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Cruz: We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday heaped praise on Jesse Helms at a Heritage Foundation lecture named after the late North Carolina senator.

“I’ll tell you something … the very first political contribution I ever made in my life was to Jesse Helms,'' Cruz said according to Roll Call newsletter. "When I was a kid, I sent $10 to Jesse Helms, ’cause they were beating up on him, they were coming after him hard and I thought it wasn’t right, and at the time my allowance was 50 cents a week,” the Texas Republican said. “I am willing to venture a guess that I may have been Jesse Helms’ single largest donor as a percentage of annual income.”

Hagan feels good '14, would invite Obama to campaign

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan said she thinks she is well-positioned for re-election campaign next year, although she expects hers to one of the top targeted Senate seats when Republicans try to retake control of the Senate next year.

"I feel very, very good about my race," Hagan said in a meeting with reporters and editors of The News and Observer. "I know I have to raise a lot of money. I know the opposition will be spending an incredible amount of money in our state. I won't be able to counter that but I will certainly be prepared and put together a top notch team.''

She said that Republicans spent $40 million to try to defeat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio last year, suggesting a similar effort might be aimed at her in 2014.

Hagan said she would "be honored'' to have President Obama campaign for her.

Morning Memo: Money in politics, guns in bars

THE NAKED REALITY OF POLITICS: Much of politics is about money. But it's rare to see it so plainly stated in black and white: "We didn't give them money because we liked them," sweepstakes operator William George told the Associated Press. "We just knew they were powerful people up in Raleigh and they could get done what we wanted to get done. You give them your money and they're supposed to do what they say they're going to do." (More on the story below.)

TODAY IN POLITICS: The current State Board of Elections meets for the final time at 9 a.m. today before Gov. Pat McCrory's new appointees take office Wednesday. The board had planned to launch a formal investigation into the gambling money -- received by the governor, top GOP legislative leaders and some Democrats. But board members backed off the idea now that they are lame ducks.

AT THE STATEHOUSE: A House committee will consider a bill to limit pre-K programs, in part to children under the federal poverty line. The full House meets at 2 p.m. and will consider a controversial firearms bill to allow guns in restaurants and bars that serve alcohol. The UNC system is also opposed because it allows guns in cars on college campuses. The Senate will meet at 2 p.m. On its calendar is a measure to require a parent to report a child missing after 24 hours -- it is named after Caylee Anthony. Gov. Pat McCrory is attending two feel-good events Tuesday in Charlotte, first a YMCA prayer breakfast and then a Wells Fargo "Reading Above Par" event.

***More on the sweepstakes money, arrests at the legislature and Jamie Hahn death investigation below in today's Dome Morning Memo -- the place for North Carolina political news and analysis.***

Morning Memo: Art Pope lecture protested; major bills moving at legislature

STUDENTS TO PROTEST ART POPE LECTURE: UNC-Chapel Hill students are plannning a "teach out" demonstration Tuesday outside a campus building where Art Pope, the governor's state budget director is a guest lecturer. Pope will speak to Faculty Chairwoman Jan Boxhill's 12:30 p.m. philosophy course, according to The Daily Tar Heel. Pope is a major donor to the university but also to ttea party groups and others that aim to elect Republican candidates. Students are upset about the proposed cuts to the university in tthe budget Pope drafted. Interestingly, Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year questioned the use of state money for liberal arts courses such as gender students and philosophy.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: House and Senate lawmakers will consider a corporate income tax cut and school safety measure Tuesday with major legislation begins making progress as the legislalture nears crunch time. The House Education Committee will meet at 10 a.m. and the Senate  Finance Committee will meet at 1 p.m. Both chambers convene at 2 p.m. The House is still waiting to vote on a measure to background check many receiptients of public assitance and prohibit some from getting federal aid. Two major groups will hold rallies at the legislature to push back against the Republican majority.

McCrory hosted a breakfast this morning with advocates for the state's historically black universities and colleges -- the groups most fearing any potential study of consolidation of UNC system campuses. Later in the day, the governor will meet with the Legislative Black Caucus, a group that has been very critical of his agenda.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Much more North Carolina politics below.***

Morning Memo: Rare session at Capitol, more fallout from tainted donor

UPDATED: TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House and Senate convene this evening in the old legislative chambers at the Capitol to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the recovering of the N.C. Bill of Rights after a Union soldier took it during the Civil War. Gov. Pat McCrory will attend a reception for the event earlier in the day.

McCRORY DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM TAINTED BURNS MONEY:From AP: North Carolina's governor says he had no contact with a campaign contributor who faces racketeering charges in Florida over illegal gambling. Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday he had never heard of Chase Egan Burns, the Oklahoma man accused this week of owning gambling parlors operated by Allied Veterans of the World. Prosecutors say the purported charity earned about $300 million from illegal gambling, with only about 2 percent actually going to veterans. McCrory's campaign has purged itself Wednesday of $8,000 in contributions made in October by Burns and his wife, sending the money to a Durham charity. "I wouldn't know him if I saw him," said McCrory, a Republican. "I think we got it (the checks) through the mail."

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- a roundup of North Carolina political news and analysis. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. Click "Read More" for more.***

Naming Raleigh federal building after Helms would have its ironies

The man most responsible for the renovation of the 1878 building, U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Judge J. Rich Leonard, was twice blocked by Helms for higher federal judgeships.

Leonard spent four years starting in 2005 immersing himself in the 19th century architecture and design, helping to bring back to life the building that now serves as both a court house and a U.S. Post office.

There is now a move afoot to name the building after Helms, the Republican senator, who retired in 2003.

Sen. Burr voices support for Helms name on post office

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is voicing his support for naming the historic Century Post Office in downtown Raleigh after the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers recently introduced legislation to name it the Jesse Helms Federal Building and United States Courthouse but encountered opposition from some who called it "morally wrong to reward intolerance," a reference to the senator's record.

"Jesse Helms was a transformative figure in our state’s history who placed service to his constituents above all other priorities in his public life," Burr said in a statement issued by his office Thursday. "Whether they agreed with him on political issues or not, North Carolinians had a dedicated advocate in Washington in Jesse Helms, and this bill will help to commemorate his legacy and his service to our state."

Petition against naming building after Jesse Helms tops 3,200 signatures

The predictable pushback against a bill that would name a downtown Raleigh building in honor of Sen. Jesse Helms is taking form.

Rep. Renee Ellmers introduced a bill last week that would name the historic Century Post Office the Jesse Helms Federal Building and United States Courthouse, but a group has organized a petition voicing opposition to the bill.

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.

Ellmers wants federal courthouse in Raleigh named after Jesse Helms

Rep. Renee Ellmers has introduced a bill that would re-name the federal building in Raleigh in honor of Sen. Jesse Helms.

The bill would Name the Century Post Office the "Jesse Helms Federal Building and United States Courthouse."

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