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Cherie Berry says she won't run for U.S. Senate

AP: North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry says she will pass on a chance to run for Kay Hagan's U.S. Senate seat next year because she does not want to leave the state and loves her current job.

Berry told The Associated Press on Wednesday that many people had asked her to consider challenging Hagan but even more wanted her to stay where she is. The Catawba County Republican was first elected labor commissioner in 2000 and is now in her fourth term.

Berry is one of several Republicans who've been considering whether to challenge Hagan, the Democratic incumbent. Berry has statewide name recognition in part because the inspection paperwork that every elevator must display includes her photo. Cary physician Greg Brannon is the only Republican who's publicly entered the race.

State elections board slashes campaign fines

Former Democratic candidate Ty Richardson will pay far less than his $31,000 fine for failure to file timely campaign finance records during his 2008 campaign.

The N.C. State Board of Elections agreed Tuesday to let the former state labor commissioner candidate pay $5,000, in $400 monthly installments, after a mediation settlement. The board also approved penalties against 13 other political committees for not meeting filing deadlines, letting all pay far less than the original fine.

Marlowe Foster seeks runoff in Democratic labor commissioner race

The second-place finisher in the Democratic labor commissioner primary is asking for a runoff election.

With the formal request, Marlowe Foster will challenge John C. Brooks, the top vote-getter who is seeking a re-election to his former post. Brooks served from 1977 to 1993 as the state's labor commissioner. The three-way May primary didn't allow a candidate to receive more than 40 percent and win outright.

Morning Roundup: Bill Randall joins mud throwing in 13th district debate

After months of watching his two opponents in the 13th Congressional District race throw mud at each other, Bill Randall is tossing a few mud balls of his own. In a GOP debate that aired Sunday, George Holding and Paul Coble, on the other hand, toned down their assaults on one another, and showed little difference in the substance of their political beliefs. Read more here.

Other political headlines:

--Think of Business Empire Consulting as the brash newcomer that nominated itself for the job – and won. The 28-month-old Raleigh digital marketing agency beat out 11 competitors for the plum job of designing and hosting a new website for the Democratic National Convention, which is set for Charlotte in September.

--Cheri Young, the wife of former political aide Andrew Young, will resume testifying in John Edwards’ trial Monday and might add new wrinkles to a story that veers between tragedy and farce with each disclosure.

In Democratic primary, voters mostly undecided on down-ballot races

The downballot races in the Democratic primary remain amorphous with huge numbers of undecided voters still looking for a good horse.

Democratic labor candidate announces endorsements

Marlowe Foster, a Democratic candidate for Labor Commissioner, announced more endorsements today from political groups and individuals. Foster has backing from the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, the Durham People's Alliance, the Fairmont Committee on Black Affairs, 2008 Labor Commissioner candidate Mary Fant Donnan, state Reps. Deborah Ross and Grier Martin of Wake County, Former state Democratic Party chairman Jerry Meek, state Rep. Tricia Cotham of Charlotte, Transportation Secretary Gene Conti, state Sen. Doug Berger. and Morrisville Council member Steve Rao. Foster, a Pfizer lobbyist from Raleigh, faces John Brooks and Tyrone Richardson in the Democratic primary. Republican Cherie Berry is the incumbent commissioner.

Labor candidate faces DWI charge

Tyrone Richardson, a Democratic candidate for state Labor Commissioner, was in a Wake County courtroom today on a charge of driving while impaired. 

He was charged on Dec. 29, 2011. The case was continued to next month. 

Richardson would not answer questions after the hearing about this most recent charge or any of his previous charges.  This is the fifth time he has been charged with driving while impaired since 1989, according to court records. 

In 1989, he was convicted of a lesser charge of reckless driving to endanger. A 1991 DWI charge was dismissed. He was convicted of driving while impaired in 1994. In 1999, he was convicted of reckless driving with wanton disregard for safety and driving with an open container of alcohol after drinking. 

Richardson's spokeswoman, Jennifer Jones-Rochelle, was with him in court. She said he would not discuss any of the charges, and maintained they were not related to the campaign. 

"Those are two separate things," she said. "Those things will be addressed at the news conference."

A news conference has not been scheduled, but Jones-Rochelle said, "It will be soon."

Richardson, 62, lives in Middlesex. He is making his second run for Labor Commissioner. He ran in the 2008 primary, and came in third out of four candidates. 

He is in a three-way primary this year with former Labor Commissioner John C. Brooks and Marlowe Foster.

Democrat files to challenge Republican incumbent for labor commissioner

A Raleigh Democrat entered the race to challenge one of the two Republicans on the Council of State.

Marlowe Foster, a 39-year-old businessman, is making a bid for Labor Commissioner, looking to challenge Republican incumbent Cherie Berry. In his announcement, he echoed the Democratic Party mantra promoting education as the top priority.

He is backed by a number of state lawmakers and prominent Democrats. Read his full announcement below.

Democrat announces for Labor Commissioner

Marlowe Foster of Raleigh says he is running for Labor Commissioner to ensure fairness and transparency in workplace safety inspections and to help create jobs.

Foster, director of U.S. public affairs for Pfizer and a registered lobbyist, announced his candidacy today.  Republican Cherie Berry holds the office. 

The Department of Labor can be "a strong partner with the community college system getting people trained and retrained for jobs," said Foster, 39.

He was one of nine candidates who sought appointment to former state Sen. Vernon Malone's seat, which Sen. Dan Blue won.

The Dome's FAQs machine

Dome logoUnder the Dome has a new feature that's not so new.

Since we started the blog, we've had a feature called Frequently Asked Questions in which we provide concise, encylopedic answers to topical questions.

Some examples: What does the state labor commissioner do? How does a primary runoff work? What is the Queen City Curse? Who is on the Council of State? What is a catfish amendment? Who has been expelled from the legislature?

Though we now have answers to more than 40 questions, we haven't promoted this feature much.

That changed today, when we added a new widget to the right-hand column. It will list the most recently modified FAQ and give a brief description of the answer.

To read the fuller answer, click "Read more," or click "View all FAQs" to browse a complete list.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this new/old feature or any suggestions for other improvements to Under the Dome. 

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