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Even the safe congressmen keep raising money

Here is what some North Carolina congressman representing safe politically districts had raised this year, according to the latest reports filed by the Federal Election Commission.

Democrat G.K. Butterfield of the 1st district had raised $168,826,826 and had $211,416 on hand. Republican Virginia Foxx of the 5th district had raised $207,065 and had $1.3 million on hand; 6th district Republican Howard Coble has raised $89,552 and had $171,051 on hand.

Republican Sue Myrick of the 9th district raised $193,594 and had $193,934 on hand. Republican Patrick McHenry of the 10th district raised $300,603 and had $127,916 on hand. Democrat Mel Watt of the 12th district raised $141,765 and had $187,970 on hand. Republican Walter of the 3rd district had raised $135,279 and had $127,699 on hand.

No baseball on TV unites members of Congress

If health care widened the chasm between the parties, maybe baseball can bring them back together.

Six North Carolina Congressmen, three Democrats and three Republicans, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission chairman urging a swift end to a long-running dispute between Time Warner Cable and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).

MASN has the rights to broadcast Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals games. The channel also shows college football and basketball games.

Time Warner wants to put the channel on a more expensive programming tier while MASN says it deserves to be included in a basic cable package.

As N&O columnist Luke DeCock notes, resolution is now in the hands of the FCC. 

The dispute between MASN, the network that carries the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, and the cable giant has dragged on through arbitrators and government agencies long enough to buy a few dozen lawyers a few dozen new yachts. Every decision MASN won, Time Warner would appeal. Litigation spawned litigation.

As this latest baseball season without baseball on basic cable approaches, Time Warner hasn't done a thing to slow the process down lately. As trendy as it is these days, blame the government.

That's where the members of Congress come in. Republican U.S. Reps. Howard Coble and Walter Jones joined Democratic U.S. Reps. Mike McIntyre and G.K. Butterfield and Sens. Richard Burr (Republican) and Kay Hagan (Democrat) in signing a letter urging the FCC to end the dispute.

"Although you have acknowledged the need to resolve this dispute, it has been pending for more than a year and we would like to know when our constituents can expect some final resolution?" they wrote in a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.


Watt most liberal, McHenry among most conservative House members

An annual list of how members of Congress stack up, ideologically speaking, has U.S. Rep. Mel Watt as the most liberal member of the state's House delegation while U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry is the most conservative.

National Journal studied 97 roll-call votes that it used to establish where House members ranked in terms of how liberal or conservative they were.

Watt, a Charlotte Democrat, was among eight House members who were tied for the most liberal in the chamber. Watt was the 423rd most conservative House member.

McHenry, a Cherryville Republican, was the 17th most conservative member of the chamber and the 413th most liberal. Virginia Foxx, a Banner Elk Republican, was the 19th most conservative member and the 411th most liberal. 

No other members of the state's delegation cracked the top 20 as either conservative or liberal.

Foxx is the richest

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx is the richest member of the state's U.S. House delegation.

Foxx, a Banner Elk Republican, has a minimum net worth of $2.4 million, according to an analysis of disclosure forms by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a Waynesville Democrat is the second richest with $2.3 million in assets. U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, a Biscoe Democrat, has a negative net worth of $2,000. Numbers reflect a minimum because members of Congress report a range of net worth.

Foxx: $2.4 million

Shuler: $2.3 million

Howard Coble, a Greensboro Republican: $945,000

David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat: $896,000

G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat: $786,000

Bob Etheridge, a Lillington Democrat: $418,000

Mel Watt, a Charlotte Democrat: $330,000

Patrick McHenry, a Cherryville Republican: $217,000

Sue Myrick, a Charlotte Republican: $167,000

Walter Jones, a Farmville Republican: $125,000

Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat: $65,000

Mike McIntyre, a Lumberton Democrat: $18,000

Kissell: -$2,000

Hat tip: RTB

Update: Post now clarifies that the Roll Call analysis looked at members of the U.S. House and did not include the Senate. 

Campaign cash: Congress

Here's a summary of what members of Congress had in their campaign accounts through September 2009. The remaining members of the state's delegation will be added to the list.

G.K. Butterfield: $231,000.

Howard Coble: $525,000.

Bob Etheridge: $1 million.

Virginia Foxx: $1.1 million.

Walter Jones: $127,766.

Larry Kissell: $244,000. Businessman Lou Huddleston has raised $57,641 from individuals and loaned himself $45,125. Tim D'Annunzio, who owns a skydiving business, has loaned himself $303,000 and raised $8,400. Hamlet resident Darrell Day has raised $30 and loaned himself $3,000. Republican Thomas Sweeney has not reported raising any money.

Patrick McHenry: $158,000. Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle has loaned himself $250,000 to challenge McHenry for the Republican nomination.

Mike McIntyre: $824,917. Republican Will Breazeale has received $3,800 in individual contributions and has $400 in his campaign account.

Brad Miller: $148,000. Challenger William Randall II has not reported raising any money.

Sue Myrick: $236,305.

David Price: $218,000. Republican challenger Frank Roche has raised $10,879, mostly through individual contributions. Republican George Hutchins has loaned himself $5,000.

