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Janet Cowell adds staff, plans larger role as a leading Democrat

State Treasurer Janet Cowell is preparing to play a more prominent role in helping Democrats push their message amid complete Republican control of the lawmaking process.

Cowell, a second term Democrat, is adding staff and planning to expand her portfolio. "I do feel more incumbent to take a broader policy role," she said, given the dearth of prominent Democrats. "I sit on the school board --that's an area where when I was one of more Democrats I didn't have to take as much interest or carry the water where I may be having to do that now."

Personnel file: Robinson leaves Democratic Party, more expected

UPDATED: Walton Robinson, the spokesman for the N.C. Democratic Party, announced his resignation this week.

His statement sent Wednesday offered no explanation for his immediate departure after 15 months on the job. In an email Friday, Robinson said he is "leaving to pursue other professional opportunities. That's all." 

Executive Director Tammy Brunner said Friday that other staff reductions are expected, as is typical "in an election year such as this." Asked if the party's struggling financial situation affected the decision, Brunner said "as always finances play a role in the reduction of employees."

Democratic memo reaffirms NC battleground status

The state Democratic Party is seeking to counter several national reports that suggest that North Carolina is fading as a battleground state.

Walton Robinson, the party's communications director, Friday began circulating a memo, first published in Politico, that argues that North Carolina is very much in play.

The memo points to numerous polls showing that Obama even or ahead of Romney in the state even though Romney and his allies had spent $10.25 million on TV in North Carolina between May 1 and June 20, while Obama had spent $8.1 million.

He said in a state that has been hit by a large loss of manufacturing jobs, Romney's record in pioneering in outsourcing jobs while at Bain Capital is particularly problematic.

Tucker Carlson: Gov. Bev Perdue 'kind of a moron'

Gov. Bev Perdue's mental acuity is again the topic of public debate.

Playing off Wake GOP leader Susan Bryant's remarks that Perdue is "the dumbest governor in America," former U.S. ambassador and congressman Fred Eckert writes this: "If North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue is not America’s dumbest governor, a whole lot of us here in the Tar Heel State would be very surprised."

Eckert's piece appeared at The Daily Caller, a conservative website. It brought a strong rebuke from the state Democratic Party spokesman Walton Robinson, who emailed the editor and conservative pundit Tucker Carlson to complain about "the politics of personal destruction."

Carlson responded that the piece was "pretty mean." But in an email to Robinson, he said he apparently agrees with its sentiment: "On the other hand, she does seem like kind of a moron." (Carlson didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.)

Bolton bolts

N.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kerra Bolton is leaving her job August 31.

She said in an email that she's going to revive her company Lightning Bolt Media, "a content creation and internet marketing firm."

The new person answering questions for the party is communications director Walton Robinson, former press secretary for the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Interestingly, Robinson has some experience with proposed constitutional amendments.

(Next month, the legislature will debate proposed constitutional amendments, including an amendment banning gay marriage.)

Robinson was campaign spokesman for YES on 744, a proposed Oklahoma constitutional amendment that would have repealed a requirement that the state spend $42 on public school students and would have set a minimum average for school spending each year.

The proposal was defeated.

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