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Morning Roundup: Big money defined state races in 2012

In North Carolina, big money mattered. It fueled million-dollar legislative campaigns and lifted Republicans to record majorities in the state House and Senate. Political parties, especially Republicans, unleashed their firepower. And outside spending topped $14 million, according to the Institute for Southern Studies. More than $12 million was spent on just 10 races. Read more here.

More political headlines:

--The 2012 presidential election will be remembered as the year of the pollster. And Raleigh’s Public Policy Polling finished at the top of the list. Read a Q-and-A with pollster Tom Jensen about the firm's secrets.

--Less than a year after an animal welfare group uncovered abuse at a Butterball turkey farm in Hoke County, the group says another undercover investigation shows identical practices at Butterball facilities in Onslow, Duplin, Sampson and Lenoir counties.

--President Barack Obama challenged congressional Republicans Wednesday to let taxes rise on the wealthiest Americans on both economic and political grounds, noting he campaigned successfully for re-election on the point and contending it would instantly ease the threat of the "fiscal cliff" plunging the nation back into recession.

--Ed Williams, the retired Charlotte Observer editorial page editor, shares insights the hoopla surrounding his now-famous neighbor, Paula Broadwell.


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