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Senate GOP raised big cash during legislative session

Senate Republicans out-raised their Democratic counterparts by more than 12 to 1 during the first half of 2013, and GOP senators had four times more cash remaining in their campaign accounts than Democrats as of June 30, an analysis by the Insider's Patrick Gannon shows.

Senate Republicans on average raised nearly $38,000 during the first six months of 2013, a figure boosted by the $475,000 raised by their leader, Sen. Phil Berger of Rockingham County. Democrats raised $5,800 on average, with Sen. Martin Nesbitt of Buncombe County leading that caucus by collecting about $26,600 in donations.

In all, 32 Republicans (fundraising totals for Sen. Dan Soucek weren't available) raised more than $1.2 million. The 17 Senate Democrats brought in $99,000 from Jan. 1 through June 30, according to campaign finance data filed with the State Board of Elections.

The numbers show the sitting GOP lawmakers with a sizable cash advantage early in the election cycle, which isn't unusual as donors typically gravitate to the political party that controls legislation.

Morning Memo: Tax plan takeaways, full day at legislature

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The sausage machine is churning fast these days. A House regulatory reform committee will consider a number of measures to streamline government oversight, a major Republican agenda item, and the House Elections Committee will hear bills to repeal the state's antiquated literacy test and make judicial elections partisan contests. A Senate education committee will vote on a bill to regulate student prayers at school and athletic events and a Senate health care care committee takes up another abortion-related bill. The full House will take votes on a bill to impose term limits on House and Senate leaders and a proposal to repeal the estate tax. The full Senate will hear a measure to ban e-cigarette sales to minors. Gov. Pat McCrory will make an economic development announcement at 3 p.m. in Raleigh.

***More political intelligence below in the Dome Morning Memo including analysis of the Senate's tax plan and a roundup of the fast and furious legislative action. Send news and tips to dome Thanks.***

Pre-session fundraiser successful for Senate Republicans

The state’s Senate Republican Caucus had quite a haul at a fundraiser this week.

The pre-session shindig, held at former ambassador Jim Cain’s home in Raleigh on Tuesday night, collected about $100,000, organizers say.

State law restricts financial contributions to legislators when the General Assembly is in session. So, Tuesday night’s event came in just under the wire before the Wednesday session began.

GOP raises money from veto override

The Republicans earlier this week said they were shocked – just shocked – that Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue put a fund raising link at the end of a letter to supporters announcing her veto of the budget bill.

Now the Republicans have done the same thing.

The Republican Senate Caucus has sent out an email to supporters hailing the passage of the budget – and its override of Perdue's veto.

And at the bottom there is a link where supporters can donate and a note that Visa, Master Card, Discover and American Express Cards are accepted.

When Perdue had included a fund raising link, state GOP spokesman Mark Braden said, "It is clear that Gov. Perdue used her veto of the common-sense, bipartisan proposal to raise money for her floundering relection campaign."

After the GOP criticism, Perdue aides withdrew the fund raising link saying the governor had not authorized it.

UPDATE: Braden said there was a major difference between the two letters. The Perdue letter had fund raising links within the text of the letter — which are still active. That made it a fund raising letter. The GOP Senate caucus letter did not have fund raising links within the text but was simply informational. Braden said the request for donation was part of the template that the Senate caucus uses in its email service.

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