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GOP Senate field is wide open

The Republican Senate field is very unsettled as Senate leader Phil Berger weighs getting into the race, according to a new poll.

Most Republicans(43 percent) say they have not yet made up their mind, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Berger has the support of 13 percent, followed by House Speaker Thom Tillis with 12 percent, and former U.S. Ambassador Jim Cain with 11 percent. Other candidates or potential candidates include Heather Grant(8 percent), Mark Harris(7 percent) Greg Brannon(6 percent) and Lynn Wheeler(6 percent.)

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan would defeat Berger by a 53-36 percent margin and would defeat Tillis by a 51-36 percent margin.

Hagan has an approval rating of 43 percent -- considered low for an incumbent -- and a disapproval rating of 39 percent with 18 percent uncertain.

Most people(57 percent) have never heard of Berger. His favorable rating is 10 percent and his unfavorable rating is 33 percent. For Tillis, 14 percent have a favorable opinion, 32 percent unfavorable, with 54 percent having never heard of him.

The poll of 600 likely voters was taken Sept. 6-9. The margin of error was 4 percent overall and for the GOP portion was 5.6 percent.

Despite tough numbers, Hagan still tops possible GOP challengers

Democrat Kay Hagan's popularity isn't improving but Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling suggests the N.C. General Assembly may drag Republicans down even further.

The Democratic polling firm's latest numbers show Hagan's approval essentially even at 43 percent to 45 percent disapproval. But compared to potential Republican challengers, she is doing much better.

Hagan vulnerable, but GOP still searching for a contender, poll suggests

No consensus has formed among Republicans in next year's Senate race, but Congresswoman Virginia Foxx has the most support, according to a new poll.

Foxx leads among Republican voters with 23 percent, followed by state Senate leader Phil Berger with 11 percent, House speaker Thom Tillis and Congresswoman Renee Ellmer with 9 percent, former U.S. Ambassador with 8 percent, Cary physician Greg Bannon with 7 percent, Charlotte minister Mark Harris at 4 percent and former Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Wheeler at 3 percent.

That is according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leads all potential Republican candidates by margins ranging from 4 to 9 percent.

Jim Cain also looking at Hagan race

Raleigh’s Jim Cain, former ambassador to Denmark and one-time president of the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team, tells Roll Call he is taking a serious look at running in the Republican primary next year to challenge U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

“The race is indeed something that I am considering,” Cain told the Washington, D.C. publication. “Many friends and supporters around the state are encouraging me to challenge Senator Hagan.”

Cain was ambassador under President George W. Bush. A corporate attorney by profession, he works with Kilpatrick Townsend.

That race is getting crowded quickly.

Pre-session fundraiser successful for Senate Republicans

The state’s Senate Republican Caucus had quite a haul at a fundraiser this week.

The pre-session shindig, held at former ambassador Jim Cain’s home in Raleigh on Tuesday night, collected about $100,000, organizers say.

State law restricts financial contributions to legislators when the General Assembly is in session. So, Tuesday night’s event came in just under the wire before the Wednesday session began.

Notebook: Jeb Bush to headline McCrory fundraiser -- and what it could mean

Pat McCrory is red-carpet political fundraising has attracted its fair share of GOP stars: Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Steve Forbes and Nikki Haley.

But his campaign's April 30 check-gathering at the Angus Barn will likely top those events thanks to headliner Jeb Bush. The hosts for the event -- announced Thursday by his campaign -- include former Denmark Ambassador Jim Cain, appointed by President George W. Bush; Golden Corral executive Ted Fowler; Republican uber-fundraiser Kieran Shanahan; and businesswoman Judi Grainger.

Bush, the former Florida Republican governor, is widely considered as a future presidential candidate and known for his dedication to education policy. And it's worth noting he's in town next month as part of an education summit with former Democratic N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt.

The event will help McCrory boost his financial advantage over the Democratic candidates who will spend the next six weeks squeezing blood from a turnip and spend much of it to get the party's nomination.

Jim Cain: WikiLeaks won't damage U.S.-Danish relations

Jim Cain, a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, said the large number of classified cables from his embassy that will likely be exposed by WikiLeaks will be embarrassing, but will ultimately not damaging to the country.

