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Morning Memo: Democrats hit GOP on education in new ad campaign

SEE IT HERE FIRST: N.C. Democrats launch ad campaign hitting GOP on education: The headline "Republican leadership has failed teachers in North Carolina" is hitting newspapers across the state this week in full-page advertisements paid for by the N.C. Democratic Party. The ads target 17 legislative districts (eight Senate, nine House) and criticize Republicans for not increasing teacher pay, forcing class size increases, eliminating some teacher assistants, ending the back-to-school tax holiday, cutting money for textbooks and supplies, taking away the graduate school bonus for (future) teachers and allowing private school vouchers.

"We’re putting Gov. McCrory and Republican legislators on notice that their assault on public education is not going unnoticed," said Robert Dempsey, the party's executive director.

***See the ad and get a list of the targeted lawmakers below in today's Dome Morning Memo.***


National Journal looks at Raleigh and Wake County school bond issue

The National Journal is focusing on Raleigh for its latest “America 360”series looking at “forward-thinking local economies.”

The focus of its first article Monday is on next month’s $810 million Wake County school construction bond referendum. The magazine bills itself as “Washington’s premier source of nonpartisan insight on politics and policy,” but the article is an attack on Republicans.

One hint of the tone of the piece is the headline: “The GOP Plan to Sabotage Raleigh's Successful Growth.”

Phil Berger thinking about challenging Kay Hagan

Republican state Sen. Phil Berger is elaborating just a little more about his thought process on whether he will challenge Democrat Kay Hagan for her U.S. Senate seat in 2014. Berger, the President Pro Tem, told National Journal that he's "thought about it some."

"I've been approached by a number of folks who've suggested that that's something that I need to consider, or something that they would like for me to consider," Berger told the Journal. If it doesn't sound like much, it isn't. (But then again, Berger offered little when asked the same question earlier this year.)

Berger visited Washington on Monday to speak at an event for the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee. Ray Martin, the political director for the state Senate GOP, told National Journal that he didn't meet with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a gatekeeper in the GOP nominee process.

But Berger's quotes in the piece sure sounded straight from the national GOP playbook.

Ellmers on Club for Growth most unwanted list

Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers a liberal? Who knew?

The congresswoman from Dunn, who is serving her second term representing the state's 2nd Congressional District, is on the list of Republicans that the limited government, low-tax group Club for Growth wants out.

The Club for Growth has Ellmers on its PrimaryMyCongressman website, where people are supposed to suggest primary opponents for Republicans elected to Congress scoring below 70 percent on the Club's scorecard. The site criticizes Ellmers for siding with House GOP leadership too often.

Tagging Ellmers as a Republican In Name Only seems to conflict with a recent National Journal assessment, which said she was the 43rd most conservative U.S. House member. The National Journal scored her as more conservative than Republican House colleagues Virginia Foxx, Patrick McHenry, Howard Coble and Walter Jones.

Ellmers easily survived a primary last year on her way to winning a re-election.

Hagan ranks in Senate's ideological middle; Ellmers among most conservative

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan ranks in the ideological middle, according to the latest rankings from the National Journal. The Democrat, who faces re-election in 2014, ranks the 48th most liberal of the 100 senators, or 52 most conservative, depending on how you look at it.

Her Republican counterpart U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is the 23rd most conservative member in the chamber, the nonpartisan national political magazine found. National Journal ranked the lawmakers on 116 votes that showed differences in ideological viewpoint in the 112th Congress.

Among Democrats in the House, Congressman David Price is the most liberal at No. 32, followed by Mel Watt (45), former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller (83), G.K. Butterfield (121). On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick was the 32nd most conservative, followed by Reps. Renee Ellmers (43), Virginia Foxx (55), Patrick McHenry (62), Howard Coble (153) and Walter Jones (242).

Morning Memo: McCrory gets campaign cash from indicted donor, Hudson on the rise

GOP GOV REPORTS CAMPAIGN CASH WELL AFTER ELECTION DAY: Pat McCrory won the governor's race Nov. 6 but campaign donors kept filling his coffers through the end of the year, according to new campaign finance reports. The Republican reported raising more than $42,000 after Election Day putting his total haul for the entire campaign at $12.3 million -- nearly three times as much as Democratic rival Walter Dalton, who raised $4.3 million.

