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Jones joins Ron Paul Institute panel

Congressman Walter Jones has joined the advisory board for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, named after the former presidential candidate and former Texas congressman.

The institute will focus on foreign policy issues including creating a “peace and prosperity index” to record the votes of members of Congress. Besides Jones, the advisory board includes former Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and Rep John Duncan of Tennessee.

At an event Wednesday, Jones gave an intense speech in which he said he regretted his vote authorizing the war in Iraq and said former President George W. Bush should have been impeached for engaging in battle without a declaration of war, according to the National Review Online.

Ron Paul's grandson arrested at Charlotte airport

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul's grandson was arrested Saturday at the Charlotte airport.

According to The Associated Press, William Hilton Paul, 19, the son of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, was charged with consuming alcohol underage, disorderly conduct and being intoxicated and disruptive when the plan landed at 10:49 a.m. Read more from the AP here.

Tar Heel Ron Paul delegates unhappy

TAMPA, Fla. – North Carolina supporters of Texas Congressman Ron Paul were unhappy with the rule changes passed Tuesday by the Republican National Convention that they say will make it more difficult for future grass roots challenges to establishment candidates.

There were seven votes cast for Paul from the North Carolina delegation, with most going to former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney.

“I believe its the establishment Republicans who creating divisions in the Republican Party by basically trying to shut down the future of the party,” said state Rep. Glen Bradley of Youngsville. “If we lose in November it will be on the heads of those who try to shut Republicans down.''

Volunteers help get Rick Santorum's campaign started in North Carolina

Earlier this month, in the days after the Georgia presidential primary, Chuck Campbell drove five hours to Augusta to collect leftover Rick Santorum signs.

Campbell, a volunteer organizer for Santorum’s nascent North Carolina campaign, piled them in his car and brought them to Raleigh to give out to the GOP candidate’s N.C. supporters.

For him, the campaign was just getting started. As one of three statewide coordinators, Campbell is not an official part of Santorum’s presidential campaign. But he serves a key role in the former Pennsylvania senator’s insurgent effort against the leading Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Read more here.

11 candidates will appear on N.C. presidential primary ballots

The state's three recognized political parties submitted a combined 11 names for the May 8 presidential primary.

The Libertarian ballot is the longest with six different candidates: Roger Gary, R.J. Harris, Gary Johnson, Carl Person, Bill Still and Lee Wrights. "The Libertarian Party is growing rapidly on both a state and national level," acting party Chairman J.J. Summerell explained.

The Democrats submitted one name: Barack Obama.

Robin Hayes, chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, submitted four names: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The party didn't include Buddy Roemer, the first Republican presidential primary candidate to qualify for federal matching funds. "The list is comprised of candidates whose candidacy is generally advocated and recognized in the news media ..." Hayes wrote.

The State Board of Elections will make the final determination on the ballot names soon.

Five Questions: Mike Beitler returns to the Republican Party for 2012 campaign

Mike Beitler is making two intriguing political leaps this year. For one, the former U.S. Senate candidate is now running for Secretary of State. And two, he switched his voter registration from the Libertarian Party back to the Republican Party.

In an interview Tuesday, Beitler talked about his reversal, the chances of a third party candidate in North Carolina, Ron Paul and his new campaign. (See video below.)

Morning Roundup: N.C. money fuels presidential race, Etheridge starts campaign

For more on the North Carolina money in the presidential race, take a look at this detailed Charlotte Observer breakdown. And this interactive map lets you search donation totals by zip code. 

If you missed it, Rob Christensen explores how Gov. Bev Perdue' decision to leave the race may have been affected by the boo-ing at the North Carolina basketball game last month. Read story here.

And Democrat Bob Etheridge gave his first speech of his nascent bid for governor. Read a Fayetteville Observer piece here.

And The Charlotte Observer profiles Mary Tribble, the even planner behind the Democratic National Convention.

Six Democratic bundlers help Obama raise $1.1 million in North Carolina

UPDATED: North Carolina gave $1.1 million to President Barack Obama's campaign last year, according to updated campaign finance data filed earlier this week, thanks in part to the work of six Democratic bundlers.

The fourth quarter Obama bundlers -- people who collect checks within the contributions limits in a bundle for the campaign -- were prominent Democratic donors and all from the Triangle area. (Republican candidates combined edged Obama in overall giving in the state, see totals below).

Ranked by the amount bundled, Raleigh businessman John Crumpler is the only North Carolinian in the top tier of fundraisers who brought in more than a half million dollars for the campaign. Kel Landis, a Raleigh money manger and husband of Nina Szlosberg, and Steve Lerner, a UNC-CH trustee and Chapel Hill investor, raised between $100,000 and $200,000 for the president's re-election.

N.C. tea partiers appear to favor Gingrich

In an informal survey by a N.C. tea party group, Newt Gingrich is the preferred Republican candidate for president.

The N.C. Tea Party conducted a "straw poll" by asking visitors to its website to submit a vote yesterday in conjunction with the Florida Republican presidential primary. Those who did favored Gingrich, followed closely by Rick Santorum, then Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, according to a Winston-Salem Journal report.

The survey appears far from scientific but organizers for the advocacy group told the newspaper that 500 people submitted responses. Read more about it here.

Five Questions: The GOP battle for Florida

Republican Pat McCrory is generating some attention today but most of the national party eyes are focused on Florida where the GOP presidential primary contest meets its latest vote.

To get some local perspective on the race, we called Scott Laster, the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party. Laster worked for five years running legislative campaigns in the Sarasota area before working for Florida lawmakers and state agencies. Here's an edited version of our conservation earlier today:

Q: Florida enjoys the political spotlight. How are politics different in the Sunshine State compared to North Carolina? A: "The GOP in Florida took control of the legislature in the mid 90s and they've been solidifying their position since then, whereas in North Carolina its new to have Republican leadership. ... It's a purple state and i consider our state reddish-purple. Florida is more of a swing state."

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