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Morning Memo: Emails show Tata's troubles as former Wake education chief

TATA'S TUMULTOUS TENURE AS SCHOOLS CHIEF REVEALED: Newly released email shows that former Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata -- and now state Transportation Secretary -- spent his final month in office surrounded by growing distress and concern from school board members and parents over his handling of the school bus problems and student assignment. More than 3,400 pages of email released this week as part of a public records request by news media organizations, including The News & Observer, show how much the bus fiasco affecting thousands of families was a daily concern during the first month of school. (More on this story below.)

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: A bill to limit local governments from requiring inspections of homes in some instances -- a measure that is opposed by environmental groups -- is on the House calendar. The House will also consider legislation to make it a felony for a parent to fail to report a missing child, dubbed Caylee's Law after the Caylee Anthony case, in which the 2-year-old was found dead and her mother didn't report her missing for a month. At 10 a.m., Senate committee will consider (for discussion only) a midwife bill and a measure to put teeth in the state's public records law. On the Senate floor later in the day, the "red route" bill gets a final vote with toll road language attached. Gov. Pat McCrory is making an economic development announcement in Raleigh at 1 p.m.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Click below more more North Carolina political news and analysis. Send tips and news to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Congressman McIntyre to get boost from national party in 2014

National Democrats are launching a plan today to save vulnerable incumbents like North Carolina's Mike McIntyre.

In a program dubbed "Frontline," the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will target 26 districts to help boost its lawmakers as part of a strategy to win the U.S. House in the 2014 elections. As described in a Politico report, the effort will give the incumbents advice on strategy, get-out-the-vote efforts and fundraising.

Congressman McIntyre may face Democratic primary challenger

National Republicans are gleefully cheering the news that Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre is likely to face a primary challenger.

New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, the only Democrat on the board, announced his candidacy Tuesday. “It’s right politically, as well as for my family right now,” he told the Wilmington Star-News. “My middle daughter will be in college next year and I talked to my wife about it and we agreed that now is the time."

“I wanted to put the word out now and let people know who I am and what I’m about. I wanted to let people know what my intentions are,” Barfield continued. “It’s always good to be out there first.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee's spokeswoman Katie Prill sent an email asking: "So is this the bittersweet end for Mike McIntyre? Not only has the NRCC announced that McIntyre will be a top target for the 2014 election cycle, now he is facing a tough primary challenge."

Ellmers on Club for Growth most unwanted list

Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers a liberal? Who knew?

The congresswoman from Dunn, who is serving her second term representing the state's 2nd Congressional District, is on the list of Republicans that the limited government, low-tax group Club for Growth wants out.

The Club for Growth has Ellmers on its PrimaryMyCongressman website, where people are supposed to suggest primary opponents for Republicans elected to Congress scoring below 70 percent on the Club's scorecard. The site criticizes Ellmers for siding with House GOP leadership too often.

Tagging Ellmers as a Republican In Name Only seems to conflict with a recent National Journal assessment, which said she was the 43rd most conservative U.S. House member. The National Journal scored her as more conservative than Republican House colleagues Virginia Foxx, Patrick McHenry, Howard Coble and Walter Jones.

Ellmers easily survived a primary last year on her way to winning a re-election.

Morning Memo: Redistricting in the courts, education in the legislature

THE MOST IMPORTANT POLITICAL STORY IN N.C.: The legal fight about the new political boundaries drawn by Republicans in the redistricting process is headed to court this week. A three-judge panelwill hear the arguments Monday and Tuesday after Democrats and groups fighting the maps filed suit contending they were unlawful. The new boundaries seal Republican power in the state legislature for the next decade and Democrats need a judicial reversal to regain strength.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House will focus on education this week, with local school superintendents from across the state invited to meet with lawmakers. House Speaker Thom Tillis will hold a 3 p.m. press conference to discuss "education week." The House and Senate convene Monday evening for skeleton sessions. No votes are expected.

