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Wake Republicans and Dems begin organizing

One political cycle ends and the next one begins.

The Wake County Republican Party has set their precinct meetings for Tuesday Feb., 19th at the Exposition Center at the State Fairgrounds. Doors open at 5 p.m. With precinct business beginning at 6 p.m. No speaker has yet been announced.

Meanwhile, the Wake County Democratic Party has scheduled their annual Valentine's Day Fundraiser for Friday Feb. 15 at The Royal Banquet and Conference Center at 3801 Hillsborough St.

Democrats gather Friday night amid buzz over governor's race

The three announced Democratic candidates for governor are scheduled to appear together Friday night at the Wake County Democratic Party's 32nd annual Valentine Fund raiser.

Scheduled to speak are Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, Rep. Bill Faison and former Congressman Bob Etheridge.

The event, which start at 5;30 p.m. at the headquarters of the N.C. Association of Educators Building, is likely to be abuzz about who is and is not likely to get into the race.

Three major Democrats have said they are looking at the race, state Sen. Dan Blue, Congressman Brad Miller, and former state Treasurer Richard Moore.

The word on the street is that Blue seems to be leaning against entering the race. Miller was supposed to have made a decision a week ago, and every day that goes by without any word, raises questions about whether he is having doubts.

Moore is still making calls and seems the most likely of the three to enter the race at this juncture, according to several Democratic insiders.

Wake County Democratic chairman and executive director stepping down

Mack Paul announced today that he’s resigning as chairman of the Wake County Democratic Party.

Paul, who has been chairman since September 2010, said he’s stepping down as of Dec. 31 to refocus on his family and his legal work. He said also wants work on the statewide and Presidential races next year.

Executive Director Tammy Brunner is also leaving to work with the state Democratic party and Obama's campaign, Organizing for America.

One possible name suggested as a replacement: Dan Blue III, the son of state Sen. Dan Blue.

Hot Number

Democratic candidates to replace Rep. Ty Harrell, of Raleigh, who resigned his seat representing House District 41 on Sept. 20 amid a campaign finance investigation.

RWCA officially endorses Blue

Dan BlueState Rep. Dan Blue also has the official endorsement.

After winning a straw poll by members of the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association Saturday, the former House speaker was endorsed Monday night to fill the empty seat of former Sen. Vernon Malone by the group's official political action committee.

"There were some strong candidates in the field, but we feel very confident in Mr. Blue, and feel he'll do a great job as a North Carolina senator," said Anthony L. Blalock, chairman of the M-PAC.

The association's political arm was looking for someone who would immediately do a good job representing the district and would also stand a strong chance of holding on to the seat in future elections, he said.

The Wake County Democratic Party will decide Wednesday on his replacement.

Meantime, rival candidate Marlowe Foster announced that if he is chosen he will donate his salary to Malone's scholarship fund at Shaw University.

"For me, this nomination is not about title or monetary gain," he said. "It is about offering me to the people of the 14th District so they have representation that can be effective from day one and who can run and win in 2010."

Who will replace Sen. Malone?

Candidates for Sen. Vern Malone's seat will speak at a forum May 2.

The Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, a local civil rights organization, is sponsoring the forum with the Wake County Democratic Caucus.

Among the people who have been mentioned as replacements: State Rep. Dan Blue, a former House speaker; Bernard Allen Jr., the son of a former representative; and former DMV commissioner Alexander Killens, according to local activist Bruce Lightner.

The forum will be held at 10 a.m. at the Seby Jones Fine Arts Building at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh.

The Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association will make a recommendation to the Wake County Democratic Party after the meeting.

"In the past such recommendations have been given great weight as to the will of the people," Lightner wrote in an e-mail to Dome.

Coleman's successor in House

A former Wake County commissioner candidate may be appointed to the state House.

The Independent Weekly reports on its Triangulator blog that Don Mial, who ran unsuccessfully for the county board in 2006 and currently serves as vice chair of the Wake County Democratic Party, may be appointed to replace Rep. Linda Coleman.

Gov. Beverly Perdue recently appointed Coleman head of the Office of State Personnel.

Party officials in Coleman's district will nominate Coleman's successor.

The alternative weekly also named former Knightdale Mayor Jeanne Bonds, mental health activist Ann Akland and advocate Bridgette Burge as possible nominees, although Akland and Burge said they're not candidates.

Public Policy Polling's clients

Public Policy Polling also works for candidates.

The Democratic polling firm has become well known for its tracking polls on the presidential and gubernatorial races in North Carolina.

But it's also done surveys for more than a dozen state candidates, according to campaign finance reports on the State Board of Elections.

The firm has done work for state Reps. Bernard Allen and Grier Martin; state House candidate Ed Ridpath; state Sens. Clark Jenkins and Dan Clodfelter; and judicial candidates Wanda Bryant, Debra Sasser and Elizabeth McCrodden. In Raleigh, it's polled for Mayor Charles Meeker and City Councilman Thomas Crowder.

It's also polled for the Wake County Democratic Party, the N.C. Association of Educators PAC and the Conservation Council of North Carolina.

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