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Morning Memo: Rove to raise money for Tillis; Harris plans statewide tour

GOP strategist Karl Rove will headline a series of fundraising events for U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis in mid-November, an aide to the former Bush administration official confirmed to Dome. The details are still being finalized but Rove and Tillis are likely to hit events across the state, Tillis allies said.

Next week, Tillis will attend a reception hosted by Rove’s political action committee, Crossroads GPS, which spent big money in the 2012 election. Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan used Rove as a foil in one of her recent fundraising pitches -- showing Rove’s close link to Tillis may help both sides.

As Tillis focuses on raising money his latest rival Mark Harris begins a high-flying announcement tour for next week. Read about it and more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Ellmers may face serious primary challenge from right next year

Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn may have a serious primary challenge from the right next spring.

Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and co-founder of the grassroots organization, The Coalition for American Principles, is contemplating a challenge to Ellmers. Duncan spent his career as an executive with Comdisco Inc., a high tech equipment leasing company. Duncan grew up where his father -- a South Carolina native -- was a New York city police detective. He has been active in a number of civic activities including the Upper Room Academy in Raleigh and the Durham Boys and Girls Club.

Ellmers was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Tea Party movement and as an outspoken critic of Obamacare. But she has received some criticism from the party's right that she has been too close to House Speaker John Boehner and has been insufficiently aggressive in fighting implementation of Obamacare.

Morning Memo: Harris to enter Senate race; Black Caucus wants DHHS inquiry

MARK HARRIS TO MAKE U.S. SENATE BID OFFICIAL: Rev. Mark Harris plans to tell supporters Thursday that he’s decided to enter the race for Republican U.S. Senate nomination early next month, party sources told the Charlotte Observer. Harris, pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, has been on a "listening tour" around the state.

He’s expected to announce Oct. 2. Harris would join a list of GOP candidates that include House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius and Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary. The winner would face Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

WHERE CONGRESS STANDS ON SYRIA: An interactive graphic makes it easy to see where North Carolina’s congressional delegation -- and those in other states -- stand on the Syria question. Take a look here.

***Below in the Dome Morning Memo -- the latest on the DHHS salary controversy and state elections inquiry of a lawmaker’s campaign spending.***

Morning Memo: What Pat McCrory and Bev Perdue have in common

SENATE OVERRIDE VOTE EXPECTED: The state House on Tuesday took little more than half an hour to override the governor’s vetoes of two bills, on immigration and drug-testing welfare recipients. The resurrected legislation now passes to the Senate, which will vote Wednesday morning and is expected to easily override. Gov. Pat McCrory lobbied House members to sustain the vetoes to little success -- but he didn't try a similiar effort with lawmakers in the Senate, a chamber that he has been at odds with for most of the legislative session.

HOW PAT McCRORY AND BEV PERDUE ARE ALIKE: From Catawba College political expert Michael Bitzer: "What appears to be constant between the two governors is the distaste by independent voters. While (former Gov. Bev) Perdue faired worse earlier than (Gov. Pat) McCrory has, they both have reached a similar point of nearly 50 percent disapproval among independent voters. While the Perdue-McCrory gap is pretty noticeable among independents expressing their disapproval, the convergence in August, after the dust of the legislative sessions had settled, is pretty striking." See his analysis of polling results and the one chart that tells the McCrory story.

***Read more on the override votes in the House and where the N.C. delegation stands on Syria below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: House goes into OT, GOP pushes major bills in final moments

OVERTIME AT THE STATEHOUSE: What day is it again? The legislation continues its Friday session later this morning -- the one it started at 12:01 a.m. “Good morning, everybody,” House Speaker Thom Tillis said as he gavel in a new legislative day. The 9 a.m. session is one more than expected but House lawmakers didn’t want to stay past 1 a.m. to finish their work like the Senate, expecting lengthy debates. The House session is expected to last a couple hours. On the calendar: the “technical corrections” state budget bill that includes $2 million for the governor’s office to spend on innovative education programs -- a last-minute request from State Budget Director Art Pope’s office, budget writers said. Also: a final vote on a sweeping regulatory overhaul measure.