***Good Monday morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Find more political news and a weekend headline wrap below. And find out more information about the N&O's new iPad app, available for download now. (Programming note: Dome is not available on the app at the moment. Look for an upgrade later.)***

Hagan ranks in Senate's ideological middle; Ellmers among most conservative

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan ranks in the ideological middle, according to the latest rankings from the National Journal. The Democrat, who faces re-election in 2014, ranks the 48th most liberal of the 100 senators, or 52 most conservative, depending on how you look at it.

Her Republican counterpart U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is the 23rd most conservative member in the chamber, the nonpartisan national political magazine found. National Journal ranked the lawmakers on 116 votes that showed differences in ideological viewpoint in the 112th Congress.

Among Democrats in the House, Congressman David Price is the most liberal at No. 32, followed by Mel Watt (45), former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller (83), G.K. Butterfield (121). On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick was the 32nd most conservative, followed by Reps. Renee Ellmers (43), Virginia Foxx (55), Patrick McHenry (62), Howard Coble (153) and Walter Jones (242).

Morning Memo: A new 2014 map, McCrory mum on second big departure

UPDATED: WHAT REDISTRICTING MEANS: Only one competitive congressional race in 2014. Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball political rankings show what happens when congressional districts are packed with like-minded folks. Of the state's 13 congressional races, only one is deemed competitive between parties. The seat is Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre in District 7. McIntyre won a close race in 2012 -- one of the few where Mitt Romney won the president vote -- and another tight contest is expected in 2014. The pundits at University of Virginia give him the early edge, though, ranking the race "leans Democratic."

***You are reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more news and analysis below.***

Congressmen to talk money in politics at Duke forum

Democratic Congressmen David Price and John Sarbanes will talk about the affects of big money in politics in a forum Thursday at Duke University.

The free event starts at 5 p.m. at Fleishman Commons at the Sanford School for Public Policy. Also on the panel: Anita Earls, the executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and state Rep. Larry Hall, the House minority leader. Gunther Peck, associate professor of history and public policy, will moderate.

Morning Memo: GOP flirts with Charlotte for 2016 convention

GOP FLIRTS WITH CHARLOTTE: Could Charlotte do for Republicans in 2016 what it did for Democrats in 2012? The Republican National Committee’s meeting in Charlotte this week has fueled speculation that the GOP might return for its national convention in four years. “It’s always a possibility,” GOP Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday at the Westin hotel. “North Carolina was good to us. And it’s a red state – all the more reason to look at Charlotte.”

AFP TOUTS GOP REIGN IN NORTH CAROLINA: Tim Phillis, the national president of Americans for Prosperity, writes in a Politico op-ed that North Carolina is a state where the GOP plans to make a difference. It starts: "In Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 11, a new free-market Republican governor celebrated his gubernatorial win at the inaugural balls. The occasion was historic for North Carolina: the first time since Reconstruction that a conservative GOP governor will be joined by free-market GOP state legislative majorities in both state legislative chambers." Read full piece here.

***This is the Dome Morning Memo a digest of important N.C. political news. Click below for more.***

Morning Memo: McCrory-Cooper face off on immigrant driver's licenses

UPDATED: McCRORY-COOPER SHOWDOWN: Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's Division of Motor Vehicles is refusing to issue immigrants in the deferred action program driver's licenses but Democrat Attorney General Roy Cooper says they must.

The state Attorney General’s office said Thursday that young illegal immigrants participating in an Obama administration program blocking deportation for two years should be eligible for driving privileges in North Carolina, but by day’s end it wasn’t clear whether the DMV would issue them. But by late Thursday, more than five hours after the opinion was released, acting DMV Commissioner J. Eric Boyette said DMV officials had not formulated their response. “We have just received the ruling from the Attorney General’s office regarding driver’s licenses for people in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program today and we are in the process of reviewing it,” Boyette said by email.

***This is the Dome Morning Memo, a roundup of political news and analysis in North Carolina.

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