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Morning Memo: Vice President Biden to raise money for Kay Hagan

VICE PRESIDENT TO HEADLINE HAGAN FUNDRAISER: Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise campaign cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.

The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.

A day earlier, Hagan will hold another fundraiser in Durham at the Deer Chase Gardens hosted by Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin, the property’s owners. The more than two-dozen hosts for the reception are paying $1,000 each. The top ticket is the maximum federal contribution to a candidate, $2,600. The host list includes big local Democratic donors, such as John Replogle, John Sall and Amy Tiemann. The minimum ticket costs $150.

***Read more about the 2014 Senate race and more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Who's ready for 2016? PPP poll puts Democrats ahead of McCrory

Less than a year into Gov. Pat McCrory's term, a new Democratic poll indicates that voters are looking for an alternative.

Public Policy Polling -- a Raleigh firm never shy about looking far ahead to the next hypothetical political contest -- tested the Republican governor against four Democrats and found the challengers all held an edge, though ever-so-slightly in certain cases.

Attorney General Roy Cooper shows the best in a potential 2016 matchup, topping McCrory by 6 percentage points. State Treasurer Janet Cowell, former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and state Sen. Josh Stein all edge the governor but within the margin of error. (From PPP: McCrory's down 48/42 to Cooper, 47/43 to Cowell, 45/42 to Meeker, and 44/42 to Stein.) The Sept. 6-9 poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus four percent.

Washington Post looks at NC Democratic lineup

The Washington Post has been spending a lot of time in Raleigh lately.

Earlier in the week, its GovBeat state and local government blog looked at the GOP lineup against Sen. Kay Hagan. The piece included an extended interview with “an impeccably coiffed man in a pinstriped suit and French cuffs named Thom Tillis.”

On Friday, the blog on Friday took a look at Democratic contenders for governor, following a rough week for the Republican incumbent.

Senate matches House, gives tax bill initial consent

Just hours after the House, the N.C. Senate voted 32-17 to give preliminary approval to a tax deal. The talking points echoed the House but the Senate gave the bill a more thorough discussion.

Republicans leading the effort said the legislation would boost the state’s economy and give every taxpayer a break once its fully implemented. Democrats argued that the wealthiest will get the bulk of the tax cuts, while lower- and middle-class taxpayers may see tax hikes.

Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said it is a start toward broad-based reform that will help reduce the state's fifth-highest-in-the-nation jobless rate. But state Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat, countered saying it doesn't represent tax reform. "Y'all left it behind," he said. "This represents tax breaks for the wealthy and out of state corporations."

"Big Gulp" bill clears Senate committee

A Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would prevent people from suing food suppliers for making them fat and prevent municipalities from limiting the size of sodas for sale.

Known as the "Big Gulp bill," it is based on model legislation from the free-market group American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat, called the bill "a solution in search of a problem," because it would be nearly impossible for someone to win a lawsuit blaming food for making them obese. In North Carolina, if someone contributes one percent to their injury, they have no claim.

Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenburg Republican, said the law would prevent "legal extortion."

Bill loosens reins on charters

A state Senate committee approved a charter school bill that would free them from going to the State Board of Education for permission to add grades, and would allow the charters to give enrollment preference to siblings of school alumni.

Most parents get their children into charters by entering them in lotteries, but the law allows schools to give preferences in admissions to enrolled students' brothers and sisters and the children of teachers and principals. The most successful charters have many more students entering their lotteries than they have available seats.

Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat, said extending the sibling preference wouldn't be fair. "If someone wants to apply, there should be an equal shot," he said.

The amendment was approved on a close voice vote.

North Carolina lawmakers win easily against South Carolina in charity game

RALEIGH -- A deep bench and powerful inside presence under the basket gave North Carolina lawmakers the advantage they needed to make a second half run and beat a squad of South Carolina legislators 35 -27 in a charity game Wednesday.

With the win at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina reclaimed the trophy from its southern rival and extended its series lead to 11-6 in an on-again, off-again competition that dates to 1979.

"It was a great game," said Rep. Burt Jones, a Rockingham Republican who coached the team and reveled in his post-game interview. "I think we played just a little bit better. ... We had a little run in the second half and pulled away."

The 6-foot, 5-inch center Rep. Chris Millis, a Hampstead Republican, scored big points for the bipartisan N.C. General Assembly team and swatted a few big South Carolina shots, easily winning the crowd's MVP nod. "Everybody played hard," he said, sounding just like a professional athlete. "It was a team win."

Gov. Pat McCrory made an appearance in the second half, playing good minutes but later clanked two free throws late in the game. "I've never been so nervous in my life," McCrory said at the line.

Democratic strategists Nation Hahn, wife Jamie stabbed; Jon Broyhill charged

Police have charged a man with stabbing and seriously wounding two well-known Democratic political strategists at their home in North Raleigh on Monday evening.

Jonathon Wayne Broyhill is accused of stabbing Nation Richard Hahn and his wife, Jameson Kirk Hahn, at 1705 Tealwood Place. Broyhill, 31, has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Police say Broyhill knew the Hahns but have not disclosed what led to the stabbing, except to say that investigators think “the events underlying the incident were not domestic in nature.” Broyhill was also injured and taken to the hospital.

State employee non-discrimination bills

Democrats in the state House and Senate filed bills this week that would prohibit state and local governments from making employment decisions based on a person's sexual orientation.

Equality NC plans to promote the bills when supporters come to the Legislative Building on April 16.

Supporters have failed for years to get this legislation passed. When Democrats ran the legislature, getting a committee to hear the bill was a notable event.

Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat who filed this session's Senate bill, sponsored an identical bill last session that died in the Senate Rules Committee.

Morning Memo: McCrory in spotlight in MetLife deal

BIG JOBS DEAL PUTS McCRORY IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Charlotte law firm Moore & Van Allen, where Gov. Pat McCrory was employed until just days before taking office, helped the New York-based insurance company negotiate with state and local governments to receive more than $94 million in taxpayer-funded incentives in return for the promise to add more than 2,600 jobs in the next three years. The connection raises questions in the minds of Democrats about McCrory’s role in the deal and again shines light on his employment at the law firm, which also runs a lobbying practice in Raleigh. Republicans used similar concerns to reject a major economic development project under Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, citing how the company hired a Raleigh law firm that employed her son.

TODAY IN POLITICS: McCrory will tout the MetLife deal at another event in Charlotte Friday. The U.S. Labor Department reports the national unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, a four year low. The full N.C. Mining and Energy Commission meets Friday as the debate about what to do with fracking waste remains unresolved and lawmakers are getting involved.

Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo. Much more on the MetLife deal and the political implications below. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. Have a good weekend and Go Heels!

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