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Former top GOP operative to manage Mark Harris' Senate campaign

Rev. Mark Harris won't officially enter North Carolina's U.S, Senate race until next week. But he's already snared another former official of the state Republican Party to run his campaign.

Harris announced that Mike Rusher will manage his campaign. Rusher, former chief of staff for the state GOP, joins former state party chairman Robin Hayes, who will co-chair the Harris campaign.

Harris is pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. He plans a fly-around announcement tour on Oct. 2, starting in Wilmington and ending in Charlotte.

Rusher headed the national GOP Victory Campaign in North Carolina until early August in 2012. Before that he was an aide to state Senate Leader Phil Berger. The announcement of his position with the Harris campaign comes a day after Berger formally bowed out of the Senate race.

Harris will be the fourth Republican to announce for the seat of Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, joining House Speaker Thom Tillis, Cary physician Greg Brannon and Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant.

Jim Morrill of The Charlotte Observer.

Todd Poole named N.C. GOP executive director

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's former chief of staff is taking the helm at the N.C. Republican Party.

Todd Poole will serve as executive director, managing the day-to-day party activities and staff for GOP Chairman Claude Pope.

Poole is a Hickory native who recently opened his own political consulting firm, Red Dome Group. Most recently her served on Foxx's staff and previously worked as an aide to then-Congressman Richard Burr. He also worked in North Carolina on the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004.

N.C. GOP sells access to Gov. Pat McCrory

The N.C. Republican Party has sent out invitations for a private "Governor's Business Roundtable" Wednesday evening featuring Gov. Pat McCrory and state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes, writes the Insider's Patrick Gannon. An email advertising the roundtable and reception says the "future of North Carolina" will be discussed at the event, which will be held at the GOP headquarters on Hillsborough Street.

According to the invite, a "Roundtable Host" pays $5,000 to get two people in, plus a photo opportunity and an annual membership on the Chairman's Advisory Board. For $2,500, an attendee gets a ticket and an annual membership on the Capitol Leadership Council. Two people can get into the reception, but not the roundtable, for $1,000. Checks should be made out to the N.C. Republican Party.

Personnel file: RNC names director for N.C. campaign effort

Republicans continue to add staff in North Carolina as the focus turns to November's election. On Thursday, the Republican National Committee named Mike Rusher as head of the North Carolina campaign efforts.

Rusher is a Wilmington native and UNC-Greensboro graduate who worked for the state GOP in 2008 and 2010. He most recently served as Senate leader Phil Berger's office. In his new gig he will lead the RNC's get-out-the-vote operation and grassroots campaign. 

"North Carolina is a critical state for Republicans in this election and I'm proud to announce that Mike Rusher will be directing the RNC's Victory program in North Carolina," Chairman Reince Priebus said. "North Carolinians have been hit hard by the Obama Economy and with an unemployment rate currently at 9.7% they're ready for Republican leadership in the White House."

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