McCRORY REPORTS DONATION FROM INDICTED DONOR:One more donation listed after the election: Trawick "Buzzy" Stubbs. He gave McCrory $1,000 in a check reported Nov. 27.

Stubbs was indicted in 2012 for his political donations to Gov. Bev Perdue in the 2008 race involving a plane he allowed the Democrat to use in the campaign. He is charged with obstruction of justice and causing the campaign to file false reports. After his indictment, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, then just a candidate, returned the $250 donation Stubbs gave his campaign. The case is still pending and Stubbs is challenging the charges.

This is the Dome Morning Memo, a political tipsheet covering North Carolina politics. Read more campaign finance exclusive and a news roundup below.

Sunday reads for the Democratic convention

Two good Sunday long reads ahead of the Democratic convention in Charlotte:

From Politico's Jonathan Martin: "Ever since his national debut at the 2004 Democratic convention, Barack Obama’s calling card has been that he practices consensus-oriented politics that transcend traditional divisions. But four years after his historic presidential election, the country he sought to bring together is even more divided than when he launched his candidacy. And no place is more polarized than the South."

From National Journal's Beth Reinhard: "North Carolina crystallizes a key question looming over the 2012 election and those to follow: Can Hispanics translate their growing numbers into greater political clout on relatively unfamiliar ground? Although Hispanics’ voting participation lags their population numbers almost everywhere, states with long-standing Latino communities—such as California, Florida, New York, and Texas—boast battle-tested political infrastructures of liberal, minority, and labor groups that sweep Hispanic voters to the polls every Election Day."

National Journal: N.C. governor's office ranks most likely to switch parties

National Journal's political prognosticators issued a dubious ranking with North Carolina at the top: most likely governor's office to change parties.

The analysis doesn't tout Republican Pat McCrory's positives, or Democrat Walter Dalton's negatives, so much as reflect Gov. Bev Perdue's shadow on the race. North Carolina bests Washington state and Montana, the other top two states.

Here's the writeup: "The fundamentals of the contest between Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and Republican former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory haven't changed much. Each candidate is working to undermine the other's image — Dalton wants McCrory to release his tax returns, McCrory wants to see Dalton's travel records — but the advantage lies with McCrory. That's largely because Walton's boss, Gov. Bev Perdue, is so unpopular. In an era of increased partisanship, it's going to be tough for Dalton to convince North Carolinians to give the Democratic Party another shot, albeit with a different candidate."

Lagging in the political money race

Members of the state's Congressional delegation have drawn notice this week for not raising much campaign money.

"North Carolina Democrats," including U.S. Reps. Brad Miller, David Price, Larry Kissell, and Heath Shuler, were fifth on the National Journal's list of 10 House fundraising flops.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers was mentioned in a Politico piece about GOP freshmen's lackluster fund raising.

Miller and Kissell on endangered list

Two North Carolina congressmen have made the list of the “Top 10 Most Endangered Democrats” in the U.S. House next year as compiled by The Cook Political Report and distributed by The National Journal, a non-partisan publication which covers Congress.

They cited 13th District Rep. Brad Miller of Raleigh and 8th District Rep. Larry Kissell of Biscoe.

“After eluding serious competition since he drew this district for himself as a state senator in 2002,” the Cook Political Report writes, “North Carolina's Miller is getting ready for a taste of his own medicine. Or will he take a pass? Miller reported raising just $32,000 in the first quarter of 2011. Smart money has Republicans tossing Miller's Democratic base in Raleigh in with Democratic Rep. David Price's base in Durham and Chapel Hill, leaving Miller with little choice but to retire or run in a heavily  Republican seat outside the Research Triangle.”

As for Kissell, the Cook Political Report writes that he has relied on black voters at the district's two urban extremities – Charlotte and Fayetteville.

“Now that Republicans control redistricting for the first time, they have zero incentive to keep these Democratic gold mines in the 8th congressional district. By next fall, this district could be at least 10 points more Republican and a slam dunk for a conservative GOPer from the Charlotte suburbs.”

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