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Morning Memo: McCrory closes Latino outreach office

North Carolina’s Latino advocates are voicing alarm following the governor’s decision to eliminate the state’s office for Latino affairs. The closing of the Office of Hispanic/Latino affairs was sudden and caught many by surprise. The move appears to have exacerbated the already tense relationship between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the Latino community, including criticism over a driver’s license plan for young immigrants.

Advocates says it sends a message that McCrory and Raleigh conservatives are less concerned with the needs of the Latino community. Paradoxically, it comes at a time when issues of deep concerns, like immigration, are at the political forefront and Republicans nationally are trying to appear more welcoming to Latinos.

***Thanks for reading the Good Friday edition of the Dome Morning Memo. Send tips and news to dome@newsobserver.com. More on the Latino office and other big headlines below.***

Dalton's not governor, but he's poised to be a president

From AP -- Former North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton is poised to have a new job May 1 as president of his community college back home. The Isothermal Community College board voted unanimously Friday to hire Dalton as its next leader, replacing the retiring Myra Johnson. Dalton's appointment still must be approved by the state community college board.

Dalton is a Democrat who lost the governor's race to Republican Pat McCrory in November. Since then he's been teaching a class at Gardner-Webb University and working as a special assistant to the president there.

Dalton was one of six finalists for the Isothermal post. He lives in Rutherford County, one of two counties served by Isothermal. He was the college's board chairman prior to joining the state Senate in 1997.

Walter Dalton a finalist for community college presidency

Former Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton is one of six candidates vying to run Isothermal Community College in Rutherford County.

Dalton, a Democrat who lost the race for governor last year, is a lawyer and former chairman of the Isothermal board of trustees. He's now teaching at Gardner-Webb University and is a special assistant to the university's president.

The other five candidates are all community college administrators.

Pat McCrory's campaign cleared in elections complaint

Pat McCrory's campaign did not violate campaign finance laws when it came to disclosing trips to the state by big GOP luminaries, a state investigation found.

Democrat Walter Dalton's campaign alleged that a flight taken by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to a McCrory campaign event was not a corporate contribution. Donors Ralph and Linda Huff reimbursed the plan's owner for the flight, the State Board of Elections reported Thursday.

GOP campaign finance complaint against Dalton, Perdue dismissed

State officials dismissed a Republican campaign finance complaint filed days before the November election that alleged illegal collusion between Democrats Walter Dalton and Bev Perdue.

The state Republican Party said it identified 65 donors who received refunds from Perdue's campaign committee who later made contributions to Dalton, the Democratic candidate for governor. But in a letter dated Tuesday, the State Board of Elections said all 65 donations identified as suspect were legitimate.

"Our office found no campaign finance violations ... for these contributions and as such this matter is considered resolved," the letter states.

Morning Memo: McCrory gets campaign cash from indicted donor, Hudson on the rise

GOP GOV REPORTS CAMPAIGN CASH WELL AFTER ELECTION DAY: Pat McCrory won the governor's race Nov. 6 but campaign donors kept filling his coffers through the end of the year, according to new campaign finance reports. The Republican reported raising more than $42,000 after Election Day putting his total haul for the entire campaign at $12.3 million -- nearly three times as much as Democratic rival Walter Dalton, who raised $4.3 million.

McCRORY REPORTS DONATION FROM INDICTED DONOR:One more donation listed after the election: Trawick "Buzzy" Stubbs. He gave McCrory $1,000 in a check reported Nov. 27.

Stubbs was indicted in 2012 for his political donations to Gov. Bev Perdue in the 2008 race involving a plane he allowed the Democrat to use in the campaign. He is charged with obstruction of justice and causing the campaign to file false reports. After his indictment, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, then just a candidate, returned the $250 donation Stubbs gave his campaign. The case is still pending and Stubbs is challenging the charges.

This is the Dome Morning Memo, a political tipsheet covering North Carolina politics. Read more campaign finance exclusive and a news roundup below.

Walter Dalton spent $4.3 million in his losing bid for governor

Democrat Walter Dalton spent $4.3 million in his losing bid for governor, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.

Dalton, who lost by 11 points, just couldn't match GOP rival Pat McCrory's spending. He raised $4.28 million and left only $12,192.60 in the bank, as of Dec. 31. (McCrory has yet to file his final report, but led Dalton 6-to-1 in campaign cash days ahead of the election.)

In the final two weeks, Dalton raised $385,000 and spent $641,000 -- decent numbers but not enough. He spent about a third of the money on media advertising in the final days but none of it moved the needle. He lost by about the same margin as polls indicated weeks ahead of time.

Dan Forest wants a closer relationship with governor than his predecessor

Dan Forest took office as the state's No. 2 in a private ceremony Monday at the Capitol.

In an interview after the event, the Republican lieutenant governor said he hopes to establish a better relationship with new Gov. Pat McCrory, noting that his predecessor wasn't too close to Bev Perdue.

Forest's main role is to preside over the N.C. Senate and serve on various boards and commissions. But the lieutenant governor is often delegated duties from the state's chief executive. McCrory told Dome that he expects Forest to play a role in drafting a 25-year transportation infrastructure plan, drawing upon his experience as an architect, and consult on education policy.

Morning Memo: McCrory begins work as legislature revs its engine

ON TAP TODAY: Gov. Pat likes his new digs. The new Republican governor starts his term with a cabinet meeting Monday morning at his new home, the Executive Mansion. McCrory had the cabinet to lunch at the mansion Saturday, too. The event is closed-door but McCrory will give a press conference later in the morning before heading to the mountains for his first stop on his statewide introduction tour.

Worth noting: McCrory's "open house" events require advance tickets. Free tickets but nonetheless.

***Welcome to the new DOME MORNING MEMO. This daily feature will serve as a tipsheet for the day in North Carolina politics -- previewing the next day's big story, breaking news that drives the political agenda and reviewing the latest dispatches from the state's political scribes. Consider it a nod to Dome's favorite D.C. morning briefings from the likes of Politico, NBC and TPM. It's an evolving product, so send tips, ideas, thoughts or even a better name to dome@newsobserver.com. And thanks for reading. Much more below.***

Walter Dalton to teach southern politics class, work at Gardner-Webb

From AP: Outgoing Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton has a new job, although not the one he had hoped in November to land come January.

Dalton said Thursday he would teach a class on Southern politics starting next week at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, not far from his hometown of Rutherfordton. The attorney also said he would serve as special counsel for now to school president Frank Bonner.

Dalton was a state senator for 12 years before getting elected lieutenant governor in 2008. Dalton's successor – Republican Dan Forest – gets sworn in on Monday.

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