Under the Dome

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.

BIG CASH IN THE BANK:McCrory only spent just over $11 million leaving him with $1.2 million in the bank -- a huge lead for the 2016 cycle that will scare a number of Democrats from challenging him.

MORE DEEP DIVE: The latest campaign reports -- covering Oct. 21 to Dec. 31 -- shed light on the last flurry of money to enter the big-dollar race. The state GOP kicked in a total $777,000 to the effort, with $9,600 bill in the final quarter.

Many of the post-election donations were sent before Nov. 6 but McCrory's committee didn't enter them right away.The CaroLink PAC, a telephone cooperative committee, gave him a $2,500 donation Sept. 24 but McCrory didn't report it until Dec. 18.

Nonetheless, McCrory's lead in the polls ahead of Election Day made him a money magnet in the final stretch of the campaign as donors and special interests sought good will and access in the future. McCrory listed a $1,000 donation from agriculture behemoth Monsanto's PAC on Dec. 31.

CONSULTANTS MADE BIG MONEY ON WINNING BID: On the spending side, the final report shows just how much McCrory paid TV advertising firm Smart Media Group $6.7 million. The next highest expenses are all consultants. His fundraiser, Jonathan Brooks' firm Macon Consulting took in about $500,000, ad man Fred Davis' Strategic Perception receive $288,000 and online gurus Cornerstone Solutions were paid $246,000. The campaign's lead consultant, Jack Hawke, took in another $126,000.

McCrory also paid another $15,000 for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to travel to North Carolina for a fundraiser. Previous Christie flights were equally weighty. The campaign spent nearly $1.2 million in the final weeks of the campaign and beyond.

For a broader look at how the GOP crushed the Democrats in raising money, read AP reporter Gary Robertson's good piece.

McCRORY HIRES A NEW FLAK: McCrory's press shop is adding to its ranks. The governor's office confirmed that Crystal Feldman, the press secretary for the House Resources Committee, will join the staff next week. Her Twitter account says she is a Duke basketball fanatic and a Georgetown Universitty graduate. Feldman starts in North Carolina on Jan. 21.

TONY TATA'S POINT BREAK RENEWAL: After his last job ended badly, Tony Tata went surfing. “Kinda got away, thought about life, what I wanted to do,” Tata said Friday as he ended his first week in a new job as North Carolina’s transportation secretary. Tata, 53, grew up in Virginia Beach. But when he was fired Sept. 25 after 20 months as Wake County school superintendent, Tata needed to get farther away than the North Carolina coast. He took his surfboard south for a week at Encuentro Beach, on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. “There’s nothing like being out by yourself, … out in the ocean, and just thinking about where you’ve been and where you’re going. The solitude out there was good for me, to reflect on things.” Full story here.

RICHARD HUDSON MAKING MOVES IN D.C.: Throughout the weekend's inauguration festivities, newly minted Congressman Richard Hudson -- McCrory's former campaign manager -- was referred to as a rising star in Congress. Now National Journal is putting him at the top of a list of freshman lawmakers to watch.

From the story: "The Experienced One: It seems like an oxymoron for someone in the freshman class to have “experience.” By very definition they are new to the job. But Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., isn’t new to the halls of the Capitol. He has served as chief of staff for three members of Congress, so he knows the inside and out of the lower chamber. This could allow Hudson to be both a trusted newbie and a sage wiseman at the same time. "I can't stand up on a desk and tell them all to follow me," he said on his first day in Congress earlier this month. "But we need to come to a consensus about what our objectives are, and who our leader is going to be. The lesson we've learned these last couple of years is that we need to agree as conservatives and then fight for what we believe."

LOCAL MAYORS PUSH FOR GUN RESTRICTIONS: Three local Democratic mayors called Monday for Congress to enact “common-sense” gun-law reforms. They were among more than 800 U.S. mayors who issued a coordinated statement on behalf of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns lobbying organization.

CAROLINA PANTHERS WANT TAXPAYER MONEY FOR STADIUM UPGRADES: The Carolina Panthers asked the Charlotte City Council in closed session late Monday for $125 million to help pay for renovating Bank of America Stadium, the Observer reports. An ask to the state for money may come next, setting off an incentives debate in the governor's hometown.

ICYMI, THE STORY McCRORY WANTS YOU TO READ: McCrory's communications shop is pushing a guest column by Neal Peirce, a writer at CitiStates, a group dedicated to building strong metropolitan areas.

BONUS READ: The selling of an inauguration. From McClatchy's D.C. bureau: For $100,000, donors will receive a package of tickets that include a candlelight reception at the posh National Building Museum. For $250,000, there’s a star-studded children’s concert. And for $1 million, there are reserved seats for a parade. The gift list at Neiman Marcus? Hardly. It’s the price list for some of the star-studded events of the 57th inauguration celebration, five days of brunches and balls, concerts and receptions that will kick off Thursday.

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