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Morning Memo: Vice President Biden to raise money for Kay Hagan

VICE PRESIDENT TO HEADLINE HAGAN FUNDRAISER: Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise campaign cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.

The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.

A day earlier, Hagan will hold another fundraiser in Durham at the Deer Chase Gardens hosted by Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin, the property’s owners. The more than two-dozen hosts for the reception are paying $1,000 each. The top ticket is the maximum federal contribution to a candidate, $2,600 The invite lists big local Democratic donors, such as John Replogle, John Sall and Amy Tiemann. The minimum ticket costs $150.

***Read more about the 2014 Senate race and more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

KARL ROVE TRIES FOR TAR HEEL HAT TRICK: From Rob Christensen -- "Karl Rove, the chief strategist for President George W. Bush, has recruited the past two Republican senators from North Carolina. Now he wants to help make Thom Tillis a senator.

"When Sen. Jesse Helms was in declining health, it was Rove who began lining up Elizabeth Dole, the two-time Cabinet secretary, to run for Helms’ seat in 2002. When Democratic Sen. John Edwards was preparing to run for president in 2004, Rove invited Richard Burr, a promising young congressman from Winston-Salem, to the White House and urged him to run for the Senate.

"Now, with the Republicans trying to retake control of the Senate in 2014, North Carolina is too important to be left to chance. So Rove – although no longer in the White House – is trying to make Tillis his Tar Heel hat trick. ...

ROVE’s TOUGHEST LIFT: "Tillis is not a beloved figure in the Republican Party, with some conservatives not quite trusting him and others finding him abrasive. He’s also been tarnished by some of the problems of his former lieutenants. If he is the nominee, Hagan would likely try to make the legislature the issue. … It seems likely that Rove’s third attempt to elevate a U.S. senator in North Carolina will be his toughest lift."
Read more here.

SHUTDOWN ENTERS WEEK 2: AP -- The government shutdown entered its second week with no end in sight and ominous signs that the United States was closer to the first default in the nation's history as Speaker John Boehner ruled out any measure to boost borrowing authority without concessions from President Barack Obama.
Washington will be closely watching the financial markets on Monday to see if the uncompromising talk rattles Wall Street and worldwide economies just 10 days before the threat of default would be imminent. Read more here.

THE MONEY QUOTE: From the New York Times -- on how conservative groups have been strategizing about a government shutdown -- "Heritage Action ran critical Internet advertisements in the districts of 100 Republican lawmakers who had failed to sign a letter by a North Carolina freshman, Representative Mark Meadows, urging Mr. Boehner to take up the defunding cause.

“They’ve been hugely influential,” said David Wasserman, who tracks House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “When else in our history has a freshman member of Congress from North Carolina been able to round up a gang of 80 that’s essentially ground the government to a halt?” Read the full story here.

N.C. LAWMAKERS URGE UNITY TO PROLONG SHUTDOWN: It was Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican freshman from North Carolina, who rallied GOP conservatives in the House by pushing them to tie defunding of the health care law to passage of a federal spending bill.Republican Reps. Renee Ellmers of Dunn and Richard Hudson of Concord are urging their GOP colleagues to remain unified in their demand for concessions.

Frustration among mainstream Republicans is growing, however, as the deadline to lift the debt ceiling draws closer. And pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to end the impasse is intensifying. But the North Carolina Republicans, who helped pick this fight, insist that it should continue. Read more here.

IMMIGRATION ADVOCATES TARGET N.C. LAWMAKERS: While the immigration debate has been put on the back burner in Washington, national and local business heavyweights are working behind the scenes – and using their financial might – to press House Republicans to bring legislation overhauling the immigration system to a vote.

The well-organized groups are led by some of the biggest names in business, such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. They’ve set their sights on GOP members in the South such as North Carolina Reps. Renee Ellmers of Dunn, Richard Hudson of Concord and George Holding of Raleigh, who the groups feel can be compelled to support an overhaul.

The groups have recruited the top business leaders in technology, agriculture, manufacturing and chambers of commerce in each of their districts to help deliver a unified message that immigration legislation is crucial to the success of the North Carolina economy. Read more here.

INSIDE THE RUGER DEAL -- More incentives offered as company seemed set on North Carolina: Gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. made clear early and publicly that North Carolina was its preferred location for a new factory and the hundreds of jobs it would bring. But the company kept alive enough doubt that state officials raised their offer of tax breaks and other sweeteners three times.

The state and company ended a nearly five-month courtship in mid-August by agreeing on a package of incentives that could be worth $13.7 million if Ruger meets investment and hiring goals. Including additional incentives from the town of Mayodan and Rockingham County, the total package could be worth $15.5 million.

TAX RATES -- BEFORE NEW LAW -- HELPED N.C.: Emphasizing North Carolina's allure, a state business recruiter wrote Ruger's consultant that the state had "the 3rd lowest 'effective tax rate' in the nation based on multiple studies." Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders were simultaneously arguing a tax cut was necessary to spur business. The cut in personal and corporate income taxes are projected by the General Assembly to be worth $524 million over the next two years.

In mid-July, McCrory scheduled a call with Ruger CEO Michael Fifer, who had been a dinner guest at the executive mansion in May, "to reinforce North Carolina's excitement and enthusiasm for the project."

