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Morning Memo: Ahead of 2014 race, Berger, Tillis hit by national Democrats

2014 WATCH: National Democrats hit potential GOP candidates Tillis, Berger on Ryan budget. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis are making enough moves toward challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagain in 2014 that its attracting the attention of national Democrats. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is asking whether the two Republicans support Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan. "Republicans in Washington are back with their Medicare-busting budget plan, but potential GOP Senate hopefuls Phil Berger and Thom Tillis have yet to tell North Carolinians where they stand," starts a statement from the DSCC set for release later Tuesday.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House will consider a bill to curtail local building design standards that local mayors want stopped dead in its tracks (more below) as well as a measure to limit tanning beds for those under age 18. House convenes at 1 p.m.; Senate convenes at 2 p.m. Gov. Pat McCrory will make a school safety announcement in Apex in the morning.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for exclusive North Carolina political news and analysis. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. Read more below.***

Romney will pick up NC Electoral College votes in Dec. 17 ceremony

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will officially receive North Carolina's Electoral College votes when electors prepare Certificates of Votes in a Dec. 17 ceremony at the Capitol Building in downtown Raleigh.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who oversees the process, announced the plans on Wednesday.

Electors will convene in the Old Hall of the House of Representatives at noon.

Voters on Election Day determined by a popular vote determined that electors nominated by the state Republican Party will cast the official 15 ballots for the state.

GOP representatives will cast their ballots and prepare Certificates of Vote for president and vice president of the United States.

Conservative group twists Bowles' praise of Paul Ryan in mailer

In a mailer being distributed around North Carolina, the conservative American Future Fund is running a partial quote by Erskine Bowles, when the co-chairman of President Barack Obama's deficit commission offered a couple lines of praise for Republican vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan.

Beneath a section called “bi-partisan praise for Paul Ryan's approach to issues,” Bowles is quoted from a 2011 speech when he said, “Have any of you met Paul Ryan? I’m telling you this guy is amazing. I always thought that I was okay with arithmetic, but this guy can run circles around me. And, he is honest. He is straightforward. He is sincere.”

It's fair to say Bowles praised Ryan's approach to policy, but the former chief-of-staff to Bill Clinton went on in the same speech to give a point-by-point criticism of Ryan's policy proposal itself.

'Mr. Rouzer, don't touch my Medicare,' seniors say in new TV ad

In a new television ad, Mike McIntyre is hitting Republican rival David Rouzer with the Romney-Ryan plan to revamp Medicare. 

"Mr. Rouzer, don't touch my Medicare," an elderly gentleman says in the 30-second spot, which features a number of senior citizens echoing the same message.

Morning Roundup: State Supreme Court battle one of top races on ballot

The Republican and Democratic parties are paying particular attention this year to one down ballot race: N.C. Supreme Court. Although judicial elections are officially nonpartisan, there are strong partisan stakes in the outcome of this race. In the balance is the current 4-3 split on the state Supreme Court that currently tips conservative. Incumbent Paul Newby is a registered Republican and challenger Sam "Jimmy" Ervin IV, an appeals court judge, is a Democrat.

The importance of the race is why outside interests have started raising money for their candidate – in this case, Newby – to bolster the limited funds candidates can raise. Both candidates received $240,100 in public financing; Newby has raised about $94,000 from individuals and Ervin about $85,000, in the first half of this year. Read more about the race here.

More political headlines:

--After a week of moves to the middle on taxes, health care and abortion, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney returned to the South on Thursday to reassure conservatives and evangelical Christians that he’s a would-be president they can trust. Romney began his Tar Heel trip – his fifth visit to the state this year – by making a pilgrimage to Montreat to meet and pray with 93-year-old evangelist Billy Graham.

Price calls Ryan budget a lemon

Democratic Congressman David Price calls the Ryan budget "a lemon" as he speaks Thursday on the House floor about the continuing resolution.

Ryan visits ECU, responds to 'little gathering' in Charlotte

GREENVILLE – While Democrats have turned focus to the other side of the state with the Democratic National Convention kicking off today in Charlotte, Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan attracted an enthusiastic crowd here at East Carolina University.

The Wisconsin Congressman took to a stage assembled on a basketball court at the campus recreation center with AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top” blaring and a crowd of several hundred waving flags and chanting Romney, Ryan.

Ryan's half-hour speech railed against President Barack Obama's record – especially on healthcare and the economy – and he drew a mix of laughs and boos at the mention of that "little gathering going on in Charlotte."

Paul Ryan to campaign in North Carolina during Democratic convention

The Romney campaign confirms Saturday morning that running mate Paul Ryan will appear at a rally at East Carolina University in Greenville on Monday.

Bob Etheridge offers rebuttal to Romney-Ryan plan

Former Democratic Congresman Bob Etheridge penned a guest opinion piece in Friday's News & Observer rebutting the Romney-Ryan plan:

"Last week, at an event in Raleigh, the Republican vice presidential candidate paid a fitting tribute to the Tar Heel state: “North Carolina, when we think of it, is a state with so many resources, so much talent, a great university system,” U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said. “It is known for its research, known for its dynamic.”

Having served with Ryan on the House Budget Committee, I have no doubt he meant this as an earnest compliment. But the irony of his words shouldn’t be lost on anybody who understands both the history of our state and the radical direction that Ryan and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, want to take us." Read the full piece here.

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