Senate

AP: North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry says she will pass on a chance to run for Kay Hagan's U.S. Senate seat next year because she does not want to leave the state and loves her current job.

Berry told The Associated Press on Wednesday that many people had asked her to consider challenging Hagan but even more wanted her to stay where she is. The Catawba County Republican was first elected labor commissioner in 2000 and is now in her fourth term.

Berry is one of several Republicans who've been considering whether to challenge Hagan, the Democratic incumbent. Berry has statewide name recognition in part because the inspection paperwork that every elevator must display includes her photo. Cary physician Greg Brannon is the only Republican who's publicly entered the race.

Berry and Hagan pull even in '14 Senate race

Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry runs even with Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in a new poll.

Berry and Hagan are tied at 45 percent in a potential 2014 match-up, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

In the GOP primary to be held next May, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx(15 percent) is in a virtual tie with Berry (14 percent.)” Following them is Senate leader Phil Berger and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, each with 10 percent, physician Greg Bannon with 7 percent, House Speaker Thom Tillis with 6 percent, former ambassador Jim Cain with 4 percent, Mark Harris and Lynn Wheeler each with 3 percent.

None of the potential Republican candidates are very well known across the state, according to the poll.

Hagan leads all potential GOP foes with Berry her strongest opponent

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan continues to lead all of her potential GOP opponents, with Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry remaining her strongest opponent, according to a new poll.

Hagan would beat Berry by a 46-41 percent margin, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Hagan would defeat Congresswoman Renee Ellmers by a 48-40 margin and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx and stateSenate leader Phil Berger by a 48-39 percent margin, according to the po9ll. She would defeat House Speaker Thom Tillis by a 49-39 percent margin and Cary physician Greg Brannon by a 49-36 percent margin.

The poll shows that Hagan has lost little support since she announced her support for gay marriage. Her job approval was 39 percent and disapproval was 37 percent,

compared to a month ago when it was 42 percent approval and 39 percent disapproval.

In the Republican primary, the field is wide open. Berry leads among GOP voters with 18 percent followed by Foxx with 13 percent, Ellmers with 12 percent, Berger with 11 percent, Tillis with 7 percent, Brannon with 6 percent and 1 percent for Terry Embler.

The survey of 601 voters was conducted April 11-14 and had a margin of error of 4 percent. The subset of 468 Republican voters for the primary question had a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest new potential leader in 2014 Senate poll

"Another month, another frontrunner" -- that's how Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen described the latest U.S. Senate numbers in North Carolina.

As previewed in the Morning Memo, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest leads the potential GOP field with 18 percent, according to the March poll from the Democratic firm. When Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry landed at the top of the heap in February poll, she went public saying she was looking at the U.S. Senate race. Forest? His office has yet to return a message from early this morning seeking comment. Even though he narrowly squeaked out a victory in November, his political views would put him in a good position for a GOP primary. (See the full PPP results here.)

A Hagan-Berry shoot out in 14?

Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry leads potential Republican challengers to Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, according to a new poll.

Berry leads a potential field of Republicans with 18 percent, followed by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx with 16 percent among GOP voters, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Rounding out the Republican field, U.S. Reps. Renee Ellmers and Patrick McHenry have 10 percent, state Senate leader Phil Berger has 7 percent, with 5 percent going to Greg Brannon, 3 percent for US. Rep. George Holding and and House Speaker Thom Tillis and 1 percent for Terry Embler.

Hagan leads all possible nine Republican opponents by margins of five to 15 points.

Pat McCrory plays stand up comic, mocks his new city

Pat McCrory, don't quit your new day job. The governor-elect started his speech at the Economic Forecast Forum on Wednesday playing the part of stand up comedian but bumbled the jokes. (Listen to the audio below.)

He walked to the podium with a list hitting at the Capital City -- fitting with Charlotte residents thinking that their city is really the center of the state's universe, if not the entire Eastern Seaboard.

The setup: Since being elected, McCrory said he's "learning the Raleigh ways." ("Because I'm an outsider," he explained, trying to perpetuate his campaign mantra.)

His first Raleigh joke: "The definition of an elevator in a state government building really means take the stairs," he said to mixed laughter.

Morning Roundup: Goldman-Malone entanglement may impact election

Fallout from the entanglement of Wake County school board members Debra Goldman and Chris Malone will likely affect both this fall’s elections and the work of the panel, analysts and public figures said Sunday.

Malone said he and Goldman had a “very heated” physical relationship. Goldman said she rebuffed his romantic advances. Andy Taylor, an N.C. State University political expert, said it will hurt both Goldman’s and Malone’s campaigns, but especially Goldman’s. “The auditor is supposed to be keeping people in government honest, trying to protect the public’s interests and promoting transparency,” Taylor said. Read more here and another story about the repeated police calls to Goldman's home.

More political headlines:

--Middle class couples like Sarah and Stephen Geis of Charlotte see the presidential election's impact on children.

Cherie Berry embraces her Elevator Queenhood in new TV ad

Republican Cherie Berry is embracing her moniker as the Elevator Queen.

A new TV ad posted to her campaign website this week shows her talking from her picture inside the elevator. The 15-second spot starts with the sound of an elevator and touts workplace safety.

Atkinson, Marshall, Goodwin and Berry up in poll

In the race for Council of State seats, incumbents are showing substantial leads, according to a new poll.

Democratic incumbent June Atkinston was leading Republican John Tedesco by a 44-34 percent margin, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Candidates court agriculture business leaders

Politicians seeking state office were swarming all over the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham Monday night, taking advantage of a daylong forum hosted by the NC Agribusiness Council to press their talking points.

The event included a couple receptions and symposiums – how to grow an agribusiness and planning for the future – and a forum where candidates were asked a series of four questions on agribusiness buffered by a few minutes of spin.

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