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Compromise elections plan would protect two Wake school board incumbents

Two incumbent Wake County school board members would get some protection in a compromise being made to a state bill changing elections in the state's largest school district.

Senate Bill 325 redraws the Wake school board election districts and moves when the elections are held and how the winners are elected. The bill has been opposed by Democrats.

House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam has proposed an amendment that would change the boundary lines to move Democratic board vice chairwoman Christine Kushner and Republican board member Deborah Prickett into safe districts.

Stam said he doesn't expect Democrats to back the bill when it's up for a vote Thursday. But the Apex Republican said the Democrats are okay with the amendment. -- T. Keung Hui

Another swing at independent redistricting under way

Another run at taking the politics out of redistricting has emerged this session in the form of a bipartisan bill packed with so many co-sponsors that they constitute a majority in the House.

HB606 would create an independent nonpartisan professional staff that would draw maps that the General Assembly would then approve or reject, with only limited technical amendments permitted.

The main backers of HB606 will try to drum up support at a news conference Wednesday with House Speaker Pro Tem Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Apex; Democratic caucus co-chair Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Raleigh; Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, and Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Fayetteville.

The bill is the same one that passed the House in 2011 on an 88-27 vote. Supporters note that House Speaker Thom Tillis supported redistricting reform when he was in the minority party.

Supporters say that 25 Republicans who didn’t sign on as sponsors of this bill have either voted for the 2011 bill or have said they support redistricting reform.

House GOP leader Skip Stam in line to become speaker pro tem

UPDATED: House Majority Leader Paul "Skip" Stam is poised to become Speaker Pro Tem.

Stam, an Apex Republican, said after six years as the chamber's GOP leader it's time to shift positions. "I believe in term limits at the leadership level and I want to set a good example," he said in an interview Wednesday.

The move would set him up for a potential run for House Speaker in 2014, when House Speaker Thom Tillis plans to step down as part of self-imposed term limits. Stam declined to discuss whether he would run again. (He lost to Tillis in 2010.) "I may run in two years but I'm not spending one second on that for the next long period of time," he said. 

Morning Roundup: McCrory cruising on campaign trail, Dalton cash-strapped

North Carolina’s two candidates for governor began the final week of the campaign a study in contrasts.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the state’s lieutenant governor, was on the attack and raising money, hoping a final surge would allow him to close what the polls suggest is a wide gap with his GOP opponent. Meanwhile, a buoyant Republican Pat McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor, hit a diner and a local GOP headquarters and warned his supporters against overconfidence. Full story here.

More political headlines:

--Gov. Bev Perdue is sitting on $1.2 million as Democrat Walter Dalton faces a 6-to-1 cash deficit to Republican Pat McCrory

Gay-rights advocates back Stam opponent

Jason Wunsch, the Democratic opponent to House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam of Apex, has received the backing of Wake County activists who are upset with Stam’s lead role in passing several key laws favored by conservatives this past session.

The Raleigh GLBT Report, a website for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual community, came out in support of Wunsch this week. The Report also published a letter of support from former Raleigh minister Jimmy Creech and his wife, Chris Weedy.

They acknowledge Wunsch’s campaign is “a David and Goliath fight on several levels.” Stam is a six-term member of the House and, as one of its Republican leaders, sits on a well-financed campaign fund.

The Wunsch supporters cite Stam’s role in the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, the law restricting abortions, the Racial Justice Act, private school legislation and his support for fracking.

Wunsch is a lawyer in Fuquay-Varina.

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