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Morning Memo: McCrory's approval rating sinks, questions remain in tax deal

ALERT: McCRORY'S APPROVAL RATING TUMBLES: For the first time in his term, more voters disapprove of Gov. Pat McCrory than support him, according to the latest Public Policy Polling survey. The Democratic firm found 40 percent approve of the job McCrory is doing and 49 percent disapprove. It's a significant shift from a month ago when PPP put the Republican governor's approval rating at 45 percent with 39 percent disapproval. (Read more on Dome later this morning.)

REPUBLICANS RALLY TO THANK LAWMAKERS: Moral Monday protesters aren’t the only ones rallying on Halifax Mall this week. The N.C. Republican Party has asked conservatives to gather at 5 p.m. Tuesday for “Thankful Tuesday,” a meeting planned by a coalition of groups to thank legislators for their work. The event will also allow for networking between Republicans and supporters. It isn’t a counter-protest to Moral Mondays, the left-leaning demonstrations that have garnered national attention for the past 10 weeks, said Mike Rusher, the state GOP’s chief of staff. “We want to tell our state legislators that we’re basically proud of what they’re doing,” said Joe Taylor, a member of the Moccasin Creek Minutemen, a conservative group that is helping to host the event. “They catch a lot of grief on Monday.” Read more here.

***In the Dome Morning Memo below: three big questions for the tax deal, an unusual new name for House Speaker Thom Tillis and more North Carolina political news.***

McCrory names heavy-hitters to economic board

Gov. Pat McCrory named some high-powered individuals Monday to the North Carolina Economic Development Board that will be chaired by his long-time friend and political ally John Lassiter of Charlotte.

Lassiter, president of Carolina Legal Staffing, has been an advisor to McCrory, and is also involved in the governor's 5-1 c4 political committee.

The vice chair is Jim Whitehurst, the president and chief executive officer of Red Hat, the Raleigh-based software company.

Nonprofit backing Pat McCrory rebrands, plans first big-dollar event

UPDATED:The private nonprofit formed to advance Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's agenda is newly reorganized and poised to hold its first big-dollar member retreat next week at a swanky Greensboro resort.

The June 27-28 event at the Grandover Resort opens with a dinner and exclusive forum featuring McCrory and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. The minimum price for two tickets to the Thursday night activities is $1,000. The Friday agenda includes policy briefings and roundtable discussion with McCrory and other civic and business leaders, according to a fundraising invitation.

It costs $10,000 for two to attend the entire two-day event and benefits the Renew North Carolina Foundation, an entity created by key allies to the governor formerly known as the Foundation for North Carolina, which hosted its own inaugural ball. About 100 to 150 people are expected to attend, organizers said.

McCrory's transition team roster

Pat McCrory announced his transition team Thursday. Click below to see all the members and biographies provided by the McCrory campaign.

Charlotte rare win Tue. for Dems

Charlotte defied what there was of a national tide Tuesday night, electing a Democratic mayor and 8 to 3 Democratic majority on city council.

Anthony Foxx became Charlotte's first Democratic mayor in 22 years and the second youngest in memory, defeating Republican John Lassiter on a night when Republicans won the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races. The explanation lies at least partly in Charlotte's demographic changes and the lack of a Democratic challenger with any political muscle in past races.

Now-U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, a Republican, defeated then-Mayor Harvey Gantt, a Democrat and African-American, in 1987, beginning a GOP hold on the office that didn't end until last night. But Myrick won by fewer than 1,000 votes in a city that was then 25 percent black. Charlotte is now 35 percent black, and Foxx will be the second African-American mayor.

In seven campaigns over 14 years, outgoing Mayor Pat McCrory never faced a strong Democratic opponent. He does, however, enjoy wide bipartisan support that a recent poll indicated was helping Lassiter.

Lastly Republicans failed to expand their base of support beyond the south-to-southeast wedge of Charlotte that has long been their base.

McCrory exits with influence

Pat McCrory may have lost last year’s race for governor and then opted not to run for reelection as Charlotte’s mayor, but he’s still got clout with voters.

McCrory’s popularity among Charlotte voters is boosting the campaign of his fellow Republican, John Lassiter, according to an analysis by Tom Jensen, of the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling.

McCrory holds broad support among Republicans and even more than a third of Democrats approve of the job he has done.

“His 69 percent approval with independents is one of the best we've measured for any politician in the country this year,” Jensen wrote in a recent blog posting.

Charlotteans looking for door No. 3?

More than a third of Charlotteans have no preference in the mayoral race between Democrat Anthony Foxx and Republican John Lassiter, according to a new Elon University Poll released today.

The poll's analysts said the two candidates have yet to differentiate themselves in the eyes of residents. The poll, conducted in cooperation with Johnson C. Smith University, was part of a larger survey of Mecklenburg County residents. Complete results will be released tomorrow at Johnson C. Smith.

The poll did not ask a head-to-head question in the mayoral race. Instead it asked if Charlotte residents would approve or disapprove of each man as mayor. Thirty-nine percent said they would approve of Foxx. Forty-four percent would approve of Lassiter. The margin of error is 5.9 percentage points. And 35 percent said they were undecided about which party they'll support in November.

The Elon poll shows Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, faring better in Mecklenburg than the state as a whole. In the survey, 35 percent of county residents approve of her performance while 48 percent disapprove. More than half of county residents don't like the way she has handled the state's budget and economy. The margin of error in the county-wide sample is 4.9 percentage points. One poll earlier this month by a Democratic firm found her approval at 26 percent. A survey by a conservative group put it at 29 percent.

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