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Morning Memo: Harris to enter Senate race; Black Caucus wants DHHS inquiry

MARK HARRIS TO MAKE U.S. SENATE BID OFFICIAL: Rev. Mark Harris plans to tell supporters Thursday that he’s decided to enter the race for Republican U.S. Senate nomination early next month, party sources told the Charlotte Observer. Harris, pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, has been on a "listening tour" around the state.

He’s expected to announce Oct. 2. Harris would join a list of GOP candidates that include House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius and Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary. The winner would face Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

WHERE CONGRESS STANDS ON SYRIA: An interactive graphic makes it easy to see where North Carolina’s congressional delegation -- and those in other states -- stand on the Syria question. Take a look here.

***Below in the Dome Morning Memo -- the latest on the DHHS salary controversy and state elections inquiry of a lawmaker’s campaign spending.***

Dems ask for money to pay lawyers handling redistricting suit

Legislative Democrats sent out a fundraising letter today asking for money to pay for the Democrats' redistricting lawsuit.

Democrats, civil rights groups and nonprofits suing over the GOP-drawn maps have had some setbacks recently. Their effort to get state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby to recuse himself from redistricting decisions failed. The larger case is remains in front of a panel of three Superior Court judges. "Carrying this fight to the courts is an expensive proposition, but critical for the future of our state," the email says.

Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt of Asheville, House Minority Leader Larry Hall of Durham, Senate minority whip Josh Stein of Raleigh and House deputy minority leader Michael Wray of Gaston signed the email.

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