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McCrory campaign accepted disputed contribution under little-known provision

Pat McCrory's campaign accepted a $4,000 contribution from a nonregistered PAC that appears inappropriate at face value, but may be allowed under a little-known caveat in the state's campaign finance law.

The check came Oct. 20 from the American Federation for Children, a 501(c)4 nonprofit that advocates for school choice, based in Washington with a related PAC under a different name in Indiana. It is not a registered state PAC or federal PAC -- a requirement for a candidates to accept a contribution.

Seeing it, Greg Flynn, a Raleigh campaign finance watchdog, filed a complaint against McCrory's campaign with the N.C. State Board of Elections. But state election officials are leaning toward dismissing the complaint, citing a provision in the law that would seem to allow any non-PAC entities to make direct campaign contributions if they aren't tied too closely with a business.

Under Ch. 163-278.19(f) of state election law appears to allow contributions from entities without a business interest and not established by a business if they don't receive more than 10 percent of their total revenues from corporations.


Republican Brannon begins campaign for U.S. Senate

Dr. Greg Brannon begins his campaign for the U.S. Senate with a two-day tour of eight cities Feb. 27.

Brannon, a Cary obstetrician who opposes abortion rights, hopes to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan next year. But there will likely be a tussle for the GOP nomination since every Republican and her brother is thinking about running for that seat. See past Domes for a partial list.

Brannon is one of the first to jump, though. He has a Tea Party-esque website called Founders' Truth. The website on Tuesday was converted to feature Brannon giving a speech launching his campaign.

He begins the tour on the anniversary of the Revolutionary War's Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, where Patriots defeated the Loyalists.

"Fighting to restore the American Dream in North Carolina will be my job in the U.S. Senate, and that's why I'm kicking off this campaign by talking to voters across the state on this historic date," he said in a statement.

GOP moves for partisan judicial elections again

There will be an attempt to make judicial elections partisan again. A pair of Republican senators filed such a bill on Thursday.

SB39 would require state all Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, superior and district court judges to run by party affiliation. That used to be the case until 2002, when the Democratic-controlled General Assembly made them nonpartisan, the rationale being that judges should be elected based solely on qualifications and not politics.

Republicans contended that the real motivation was that voters were electing Republican judges.

Sen. Jerry Tillman of Archdale, a retired school administrator, and Sen. Thom Goolsby of Wilmington, a lawyer, are the co-sponsors.

Outside spending more even this election, preliminary reports suggest

Spending by third-party groups in North Carolina legislative races appears to have been more even than in the previous election cycle, even as Republicans dominated individual and caucus fundraising, Scott Mooneyham at The Insider reports.

IRS documents and state campaign finance reports seem to indicate that the spending by the two major 527 groups in North Carolina -- Real Jobs NC, which backed Republican candidates, and Common Sense Matters, which backed Democratic candidates, spent similar amounts. Those reports show Real Jobs NC spending $812,605, compared to $773,641 for Common Sense Matters.

State elections officials outline potential impact from voter ID

As reported in the Dome Morning Memo, a new analysis from state election officials is putting numbers to the potention for voter ID legislation in North Carolina. About 613,000 voters could be affected because they don't have a proper ID, out of 6.5 million registered. Click below for the full memo from the State Board of Elections breaking down the numbers.

DMV & SBOE ID Analysis_2013.pdf

NC Senate Dems to pick leaders next week

Democrats in the state Senate will meet Dec. 20 to pick leaders for their shrinking caucus. Democratic membership in the chamber will slip from 19 to 17 as a result of last month's elections.

Sen. Martin Nesbitt, an Asheville Democrat, said he expects to be reelected minority leader next week. "We're going to have a discussion of it," he said. "I think that's the way we're going."

Can the GOP keep its grip on North Carolina?

Francis De Luca, a conservative thinker at the Civitias Institute, explores a question on the minds of many in the North Carolina political sphere after Republicans captured the governor's mansion, supermajorities in the state legislature and the likely the lieutenant governor's post.

Will Republicans become a lasting majority? DeLuca writes: "Republican leaders will have to work hard to make the change a lasting one, rather than just another bump in the road for NC Democrats like others over the last 30 years.

... How does this happen? The governor and legislative leaders will have to embrace bold policies that address the problems that have plagued North Carolina fiscally and educationally." Read his full column here.

Campaigns for lieutenant governor remain in high gear

Linda Coleman's campaign to become lieutenant governor has turned from an effort to convince voters to choose her to trying to convince local boards of elections they should count more provisional ballots.

Her campaign produced a list of 500 voters Wednesday who cast provisional ballots that are in the "not counted" pile, but which the campaign says are registered voters who voted in their home counties.

The campaign has a team plowing through the list of more than 51,000 people who cast provisional ballots, looking for those whose votes they think are about to be improperly thrown out.

Coleman, a Democrat, is trailing Republican Dan Forest in the race, but she continues a full-on press to count votes that weren't part of the Election Day tally. She has closed the gap by more than 1,000 votes since election night, with some counties rolling in counts of mail-in and provisional ballots. According to the last unofficial count, she trails by 10,309 votes.

Coleman campaign seeks DMV voter registration records

The campaign for Linda Coleman, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, is seeking voter registration records from the state Division of Motor Vehicles covering the last two years.

The Coleman campaign is working to have thousands of provisional votes counted by local boards of election this week, and is looking for cases where voters are about to have their ballots wrongfully thrown out.  Campaign officials think that the DMV voter registration database will show that people who should be counted as  registered cast ballots that for some reason are in question.

Coleman trails her Republican opponent Dan Forest by 11,103. Counting more provisional votes could put her ahead, or at least pull her into recount range.

Lt. Gov. race on hold until Nov. 16

The race for lieutenant governor is frozen until Nov. 16, when local boards of election roll in provisional votes to those already counted and come up with final tallies.

Democratic candidate Linda Coleman trails Republican Dan Forest in the unofficial tally by about 11,000 votes. She'll wait until the counties add up all the votes before she decides whether to ask for a recount, said her campaign spokesman Micah Beasley. "We anticipate at the very least the margin will be cut significantly," he said.

The State Board of Elections asked the counties to forward all the vote totals to Raleigh by Monday, Nov. 19.

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