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Renee Ellmers draws GOP opposition

Republican freshman Renee Ellmers has drawn two Republican challengers as she tries to defend her 2nd district congressional seat.

They are Sonya Holmes of Broadway, an executive with Holmes Poultry and Clement Munna of Aberdeen.

Ellmers was elected in 2010 when she defeated Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers on 'lowest net worth' list

The Washington Post and The New York Times published articles this month about the wealth of Congress members. Their point: the median net worth of people serving in Congress is increasing while the median net worth of American families as a whole is declining.

The Post has slideshows of Congress members who are the wealthiest and poorest. The Post article focused on House members, but the slideshows include members of both chambers.

No one in the North Carolina delegation is on the list of 25 richest.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers made it on to the list of 25 with the least net worth. The Dunn Republican is No. 18, with an average net worth of -$91,497 in 2010, according to an analysis of financial disclosures by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Ellmers has a change of heart on big dollar fund raisers

Freshman Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn has moved easily into the Washington world with appearances on TV and appearing at the side of key House GOP leaders in negotiations over the payroll tax cut extension.

She has become acclimated to Washington in other ways as well.

Last year when she was running against Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge she wrote on her blog that “no one – not even in Washington – is silly enough to pay $2,500 for a single plate” of food and solicited her donors to “put an end to politics as usual in Washington.”

That was last year. Last month, Ellmers held a Washington fund raiser that cost $2,500 to co-host featuring House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The event was held Nov. 20th. and was attended by much of the North Carolina delegation.

Ellmers will play role in payroll tax negotiations

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn will serve on a joint Congressional committee formed today to resolve Senate and House differences on the payroll tax increase extension.

On Tuesday, the House moved to enter into negotiations between a one-year extension passed by the House and a two-month extension passed by the Senate. Ellmers was one of three freshman members House Speaker John Boehner named to the eight-member House committee.

Ellmers dismissed questions about her experience and said freshman make up a large portion of membership and needed a voice at the table.

"I am ready and willing to get this thing ironed out so that hardworking Americans won't see their taxes go up," she said.

Etheridge looking at rematch with Ellmers

Democrat Bob Etheridge is considering running for the congressional seat he lost last year to Republican Renee Ellmers.

“I've been getting a lot of phone calls, I can promise you that,” Etheridge said this afternoon. “ I've been evaluating it.”

“I do enjoy it," he said. "I think I made a difference. I'm like any American right now – frustrated at what is going on with the Tea Party folks up there. I think they have pushed our country to the brink three times this year, and lost our country its AAA bond rating as a result of that.”

Etheridge, represented the second district for seven terms, before losing to Ellmers last fall,  in part because an episode in which he grabbed a young man posing as a student – which the National Republican Congressional Committee after the election acknowledged was an operative – who sought to question and videotape him on a Washington street.

Since then, Etheridge, 70, has worked in Raleigh, overseeing the distribution of the stimulus money. In recent months he has headed state recovery efforts for Hurricane Irene.

Under the redistricting plan adopted by the GOP-led legislature, the 2nd district has been made more Republican. But Etheridge said it is still winnable for a Democrat, particularly in a presidential year.

Etheridge, who lives in Lillington, has actually been moved into the 4th congressional district under the redistricting plan. The plan puts all three Democrats who had represented the Triangle in recent years, Etheridge, David Price, and Brad Miller in the 4th. But congressmen are not required to live in their district run.

Etheridge said he asked state  Rep. David Lewis, chairman of the House redistricting committee and a fellow Harnett County resident, about being moved out the district he had long represented.

“He said he doesn't know where I live,” Etheridge said. “It makes me wonder about his level of honesty or his intelligence.”

Etheridge said he will sit down with supporters after the beginning of the year to discuss his options.

It's not just Art Pope bankrolling the Locke Foundation

With the Republicans in power in the legislature, some of the corporate big boys are opening up their wallets to help support the John Locke Foundation, the Raleigh-based conservative think tank that provides ideas and other support for the GOP lawmakers.

Banks, insurance companies, tobacco manufacturers, beer distributors, accounting firms and others are among the sponsors for the Locke Foundation's annual dinner to held January 21st at the North Ridge Country Club.

The executive sponsors for the dinner, who give $10,000 each, include the BB&T Corp., Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North  Carolina, CaptiveAire, K.P.B. Corporation, and New Breed Logistics Inc.

Listed above those companies on the invitation, although it is not clear how much it gave, was Reynolds American Inc.

Giving $5,000 each were Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and Triangle Securities Wealth Management.

Giving $2,500 each are Carolina Strategy Group, Hicks & Associates, which is connected to Amerprise financial Services; Lorillard Tobacco Company, Metro Productions, North Carolina Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association, the Parker Poe law firm, and Red Oak Brewery.

The featured speaker is Brit Hume, a political analyst for the Fox News Channel. Being honored is Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers and Lisa Baldwin, a member of the Buncombe County school board.

The Locke foundation was started by Raleigh businessman Art Pope.

Ellmers is target of Democratic robo calls

The Democrats have targeting 20 Republican House members, including Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn with robo calls, before tonight's vote on extending the payroll tax cut, according to The Washington Post.

The record message is being sent into households by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The voice is that of Democratic strategist James Carville.

“Thirty-nine Republicans in the Senate voted for the middle class tax cut,” says the recorded message. “But Rep. Ellmers is ready to scrap it and sock the middle class with another tax hike on January 1.”

UPDATE: Ellmers said she opposed the measure.
“Last week w passed a bill here in the House that extends the payroll tax cut for a year full year,” Ellmer said in a statement. “But instead of passing the House bill, or another bill which extended the payroll credit for a year, the Democrats in the Senate opted for a meager two month extension. That's the definition of uncertainty."

Eric Cantor in Raleigh to raise cash for Congresswoman Renee Ellmers

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is known for his red meat conservatism in Congress, so he's visiting the right place when he travels today to Raleigh.

Cantor, a Virginia Republican, is helping host a fundraiser for N.C. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers at Angus Barn, a mecca for red meat -- actual meat, not just the oratorical kind -- in the capital city.

The 5 p.m. event costs between $150 and $2,500 to attend, according to an invitation posted on a local conservative blog. The fundraiser is the second in a week for Ellmers  that featured a prominent Republican congressional leader. House Speaker John Boehner was expected at a Nov. 16 Ellmers fundraiser in Washington.

Ellmers' supporters see the moves as indication of her rising star power in Congress, while Democrats believe the big money raising suggests she'll need help in the next election.

Ellmers hosts D.C. fundraiser tonight featuring Speaker Boehner

As noted by POLITICO, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers is hosting a fundraiser tonight featuring House Speaker John Boehner. The "star power" suggests a good turnout for the event, which costs between $500 and $2,500 to attend. The speaker's presence is further indication that Ellmers, a Dunn freshman, is emerging as a rising GOP leader.

Members of the North Carolina GOP delegation, led by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, is expected to join Ellmers, who represents the 2nd District. 

Ellmers tells Triangle builders she's working to reduce taxes and roll back regulations

Republican freshman Rep. Renee Ellmers told a group of Triangle contractors and builders today that she is working hard to roll back the "job killing" taxes and regulations passed by the Obama administration.

Ellmers, of Dunn, was the featured speaker at a meeting of the Associated Builders and Contractors Triangle Council.

"We know what is harming you as small business owners," Ellmers told the crowd at the RBC Center. "The government right now, this administration, has increased the cost of doing business incredibly."

She said she's working to decrease regulations and taxes on business. That, Ellmers said, will lead to more innovation and jobs.

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