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Small business owners say Washington hostile to job creation

A business group with strong North Carolina ties Monday released a poll that found that small business owners feel that Washington is creating a more hostile environment to growth.

The group, Job Creators Alliance, released a survey that found that 70 percent small business owners believed Washington was becoming more hostile to free enterprise, while only 19 percent thought it was becoming less hostile. The group includes a number of prominent North Carolina businessmen including Robert Luddy of Raleigh, retired banker John Allison, and Fred Eshelman of Wilmington.

Political group backed by Eshelman makes final ad blitz for Romney

A political action committee bankrolled by a pharmaceutical entrepreneur Fred Eshelman just bought $1.5 million in Internet advertising to help Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Fletcher Hartsell celebrates 65th tonight with some very expensive presents

State Sen. Fletcher Hartsell of Concord is being feted at a fund raiser celebrating his 65th birthday tonight at the 18 Seaboard restaurant in Raleigh.

The special guest is Fred Eshelman, the Wilmington businessman, philanthropist, and major GOP donor. The cost of the even ranges from $150 to $4,000.

Facing tuition pressure, BOG considers telling lawmakers to 'deal with it'

The UNC system's Board of Governors appears to be split on the idea of allowing big tuition increases at public university campuses next year. "It's absolutely counterintuitive if you say when the economy goes to hell, we make people pay more," said Fred Eshelman, a board member. He suggested the board refuse to raise tuition and tell the legislature, "Now you deal with it."

Chairwoman Hannah Gage pointed out that the board had not had the courage to do that in the past. The tuition decision always requires a delicate balance, she said. Traditionally, in tough economic times, state funding goes down and tuition goes up.

"When (families) can least afford it, that's when we sock it to them, and it's primarily to protect quality," she said. Paul Fulton, a former UNC-Chapel Hill trustee and now a member of the system board, said UNC leaders have been backed into a corner on tuition by the legislature. "We're in a situation not of our own making," Fulton said. "Our main obligation is to sustain the quality of the education we offer." Read more here.

Eshelman to hold fund raiser for Romney

Fred Eshelman, a Wilmington businessman and major GOP donor, plans to hold a fund raiser at his home this month for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential exploratory committee.

The event, scheduled for May 20, is one of the first major fund raisers in North Carolina for the 2012 presidential campaign. The event, which ranges in cost between $1,000 and $2,500 per person, includes sponsors from across the state including former Raleigh congressional candidate Carolyn Grant, and Raleigh attorney John Taggart.

Eshelman is the executive chairman and founder of Pharmaceutical Product Development, a global firm  in Wilmington which counts 10,000 employees in 38 countries. It employs about 1,400 in the Triangle. He has donated $20 million to the UNC School of Pharmacy, which is named after him.

He is also a major player in politics. Last year, he contributed $3.38 million to his own 527 independent group, called RightChange.com to help elect Republicans to Congress across the country.

He  also joined forces with another wealthy Republican businessman, Art Pope of Raleigh, to help finance Real Jobs NC, which spent money last year to help elect a GOP majority to the state legislature. The legislature recently elected him to the UNC Board of Governors.

Senate UNC board nominees

Former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, a wealthy business executive from Wilmington, and a former state Transportation Department secretary are on the list of 16 Senate nominees to the UNC Board of Governors.

The Senate on Thursday will pick eight members from the list of candidates.

Here are the nominees:

W. Louis Bissette, Jr. , an Asheville lawyer.

James E. (Ed) Broyhill, son of a former congressman

Fred Eshelman, executive of the contract research company PPD

John C. Fennebresque, a Charlotte lawyer

Ann B. Goodnight of SAS, a current board member

H. Frank Grangier, an agribusiness owner

Peter D. Hans, a current board member and "government relations strategic advisor" who has worked for Republican U.S. senators

Thomas J. Harrelson, a former DOT secretary

Luther H. Hodges, Jr., son of a former governor

Michael V. Lee,  a lawyer

Henry E. McKoy, Ralph E. "Bill" Mullins, Jr. , Robert F. Orr,  Philip D. Walker, Steve Warren, and Weston Willis.

Money talk: happy banks, sad agencies and big donations

Banking and the GOP: The Republican-controlled House has a bank-friendly to-do list. (N&O)
 

Cut to the bone: State agencies aren't helping Gov. Perdue trim  the budget. (N&O)

How Shuler won: The New York Times takes a look at Heath Shuler's strategy (NYT)
 

Financial player: Fred Eshelman, the executive chairman of Wilmington's PPD, spent millions of dollars this year to bolster conservative candidates in competitive U.S. Senate and House races across the country. (Wilmington)

Shuler on TV: Rep. Heath Shuler said yet again — this time to CNN — that he would challenge Rep. lead Nancy Pelosi for House minority leader. (Asheville)
 

GOP won't be out-organized

The North Carolina Republican Party has launched a major effort to make sure that it is not out-organized like it was during the 2008 election.

It has set up seven regional offices across the state as part of its “North Carolina Victory” program, and it has made 575,000 telephone calls, focusing on independent voters, according to Congressman Patrick McHenry, the chairman of North Carolina Victory, Rob Christensen reports.

Heading up the organizational effort is Tim Saler, director of the Victory program.  Last year, Saler headed the GOP's organizational effort in South Jersey, helping elect Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

The effort is being financed in part by $1.2 million that Burr raised for the Victory committee.

The GOP's organizational effort is being financed by some of the major corporate figures and companies in the state, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Among the major donors to the committee are Jim Goodnight, of SAS ($24,800),  former GlaxoSmithKline executive Robert Ingram and his wife Jeannie ($29,600), Wilmington businessman Fred Eshelman ($10,500),  Progress Energy PAC ($5,000), GlaxoSmithKline PAC ($5,000), Duke Energy PAC ($5,000), Honeywell International ($5,000), Lorillard Tobacco ($5,000), R.J. Reynolds PAC ($5,000), retired Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C. executive Robert Greczyn ($10,000), former University of North Carolina President C.D. Spangler ($5,000), Raleigh business executive Lanty Smith ($10,000) and Bank of America PAC ($5,000).

The backdrop of this effort is that the Republicans felt they were swamped by the organizational effort of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

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