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McCrory makes ABC appointments

Gov. Pat McCrory made two appointments to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission on Friday.

He named Greensboro real estate agent Kevin Green and state Department of Agriculture police Chief Joel Keith of Wake Forest.

Green, who contributed $2,250 to McCrory’s campaign, has lived in Greensboro since the 1970s. He is a member of the executive committee of the N.C. Association of Realtors. He is a registered Republican.

Keith, who contributed $1,000 to McCrory’s campaign, has served as president of the N.C. Association of ABC Boards and as a member of the state ABC Officers Association. He is an unaffiliated voter.

BTW: Last month, McCrory appointed former Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner to be chairman of the commission. Gardner is a longtime restaurant executive. He served on McCrory's transition team after the November election.

A brief word on Palin crowd estimates

Dome underestimated the crowd at Sarah Palin's rally in Raleigh.

As a member of the traveling press pool, I followed the Alaska governor from her landing at the UPS terminal at the airport in a van motorcade to the event.

We arrived shortly before she spoke through a side entrance and left shortly after she finished. We did not hear the opening speech by former Sen. Bob Dole or stay to watch the crowds leave. We could not leave the cordoned-off press area to join the crowd or see the front of the building.

Multiple e-mailers have told me about the long lines that I did not see.

Complicating things was the fact the the McCain campaign does not provide crowd estimates. (The Obama campaign regularly sent an e-mail with a contact number for local police or fire representatives who had an estimate.) An attempt to reach the Raleigh police before deadline was unsuccessful.

My original story went with a vague "several thousands" in attendance, but I felt that was underselling it. After talking with some other reporters in the press pool, I guesstimated 5,000.

A local TV station estimated 10,000 in attendance. I don't know their methodology, but based on the reports I've gotten from other people in the crowd at the rally, the higher figure is probably more accurate.

Update: Police provided an official estimate late Sunday.

Joel Keith, chief of police for the N.C. Department of Agriculture, said 5,500 supporters were allowed inside the Exposition Center along with several hundred volunteers and VIPs. He said another 2,000 were in a cordoned-off area outside, and thousands more were turned away from the event. 

"It's the largest crowd we've had there for any event except the State Fair," he said. 

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