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Morning Memo: GOP faces messy veto politics, with Tillis in spotlight

UPDATED: THE POLITICS OF THE VETO: In pushing to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s of an immigration bill in coming days, Republicans find themselves in the middle of a political mess. The bill won near unanimous approval in the state Senate (43-1) but a solid block of conservative House Republicans voted against it (85-28). Now that McCrory has framed the bill as an anti-immigration conservative test, will that change? A leading Republican -- who voted no -- says the vote isn’t likely to change. And another no vote, GOP Rep. Frank Iller, issued a statement Tuesday saying the bill "opens up too many loopholes in the eVerify system."

EYES ON TILLIS: But what will Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis do? Political analyst John Davis said the race is too "fragile" for Tillis to upset the conservatives in his party. "Tillis cannot make any mistakes especially with the right," David said. "By rushing back into the arena and trying to override McCrory’s veto on the immigration bill, he does risk alienating some members of the Republican Party who are very, very sensitive about this issue."

***More on the 2014 U.S. Senate race -- and the potential Republican field -- below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Congressman McIntyre may face Democratic primary challenger

National Republicans are gleefully cheering the news that Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre is likely to face a primary challenger.

New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, the only Democrat on the board, announced his candidacy Tuesday. “It’s right politically, as well as for my family right now,” he told the Wilmington Star-News. “My middle daughter will be in college next year and I talked to my wife about it and we agreed that now is the time."

“I wanted to put the word out now and let people know who I am and what I’m about. I wanted to let people know what my intentions are,” Barfield continued. “It’s always good to be out there first.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee's spokeswoman Katie Prill sent an email asking: "So is this the bittersweet end for Mike McIntyre? Not only has the NRCC announced that McIntyre will be a top target for the 2014 election cycle, now he is facing a tough primary challenge."

Kathleen Sebelius gets slapped for impromptu Dalton endorsement

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' impromptu-and-revoked endorsement of Walter Dalton in the Democratic gubernatorial primary earlier this year apparently violated federal law.

Politico reported this Wednesday: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits certain political activity, when she made “extemporaneous partisan remarks” during a speech in her official capacity earlier this year, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Wednesday. (Read more below)

GOP auditor candidate won't seek runoff

UPDATED: Greg Dority, who came in second in this month's GOP primary for state auditor, announced Thursday that he would not seek a runoff against first-place finisher Debra Goldman, a Wake County Board of Education member.

Goldman received 34 percent of the primary vote to Dority's 24 percent. The deadline for calling for a runoff is Thursday at noon. Dority initially indicated that he wanted to seek a runoff and his reversal came after top Republicans sought to avoid an extra contest. In an interview, she said "he did the right thing."

"I think it's a positive step for the party to move forward and unify behind candidates," Goldman said. "To go through a cumbersome runoff with potentially the same result only puts us behind the eight ball as far as fundraising and preparing."

North Carolina = Mississippi

Gov. Bev Perdue told a WITN television reporter Friday the constitutional amendment on marriage makes North Carolina "look like Mississippi." 

This is probably not part of her business recruitment speech. 

Voters on Tuesday approved an amendment 61 percent to 39 percent that will ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. 

A  few weeks ago, Perdue made a video urging people to vote against it. 

Amendment's passage draws quick rebuke online

Two online petition campaigns about North Carolina's constitutional marriage amendment are drawing thousands of supporters the day after the election.

One of them is demanding the immediate repeal of Amendment One, the name opponents gave the ballot referendum, which passed by 61 percent. (It technically wasn't numbered since there was only one amendment on the ballot.) By noon, it generated about 67,000 signatures from across the nation. The goal is 1 million.

The second effort is titled "Move the National Convention OUT of North Carolina." It asks the Democratic National Convention Committee to drop Charlotte as the site of September's party confab in protest to the amendment's passage. It has about 17,500 signatures at noon Wednesday.

Addendum: Democratic ad man Frank Eaton turned the camera on himself this morning and posts a campaign-commercial like rebuttal to the amendment's passage. Watch here.

Two counties say passage of amendment won't affect domestic partner benefits

On the eve of the primary election, Durham and Orange county officials said they don’t think Amendment One, if it passes Tuesday, will end their county benefits for same-sex couples.

“I would like to emphasize, however, that this is based on fresh ground,” Assistant Durham County Attorney Kathy Everett-Perry said Monday. “It hasn’t been litigated, domestic union hasn’t been defined by the courts, but our interpretation is that it should not affect what we are currently doing.”

About 70 people in the state have same-sex benefits through local governments. Read more here.

Bowles and Gantt record anti-amendment robo messages

Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt and Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, recorded robocalls with anti-amendment messages that voters will hear starting today.

They join Clinton, who already has a robo message on your voicemail.
The amendment would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Here's Bowles, saying the amendment is bad for business.

 

 

Here's Gantt, saying it will take away health insurance from children and could take away domestic violence protections.

 

Study before voting

Voters are confused about the constitutional amendment on marriage, but state election officials sent out reminders to local elections office Monday morning that precinct workers should not try to explain it.

State Elections Director Gary Bartlett said a report out of Robeson County had a poll worker telling a voter this: "You vote for it if you believe in a man and a woman marrying rather than a man and a man marrying."

It's not appropriate for poll workers to come up with their own interpretations, Bartlett said, so voters should be referred to the official explanation posted on the State Board of Elections web site.

It's hard to imagine how a voter would consult a web site while casting a ballot. For those who want to study in advance, here is the ballot wording and the official explanation below.

Dalton gets labor endorsement

Teamsters Local 391 endorsed Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton in the Democratic primary for governor.

Local 391 is the largest of the three locals in North Carolina, with 8,000 members from the Triad to the coast.

Dalton is in a crowded primary where the other main competitors are former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and state Rep. Bill Faison.

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