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Ellmers want to name Raleigh's historic Century Post Office after Jesse Helms

Rep. Renee Ellmers announced Wednesday evening that she has submitted a bill to name the historic Century Post Office in Raleigh the Jesse Helms Federal Building and United States Courthouse, honoring the late conservative Republican senator.

It’s the first time a federal building anywhere has been named for Helms, the state’s powerful and longtime senator, said John Dodd, president of the Helms Center in Wingate.

Richard Hudson gets Dot Helms endorsement in 8th Congressional District

As we suggested recently, Republican Richard Hudson is securing the support of the Helms family in his bid for the 8th Congressional District. A formal announcement came Monday.

"I know what a true conservative is," said Dot Helms, the wife of the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. "Richard Hudson is a true, dyed-in-the-wool conservative the people in the Eighth District can trust. I enthusiastically endorse his candidacy."

Read the entire press release below.

Hudson gets support from Helms family in 8th Congressional bid

Republican Richard Hudson is receiving support from the family of late Sen. Jesse Helms in his bid for the 8th Congressional District.

Hudson's campaign reports that Jesse Helms' widow, Dot Helms, and her daughter Nancy Helms Grigg contributed to the campaign. The donations could signal a larger role from the Helms family in the campaign going forward.

The endorsement is sure to help Hudson, who faces a crowded Republican field -- but it also represents a rebuke of Vernon Robinson, another candidate in the race. Robinson drew criticism after a controversial television advertisement called him "the black Jesse Helms" and touted an endorsement from the son of former President Ronald Reagan, who later revoked his support.

Bono and Mrs. Helms

Rock star Bono met with Dot Helms, the widow of former Sen. Jesse Helms, before Saturday night's U2 concert in Raleigh, to express his appreciation for the late senator's work to combat AIDS in Africa.

The two men had formed an unlikely alliance and friendship during Helms' final years in the Senate, and Bono asked for a chance to meet with Dot Helms during his Raleigh concert, Rob Christensen reports.

At a back stage meeting, Bono greeted Dot Helms warmly and said it was because of "Jesse" that more than 3 million children are alive and on anti-retroviral drugs today in Africa, according to Jimmy Broughton, Helms' former chief of staff, who accompanied Dot Helms.

Dot Helms did not stay for the concert, but she was accompanied by several of her grandchildren who did.

Dot Helms was deeply touched and delighted to see Bono, according to Broughton, and said she hoped other senators were helping him with his efforts for global AIDS relief.

Burr on Helms

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr released a statement on the death of former Sen. Jesse Helms:

"Brooke and I are extremely saddened to hear the news of the passing of Jesse Helms. Jesse was a mentor and good friend and his contributions to North Carolina and to the nation were countless. We will miss him tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dot and the entire Helms family."

In the crowd at the Wake GOP dinner

A number of notables were in the audience at the Wake County Republican Party's annual President's Day Dinner tonight.

U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole; U.S. House candidates B.J. Lawson and Augustus Cho; state Sens. Richard Stevens and Neal Hunt; Reps. Nelson Dollar and Marilyn Avila; and state House candidates Bryan Gossage, Eric Weaver and Paul Terrell.

Also at the dinner: Gubernatorial candidates Fred Smith, Pat McCrory and Bob Orr; lieutenant governor candidates Greg Dority and Bob Pittenger; and attorney general candidate Bob Crumley.

A few judges and judicial candidates were also at the audience: state Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds, Appeals Court judges Ann Marie Calabria and Donna Stroud, Appeals Court candidates John Tyson and Bob Hunter, Wake County District Court Judge Jennifer Green.

And a few local officials: Wake County commissioners Kenn Gardner and Joe Bryan and Register of Deeds Laura Riddick. Wake GOP chairman David Robinson came back to the podium later to note that he had left omitted "an individual who is most likely armed" — Wake Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

Another noted guest was in the audience: Former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms' wife, Dot.

The loudest applause of the night went to Helms, Harrison and Avila, the former county chairwoman.

Filing opens with a flurry

North Carolina's campaign season opened at noon with the national debate over the war in Iraq echoing in Tar Heel congressional races.

Two Republican congressional candidates, Joe McLaughlin of Jacksonville and Will Breazeale of Elizabethtown, filed for election against incumbents who they say should be turned out of office for not being sufficiently supportive of the U.S. military effort in Iraq, Rob Christensen reports.

Dozens of candidates lined up in the State Board of Elections for the filling period that opened at noon. They included Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge, Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, and Beth Wood, a former CPA in the state auditor's office, who wants to run against her hold boss Les Merritt.

Ronnie Anlsey, a Raleigh attorney, filed as a Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner.

More after the jump.

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