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McCrory's former political director starting lobbying firm

From 2008 to 2012, through two gubernatorial campaigns and in between, Chris Emanuel traveled the state with Pat McCrory as the former Charlotte mayor's senior political director. Now, with McCrory in the governor's mansion, Emanuel is starting his own lobbying firm, reports Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer.

The former USAirways pilot is starting the CG Emanuel Group. He hopes to represent clients in Raleigh.

"My experience is over the past five years working with campaigns," he says."I've gotten to know many of the legislators."

Emanuel says he hopes to lobby on issues including education, construction and energy.

D'Annunzio lands ex-McCrory strategist

Republican Tim D'Annunzio, a wealthy Hoke County businessman running for Congress in Democratic U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell's district, has hired former N.C. Republican chairman Jack Hawke as a top strategist.

"It's obviously a wide-open race," Hawke said today. "Tim has the resources to be a formidable candidate."

D'Annunzio is one of at least five GOP candidates trying to unseat Kissell. So far, D'Annunzio has had the deepest pockets, Jim Morrill of The Charlotte Observer reports. He put $300,000 of his own money into the race shortly after announcing this fall.

Hawke was top strategist for Republican Pat McCrory's gubernatorial campaign last year. On Sunday D'Annunzio lost another former McCrory adviser when Chris Emanuel of Charlotte resigned as deputy campaign manager, citing "managerial differences."

Emanuel, meanwhile, was among more than a dozen veterans of the McCrory campaign who met for a holiday party last night at Charlotte's "Tavern on the Green." McCrory said it wasn't a preview of a possible 2012 race.

"I always said we'd stay together regardless of what happens in the future," he said.

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