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Goodnight bemoans state budget

Back in October, state Sen. Phil Berger raised more than $300,000 at a fundraiser at the Cary home of Jim and Ann Goodnight of SAS. Dome is thinking that Ann Goodnight, at least, may be regretting that decision.

In a letter to the editor in Tuesday's N&O, she laments the legislature's "glaring lack of support for education."

She calls the state budget "an embarrassment in its lack of investment in the skills and competititiveness of its people. This is a grievous mistake."

Berger rakes in $$$ at Goodnights'

Senate leader Phil Berger pulled in more than $300,000 at a fundraiser at the Cary home of Jim and Ann Goodnight of SAS on Tuesday, the state Senate Republican caucus reports. 

Berger, a Republican from Eden, had received close to $1 million in campaign contributions at the end of June, the latest reporting period. A little more than one-third of that amount came from political action committees.

Goodnight hosts Dalton

If you’re trying to raise money for your re-election, having the state’s wealthiest man in your corner can’t hurt.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton will be hosted by SAS founder Jim Goodnight at the software tycoon’s The Umstead Hotel in Cary on Wednesday. Dalton's campaign has released a long list of big-name Democrats who have already pledged $1,000 to $4,000 to attend.

That amount of money and prestige going to re-elect someone to an office that, under a Democratic governor, has not been very visible means something. Could it be recognition of the fact that Gov. Bev Perdue could lose her re-election campaign, and so the money is going to someone who would then become the state's top Democrat?

Goodnight is a registered Republican, but he and his wife, Ann, have contributed to politicians of both parties over the years. Goodnight has been included in the Forbest list of the world's richest people for many years.

See list of fundraisers below.

Hackney in high cotton

Jim Goodnight, the chief executive officer and founder of the SAS Institute, the Cary computer software company, will hold a fund raiser at his home tonight for Democratic House Speaker Joe Hackney.

Hackney is in the middle of a difficult fight to retain Democratic control of the House during a Republican year..  The Democrats hold a 68-52 margin.

“We think we are doing well in a difficult climate,” Hackney said. “We think we will maintain our majority. But we have four weeks to go.”

Forbes ranks Goodnight as the nation's 35th richest American with a net worth of $6.9 billion. Goodnight contributes to both political parties. For example, he is a major donor to Republican Sen. Richard Burr's re-election effort.

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.

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.

SAS has no inside track

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan specifically mentioned Cary-based SAS as a company that could provide the federal government with software designed to prevent health care fraud.

Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, said the company doesn't have an inside track on getting a federal contract. She said she was using the company as an example.

"I only say SAS because they happened to share some of this information with me. Obviously being from North Carolina I had an opportunity to discuss this with them," Hagan told reporters in a conference call Wednesday. "This is not something in particular that we're doing on their behalf."

SAS has been the go-to reference for N.C. politicians pitching anti-fraud software. In 2003, Republican Sen. Robert Pittenger mentioned the company by name in a bill that sought to purchase software for the state.

As we've previously noted, Hagan received $4,000 in contributions from SAS CEO Jim Goodnight and his wife Ann Goodnight.

Stam pitched anti-fraud software

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan says the nation needs software to prevent health care fraud.

The pitch by Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, is probably going to make state Rep. Paul Stam mutter something about already telling us so.

Stam, an Apex Republican and House minority leader, filed a bill last session that would, you guessed it, require the state to implement software meant to catch Medicaid fraud.

Stam told reporters in March that $100 million worth of software could save $100 million in fraud every year. Stam's bill, which was co-sponsored by 10 House Republicans, stalled in the Democratic-controlled appropriations committee.

Stam's bill doesn't specifically mention SAS, which Hagan says has created suitable.

A quick check of campaign finance records shows that Stam has not received any contributions from SAS CEO Jim Goodnight or his wife, Ann Goodnight. Hagan received $4,000 from the pair in her campaign for her Senate seat, according to federal election records.

Update: Stam's proposal was included in the state budget.  

Burr, Bowles far from rivalry

The parking sign outside the meeting Monday morning called it the "Burr-Bowles Summit" but it could just have easily called it a "love fest."

Republican Sen. Richard Burr and the man he defeated in 2004, Democrat Erskine Bowles, now president of the University of North Carolina, were the stars of the North Carolina Economic Development Summit, Rob Christensen reports.

"I've had a chance to work with this guy for four full years and nobody works harder or smarter for North Carolina than Richard Burr does," Bowles told about 200 people at N.C. Central University. "His focus on this state is truly unbelievable."

In introducing Bowles, Burr said: "Erskine Bowles is the best president of the university system we had the pleasure of having."

Cooper raised $2.8m in AG run

Attorney General Roy Cooper raised $2.8 million in his successful re-election campaign.

Cooper, a Democrat, reported raising $282,193 from Oct. 19 to the end of the year, according to campaign finance disclosures.

Cooper's largest contributors for the quarter included Charles Barker, chief executive of Concord-based ACN, Inc., a telecommunications company; Thomas Belk, chief executive of the Belk department store, Jim and Ann Goodnight; and Michael DeMayo, a Charlotte lawyer.

Cooper also received significant contributions from committees affiliated with Citigroup, GlaxoSmithKline and Smithfield Foods.

Cooper spent $2.5 million on his run for Attorney General. He has $367,000 left in his campaign account.

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