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Morning Memo: Ahead of 2014 race, Berger, Tillis hit by national Democrats

2014 WATCH: National Democrats hit potential GOP candidates Tillis, Berger on Ryan budget. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis are making enough moves toward challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagain in 2014 that its attracting the attention of national Democrats. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is asking whether the two Republicans support Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan. "Republicans in Washington are back with their Medicare-busting budget plan, but potential GOP Senate hopefuls Phil Berger and Thom Tillis have yet to tell North Carolinians where they stand," starts a statement from the DSCC set for release later Tuesday.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House will consider a bill to curtail local building design standards that local mayors want stopped dead in its tracks (more below) as well as a measure to limit tanning beds for those under age 18. House convenes at 1 p.m.; Senate convenes at 2 p.m. Gov. Pat McCrory will make a school safety announcement in Apex in the morning.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for exclusive North Carolina political news and analysis. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. Read more below.***

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.

Morning Roundup: The N.C. political year in review

While North Carolina experienced a predicted blockbuster political year in 2012, the details weren't as anticipated by some.

Charlotte hosted North Carolina's first-ever major party national convention. A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in North Carolina passed by a whopping 22 percentage points. And although it wasn't shocking that former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory was elected governor, the ease of his victory was surprising, as was his Democratic rival - Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, not Gov. Beverly Perdue. Read AP's political year in review here.

More political headlines below:

--North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which has spent nearly $1 billion to clean up polluted waters and protect untainted ones, will face a dicey future as legislators convene in January.

--The N.C. House’s new Republican majority whip believes he has the votes to stop North Carolina’s green-energy mandate – the first in the Southeast when it was enacted in 2007 – in its tracks. Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County views the mandate as the government unfairly “picking winners and losers” in the marketplace. As chairman of the Public Utilities committee, Hager would like to freeze it at the current 3 percent level.

Pat McCrory's election reflects single-party trend

Bloomberg News took note of Gov.-elect Pat McCrory in a story today that notes big question facing the Republican: “The big questions now are how far to the right will the Republicans in power go, and will he go with them," political expert Michael Bitzer told the news service.

As the article noted: "The 2012 election produced the most states with single- party governments since 1952, reflecting growing polarization, according to a tally on the National Conference of State Legislatures website. Only 12 have divided governments, while Nebraska’s single-house legislature is nonpartisan. Fourteen have Democratic governors and Democratic majorities in their legislatures, while 23 are unified Republican."

Read the full piece here.

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.

Gov. Perdue says election results aren't repudiation of N.C. Democratic Party

UPDATED: Gov. Bev Perdue said the Republican victories that defined the 2012 election in North Carolina are not a reflection on the state of the N.C. Democratic Party.

In her first comments about the election, the Democratic chief executive said the election showed larger forces at work in the state. "It's just the times. It's absolutely the times," she said. "What happened in the country was great: President Obama was re-elected, we gained Senate seats across the country. North Carolina is at an interesting time. Our population is changing."

Asked how long it would take Democrats to return to the governor's mansion, Perdue dodged.

Post-election, redistricting reform effort hits the road

The Republican-led redistricting effort left a clear mark on the 2012 elections and it's drawing attention to an effort to make the process nonpartisan.

The N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform will begin a statewide tour this week to pitch their idea for redistricting reform to business leaders with the local chamber of commerce in six cities, said director Jane Pinsky. The group -- backed by members of both political parties -- wants to an independent panel to redraw political district boundaries every 10 years instead of the state legislature.

Morning Roundup: New fracking board raises ethical issues

Members of the new state board overseeing drilling and fracking in North Carolina is not required required to disclose whether they could potentially profit from the practice they oversee. The board chairman Ray Covington and his family own more than 1,000 acres of timberland in Lee County, considered to be a natural gas-rich pay zone and prime fracking territory.

Such issues are not specifically mentioned on the state’s ethics disclosure form, unforeseen by North Carolina’s ethics rules because for the simple reason that there is no history of oil and gas exploration here. Read more here.

More political headlines below.

Morning Roundup: Campaigns prime for final push, First Lady in Charlotte

After the nearly $1 billion worth of TV ads, three presidential debates and all the speeches, John White will use a bullhorn Tuesday to shout a message to voters: “This is your final call!” Election Day is a day away and the final ground war for Campaign 2012 is making its last push. A look at the campaigns' final operations.

More political stories:

--The race for North Carolina hurtles toward the finish Monday as First lady Michelle Obama, joined by singer Mariah Carey, will headline an airport rally in Charlotte on Monday afternoon. The visit comes a day after former President Bill Clinton spoke to 4,000 supporters in Raleigh. Clinton photo gallery.

--State legislators last summer ignored research that shows sea-level rise will accelerate its creep up North Carolina’s coastline this century. This week, waves of science will say they were wrong. Some researchers said the 39-inch rise a state science panel expects by year 2100 may be far too low.

Absent from campaign trail, Perdue helps Dalton behind the scenes

UPDATED: A major question entering the gubernatorial campaign: How would outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue handle the election of her successor?

At first glance, it seems that she ignored the governor's race. She didn't appear on the campaign trail for Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and kept $1.3 million in her campaign account instead of donating it to the state Democratic Party to help her would-be successor. On Monday, the day before the election, Perdue's lone public event is a digital learning conference in Asheboro.

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