Cain,  a Raleigh attorney who was ambassador from 2005 to 2009, said he has been told by Danish journalists that at least 270 cables from the American embassy are likely to be made public in the coming days and weeks by WikiLeaks.

“It's all embarrassing to America that we can't maintain our own secrets,” Cain said. “But in our cables we don't gossip. But it's the sort of thing you say at your kitchen table you don't necessarily want your friends and neighbors hearing about it.”

He said the cables from Copenhagen to Washington dealt with sensitive subjects as Denmark's role in Iraq and Afghanistan, five terror plots uncovered in Denmark during his time there, a national Danish election in 2007, the UN climate conference,  and U.S. efforts to line up votes to confirm their prime minister as NATO's secretary-general.

“Those are the kinds of things you talked about in cables,” Cain said. “You talked about policies, strategies, personalities. They tended to be honest and candid – and classified.”

He said  most of the cable chatter would be of interest to the Danish media, rather than the U.S. media.

While the damage to U.S.-Danish relations will be limited, Cain said such leaks are much more dangerous in the world's hot spots.

“When you think about the cables that come from places like Pakistan and Afghanistan or other places, there will be, if they are disclosed, identifies revealed, that will endanger those individuals,” Cain said. “That is high treason to me to disclose those national security (secrets)in a way that jeopardizes our national interests. That is traitorous. I hope our federal government prosecutes those responsible very vigorously.”

Rove raises $400,000 for Burr

Former White House advisor Karl Rove helped raise about $400,000 Thursday night in Raleigh for the re-election campaign of GOP Sen. Richard Burr, according to the event's organizers.

The event at the Angus Barn restaurant, one of the larger fund raiser for Burr, featured Rove, who the chief political strategist for former President George W. Bush.

The event's general chairman was Greensboro business executive Louis DeJoy, the spouse of Aldona Wos, a former U.S. ambassador Estonia. The event's chairman was Raleigh attorney Jim Cain and his Helen. Cain is a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark. Both DeJoy and Cain are veteran GOP fund raisers.

Among the events co-chairs were Ann and Jim Goodnight, the founder of SAS,  the Cary software company;builder Jeff Ammons and his wife Beth, North Hills developer John Kane and his wife Willa, former Raleigh City Councilman Kieran Shanahan and his wife Tina;  Golden Corral executive Ted Fowler and his wife Glenda Fowler.

The event was closed to the news media which drew some criticism from the Democrats.

"Burr either doesn't want a picture taken with his old buddy or he doesn't want North Carolina voters to be reminded of his dismal record of rubber stamping the policies that wrecked the North Carolina economy in the first place," said Deirdre Murphy, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Rove to appear at Burr fundraiser

Karl Rove, the chief strategist for President George W. Bush, will be coming to Raleigh next month to help raise money for the re-election campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.

Although details have not yet been announced, Rove agreed to be the headliner at a fundraiser on Jan. 28 in Raleigh, Rob Christensen reports. The event is being put together by Louis DeJoy, a Greensboro businessman who was state finance chairman for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008. Also helping out is Jim Cain, a Raleigh lawyer and former U.S. ambassador to Denmark who was also a Bush fundraiser.

Rove was not only closely associated with Bush, but he also helped recruit both Burr and former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole to run for the chamber.

Rove appeared at a Winston-Salem fundraiser for Burr when he ran in 2004 against Democrat Erskine Bowles. Since leaving the White House, Rove has worked as a political analyst for Fox News, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal.

Cain returns home

Jim Cain, the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, has returned to his old job as an attorney with the firm of Kilpatrick Stockton.

Cain came home to Raleigh in January after serving three and half years as an ambassador in Copenhagen for the administration of former President George W. Bush.

A corporate lawyer by trade, Cain may be best known as the former president of the Carolina Hurricanes for two years.

Cain plans to divide his time among the firm's offices in Washington, New York and Raleigh. He has also formed his own marketing firm, Cain Global Partners, LLC, to encourage and assist foreign companies willing to invest in the United States.

Cain has long been active in Republican politics, as a supporter of the late Sen. Jesse Helms and as a fundraiser for Bush, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole and others. His name has been bandied about in the past as a potential GOP candidate for governor.

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