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Morning Memo: Vice President Biden to raise money for Kay Hagan

VICE PRESIDENT TO HEADLINE HAGAN FUNDRAISER: Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise campaign cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.

The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.

A day earlier, Hagan will hold another fundraiser in Durham at the Deer Chase Gardens hosted by Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin, the property’s owners. The more than two-dozen hosts for the reception are paying $1,000 each. The top ticket is the maximum federal contribution to a candidate, $2,600. The host list includes big local Democratic donors, such as John Replogle, John Sall and Amy Tiemann. The minimum ticket costs $150.

***Read more about the 2014 Senate race and more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Cooper's unofficial debut; peek inside GOP voters' minds

ROY COOPER'S DEBUT: Attorney General Roy Cooper is the featured speaker Saturday morning at the N.C. Democratic Party's Western Gala. The speech at the women's breakfast will serve as his unofficial debut in the 2016 governor's race. In recent weeks, Cooper has made his intentions to run clear and the event will give him a platform to begin gathering Democratic support as other party challengers emerge. Later in the evening, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and R.T. Rybak, the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will speak at the party fundraiser.

***A must-read analysis of Republicans and its potential impact on the N.C. Senate race below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Harris stakes his ground; GOP lawmaker presses McCrory

HARRIS DECLARES HE'S THE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE IN THE RACE: The Rev. Mark Harris, a leading social conservative, entered the North Carolina Senate race Wednesday, setting up a potential insider/outsider GOP primary showdown next May with House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Harris, the outgoing president of the state Baptist Convention, said he would campaign as a staunch advocate for lowering taxes, reducing government, ending Obamacare and protecting gun rights, that he would back measures that he believes would improve “traditional moral values.” Read more here.

GOP SENATOR SAYS McCRORY ADMINISTRATION IS BREAKING THE LAW: A high-ranking Republican state senator said Wednesday that Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is flouting the law. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, complained that McCrory hasn’t named an independent Unemployment Review Board to review decisions on unemployment benefits made by the state Division of Employment Security. Rucho’s remarks came during a legislative committee meeting where lawmakers were questioning Dale Folwell, the agency’s head. Read more here.

***Read more on the Harris announcement and a North Carolina political roundup below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

DC pundit: Tillis 'should be a formidable general-election candidate'

A leading Washington political prognosticator is saying Republican Thom Tillis "should be a formidable general-election candidate." Stuart Rothenberg took a look at the N.C. House speaker's candidacy in the context of interview three other Senate candidates recently.

He writes: At the other end of the spectrum (from the tea party) is Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House and the early favorite for the GOP Senate nomination against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

With shutdown, Richard Burr closes constituent offices in North Carolina

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr announced Tuesday he is shutting down his constituent offices in Winston-Salem, Asheville, Gastonia, Rocky Mount and Wilmington for the duration of the partial government shutdown.

This means Burr's office won't be available to help North Carolinians with questions about Social Security and veteran's benefits, or Medicare and Medicaid -- a key part of a federal lawmaker's services. His Washington office is also operating at a limited capacity, Burr's office said.

Burr, a Republican, has called the GOP effort to defund the federal health care law -- at the threat of a shutdown -- "the dumbest idea I'd ever heard of." On Tuesday, he called the shutdown unfortunate. "My colleagues and I are working to resolve this matter as soon as possible," he said.

National GOP tests attack lines against Kay Hagan

National Republicans are outlining their attack points against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as it seeks to oust her in 2014, labeling her as ineffective and out of step with North Carolina voters.

In a political memo released Monday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is pushing their calculation of Hagan's performance, saying she's "the most ineffective senator in North Carolina's history" by showing the number of bills she sponsored or cosponsored that became law.

Berger, Tillis call voting lawsuit 'baseless,' while Hagan, Democrats cheer move

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis called the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against the North Carolina voting law "baseless."

Reacting to the lawsuit, the two Republican legislative leaders issued a joint statement saying it is "nothing more than an obvious attempt to quash the will of the voters and hinder a hugely popular voter ID requirement."

"The law was designed to improve consistency, clarity and uniformity at the polls and it brings North Carolina’s election system in line with a majority of other states," the statement continued. "We are confident it protects the right of all voters, as required by the U.S. and North Carolina Constitutions.”

Meanwhile, Democrats and interest groups cheered the move, including U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who had urged the Justice Department to review the law.

Morning Memo: Feds to challenge N.C. voting law; Senate candidates scrap for cash

FEDS TO CHALLENGE NORTH CAROLINA’S VOTING LAW: The U.S. Department of Justice will file a lawsuit Monday to stop North Carolina’s new voter ID law, which critics have said is the most sweeping law of its kind, according to a person briefed on the department’s plans.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who has said he will fight state voting laws that he sees as discriminatory, will announce the lawsuit at noon Monday, along with the three U.S. attorneys from the state. Critics said the law will disenfranchise African-American and elderly voters, while the Republican-led General Assembly in Raleigh said the law will protect the state’s voters from potential fraud.

***Read more on the forthcoming lawsuit, get #NCSEN updates and a roundup of North Carolina political headlines below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Burr explains vote on continuing resolution, Obamacare

Republican Sen. Richard Burr voted Friday to allow a plan to keep the federal government open past Tuesday to go forward, while maintaining Obamacare.

Burr was one of 25 Republicans who voted to shut down debate in a 79-19 vote.

“I have voted 56 times to defeat, dismantle, and defund Obamacare,'' Burr said in a statement. "When Obamacare was first brought before the Senate in 2009, my fellow Republicans and I on the HELP Committee did everything in our power to stop this bill from moving forward. After Democrats rammed it through committee on a straight party-line vote, Senator Coburn and I spent countless hours on the Senate floor to rally against the bill and used every procedural tactic at our disposal to block its passage. Unfortunately, the 2008 elections gave Democrats an overwhelming majority in Washington, which they used to force Obamacare into law.''

Thom Tillis tries to deflect ethical questions

U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis danced around a question about his recent appointments of big donors to UNC posts and tried to pivot to attack Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.

In an interview with CQ/Roll Call posted online Thursday, Tillis faced a question about a News & Observer report that showed major donors to his campaign getting seats on the UNC Board of Governors. Tillis called the storyline "tired old arguments" and his appointees "some of the greatest people in North Carolina."

"It is disingenuous at the very best probably misleading or dishonest in reality because (Democrats) did it at levels that we would never allow," Tillis said.

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