The big item left unfinished: Gov. Pat McCrory’s commerce bill. The fracking language added to the reorganization measure in conference doomed its chances in the house. (Special session, anyone?)

LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS WITH A FLURRY OF ACTION: Abortion. Voter ID. Massive changes to state regulations. Charlotte airport. It’s all headed to Gov. Pat McCrory. If you went to bed too soon, read it all below in the ***Dome Morning Memo.*** Along with Tillis campaign news.

Coble planning for re-election, but leaves retirement door open

He's 82 and plagued with recent health problems, but Republican Congressman Howard Coble is keeping his re-election chances alive even as potential GOP replacements circle. At the same time, he's leaving the door cracked for a possible retirement.

From Travis Fain at the Greensboro News-Record: "U.S. Rep. Howard Coble hasn’t made a final decision about re-election, but he’s planning a fundraiser in September, keeping an eye on his health, and he’s “on course” to seek a 16th congressional term, Coble said Wednesday.

"Coble, a Greensboro Republican whose 6th District seat represents a large swath of the northern Piedmont, said he has recovered from the unexplained dizzy spells that caused him to be hospitalized earlier this year, and he hasn’t missed any recent meetings because of them. “Right now we’re on course for running again, even though I have not made a final decision,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Coble, who is 82 and first won his seat in 1984, said his health would be a primary factor in the final decision. But it’s “not the whole thing,” he said. “Keep in mind, of course, that I’ve been up here for three decades,” he said. “That needs to be weighed in as well ... so stay tuned.” More here.

Republicans launch early TV ad against Congressman Mike McIntyre

Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre already is facing fire from the Republican group that tried unsuccessfully to oust him in the 2012 election. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Wednesday it is airing a new TV ad criticizing the 7th District lawmaker for his recent budget vote.

The move comes days after the NRCC-backed candidate from 2012, former state Sen. David Rouzer, said he would challenge McIntyre in 2014. The Democrat was the only to win a targeted congressional race in North Carolina last year. See the ad script below.

Morning Memo: A new 2014 map, McCrory mum on second big departure

UPDATED: WHAT REDISTRICTING MEANS: Only one competitive congressional race in 2014. Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball political rankings show what happens when congressional districts are packed with like-minded folks. Of the state's 13 congressional races, only one is deemed competitive between parties. The seat is Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre in District 7. McIntyre won a close race in 2012 -- one of the few where Mitt Romney won the president vote -- and another tight contest is expected in 2014. The pundits at University of Virginia give him the early edge, though, ranking the race "leans Democratic."

***You are reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more news and analysis below.***

Morning Memo: GOP flirts with Charlotte for 2016 convention

GOP FLIRTS WITH CHARLOTTE: Could Charlotte do for Republicans in 2016 what it did for Democrats in 2012? The Republican National Committee’s meeting in Charlotte this week has fueled speculation that the GOP might return for its national convention in four years. “It’s always a possibility,” GOP Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday at the Westin hotel. “North Carolina was good to us. And it’s a red state – all the more reason to look at Charlotte.”

AFP TOUTS GOP REIGN IN NORTH CAROLINA: Tim Phillis, the national president of Americans for Prosperity, writes in a Politico op-ed that North Carolina is a state where the GOP plans to make a difference. It starts: "In Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 11, a new free-market Republican governor celebrated his gubernatorial win at the inaugural balls. The occasion was historic for North Carolina: the first time since Reconstruction that a conservative GOP governor will be joined by free-market GOP state legislative majorities in both state legislative chambers." Read full piece here.

***This is the Dome Morning Memo a digest of important N.C. political news. Click below for more.***

David Rouzer considering another Congressional bid that would start soon

The 2014 talk is starting and it's not just focused on which Republican will challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

Republican David Rouzer is looking at another run at U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre's seat in the 7th Congressional District. Rouzer lost by 650 votes in a prolonged recount in November, the closest race in the nation, he said. McIntyre was the only Democrat to win a highly contested seat that received national attention.

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