Hours after the phone call, McCrory's top jobs adviser Tony Almeida celebrated. "Rockingham County site is preferred site! Gov talked to CEO today and all he wanted to talk about was nailing down a date for announcement and a golf game with Gov afterwards!" Almeida wrote. But by the time the agreement was signed nearly a month later, the state had agreed to forgo another $1.4 million in future tax revenues that the Ruger factory would generate over 12 years. The state investment grant is paid out over time as jobs are created. Read more here.

FIRST GUILTY VERDICT FOR MORAL MONDAY PROTESTER: Minutes after a labor organizer from Rocky Mount was convicted of all charges related to his arrest in "Moral Monday" protests at the state legislature, the lawyer who represented the demonstrator asked the judge to recuse herself from other cases. Judge Joy Hamilton, a former Wake County District Court judge appointed by the state to preside over the Moral Monday trials, took the matter under advisement.

Saladin Muhammad, 68, the Rocky Mount organizer, was among the early wave of protesters arrested during the Moral Monday demonstrations at the General Assembly and was the first to be tried and convicted in Wake County District Court on Friday.

Al McSurely, the lawyer representing Muhammad, gave immediate notice of plans to appeal the verdict to Wake County Superior Court.

The trial, which lasted most of Friday, offered a glimpse of the video evidence and arguments that prosecutors plan to employ as more than 900 Moral Monday cases make their way through the courts. It also offered a glance at defense strategies and the strengths and weaknesses in the state’s cases. Read more here.

DHHS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: AP -- Hospitals and doctors' offices across North Carolina are still struggling to work with a new Medicaid billing system three months after it was switched on, even as state officials proclaim the job for which the network was created is largely getting done.

Medicaid officials tried to lower expectations before flipping the switch July 1 on the "NCTracks" billing system that replaced one built in the late 1970s. The state Department of Health and Human Services says it has worked out many of the kinks on its end, processing almost 50 million claims and $2.6 billion in reimbursement checks. Yet providers say they still face problems getting paid. Read more here.

WHY THE N&O DECLINED TO ATTEND GOV. McCRORY’S BRIEFING: From N&O Executive Editor John Drescher. Read more here.

ROY COOPER STANDS BEHIND PAT McCRORY: Charlotte Observer editorial cartoonist Kevin Siers on the attorney general’s feud with the governor over who should represent the state on the voting lawsuit.

COOPER ON McCRORY AND GOP: "In just nine short months, they have set out to deliberately and systematically undo 50 years in progress in North Carolina," Cooper said."For the first time since Reconstruction, we have a General Assembly and governorship controlled by the extreme faction of the Republican Party, and their legislative supermajority means their power is virtually unchecked." Read the Asheville Citizen-Times story here.

McCRORY ON COOPER AND VOTING LAWSUIT: From WWAY-TV -- Gov. Pat McCrory says Attorney General Roy Cooper could wind up a witness against the state of North Carolina in a lawsuit the US Department of Justice filed against the state's new voter ID law. "Political statements by an attorney general or by any lawyer can have a detriment(al) impact on their ability to defend our state," McCrory said.
During a visit to Cape Fear Community College, McCrory, a Republican, was asked if he agrees with the opinion of one of his legal advisers that Cooper, a Democrat, compromised his ability to represent the state in the lawsuit. McCrory said he agreed with the assessment of counsel Bob Stephens.

"The dilemma we have is the attorney general, even after the bill was signed and even after two lawsuits were submitted against the state, the attorney general continued to send out political mailings and make public comments very strongly against the laws that the North Carolina legislature (passed) and then I signed and that now the Attorney General of the United States is challenging us on," McCrory said. "And so it is very important that I have someone fighting for us who agrees with voter ID." Read more here.

SEN. JOSH STEIN MAKING THE POLITICAL ROUNDS: Raleigh state Sen. Josh Stein was scheduled to speak at the Watauga Democratic Party’s Fall Rally on Sunday. His topic: "Reclaiming our future the North Carolina way." A big title and long way to go for a Raleigh lawmaker. Stein is the minority whip.

MORE ON THE GOP’S GAMBLE: From WFAE: North Carolina Republicans announced this week they will hold their 2014 convention at the state's only casino, operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians high in the Smoky Mountains. … Pope says Harrah's made an "aggressive" offer to lure the state party convention, which draws more than a thousand Republican delegates and politicians. But the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has also been generous to the party and its candidates - giving nearly $250,000 just since the start of 2012. Read more here.

STATE SUPREME COURT WILL HEAR RJA APPEALS: North Carolina’s Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear the appeal of state attorneys who disagree with a trial court ruling that reduced death sentences of three convicted killers to life in prison because of racial bias.

The justices announced they accepted a petition by the state Attorney General’s Office to review the Racial Justice Act cases of Christina "Queen" Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine. Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks ruled last December that race had played unjust roles in jury selection at their trials. Read more here.

McCRORY’S BIG JOBS DAY: Gov. Pat McCrory proclaimed Friday "Manufacturing Day" in North Carolina as he spent the day appearing at several economic development announcements around the state. In total, the five announcements made Friday are expected to create 380 jobs and result in more than $110 million in investment in the state. Read more here.


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