Heath Shuler: $1.1 million.

Mel Watt: $140,000.

Congressmen seek money for pork

No, not the kind you're thinking about.

In this case, we're talking about what's known as "the other white meat."

Seven of North Carolina’s members of Congress have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect the pork industry from its economic troubles by buying $100 million worth of meat for the USDA’s federal food assistance programs.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, they say the recession and the recent swine flu outbreak have hurt the industry. The lawmakers thanked Vilsack for his push earlier this year to call the swine flu virus H1N1 to disassociate it from pork products, but they said the impacts of the scare have hurt the industry.

The letter notes that USDA already has announced $30 million in purchases through the end of the fiscal year, reports Barb Barrett.

“We asking for additional help with the economic crisis the U.S. pork industry currently faces,” the letter reads. “Without your assistance, we are putting thousands of rural jobs and businesses at risk.”

The N.C. lawmakers are Democratic U.S. Reps. Bob Etheridge, Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre, Brad Miller and G.K. Butterfield, along with Republican U.S. Reps. Howard Coble and Walter Jones. Fifty-five other lawmakers also signed the letter.

They want Vilsack to use $100 million to buy pork for federal food assistance programs, with an emphasis on sow meat to reduce breeding stock.

Five. Five Congressmen on TV.

North Carolina Public Television is planning a call-in show on health care that will be brought to you by the letters "D" and "R."

UNC-TV intends to air the live show 9 p.m. Tuesday. All members of the state's congressional delegation have been invited. So far, Democratic Reps. David Price, Bob Etheridge, Brad Miller and Mel Watt have accepted, according to a UNC-TV spokesman. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican confirmed his participation Thursday afternoon.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D), and Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D), Howard Coble (R), Virginia Foxx (R), Walter Jones (R), Sue Myrick (R), Mike McIntyre (D) and Heath Shuler (D) have declined the recently issued invitations.

Reps. Larry Kissell (D) and Patrick McHenry (R) have not yet responded.

Perhaps UNC-TV should sweeten the pot with a few tote bags and mugs.

Update: Post includes updated list of who has decided to participate. 

Shuler, Foxx in lead in money race

If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then Congressmen Health Shuler, a Democrat, and Virginia Foxx, a Republican, are the two members of the Tar Heel delegation who are well provisioned at the moment.

Both have over $1 million in their campaign war chests as of June 30, according to campaign reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission, Rob Christensen reports.

Shuler, a Bryson City Democrat whose name had been bandied about at one time as a potential U.S. Senate candidate, had $1.1 million in his campaign committee. Foxx, a Republican from Banner Elk had $1,006,121.

The middle weights in campaign war chests were Democrat Bob Etheridge of Lillington ($895,137), Democrat Mike McIntyre of Lumberton ($696,540), Republican Howard Coble of Greensboro ($505,759), Democrat David Price of Chapel Hill ($271,619), Democrat G.K. Butterfield ($225,204), Democrat Larry Kissell of Bisco ($214,051) and Republican Sue Myrick of Charlotte ($160,751).

The light wallet crowd included Democrat Mel Watt of Charlotte ($123,767) Republican Patrick McHenry of Cherryville ($119,270), Republican Walter Jones of Farmville ($85,424) and Democrat Brad Miller of Raleigh ($70,654).

As far as fundraising during the past three months, the big three are Etheridge ($326,561), Kissell ($322,631) and Shuler ($314,753).

Amendment would bar OLF

The Navy could be prohibited from building an isolated landing strip for its Oceana Naval Air Station fighter jets at the Hales Lake and Sandbanks sites that are now under consideration by the Navy.

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Farmville Republican, included an amendment prohibiting that site for an outlying landing field in the 2010 Defense Authorization Act approved Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee, Barb Barrett reports. U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, also helped with the amendment.

"The people of eastern North Carolina have spoken loud and clear on this issue," Jones said in a statement. “If the OLF is needed to support F/A-18’s operating out of Oceana Naval Air Station, then Virginia should bear the burden."

The Navy has been trying several years to find a rural spot in eastern North Carolina to practice nighttime landings, but has been blocked by lawsuits and Tar Heel state politicians.

The Hales Lake site is in Camden County; the Sandbanks site is in Gates County.
The bill must still go to the full House, and then to the Senate for approval.

N.C. delegation's favorite words

What does North Carolina's delegation talk about in Congress?

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on government transparency, has created a fun new way to answer that question.

The Capitol Words project uses speeches recorded in the Congressional Record to measure the frequency of specific words used by each member of Congress.

Some results from the past year are obvious. Reps. G.K. Butterfied, Mike McIntyre, Heath Shuler, Howard Coble and Bob Etheridge basically said "North Carolina" the most. 

Sen. Richard Burr, who is the ranking member of a Veterans Affairs committee, said the word "veterans" the most — some 277 times.

Rep. Walter Jones, who represents Camp Lejeune, said "Marine" 98 times, while Rep. David Price, who chairs an Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, said "security" 48 times.

Other results were a bit surprising. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican, said the word "Democrats" some 428 times — the most of any word used by the delegation. 

To see North Carolina's words by year, month and session, click here

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