Pat McCrory is red-carpet political fundraising has attracted its fair share of GOP stars: Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Steve Forbes and Nikki Haley.
But his campaign's April 30 check-gathering at the Angus Barn will likely top those events thanks to headliner Jeb Bush. The hosts for the event -- announced Thursday by his campaign -- include former Denmark Ambassador Jim Cain, appointed by President George W. Bush; Golden Corral executive Ted Fowler; Republican uber-fundraiser Kieran Shanahan; and businesswoman Judi Grainger.
The former Florida governor is widely considered as a future presidential candidate and known for his dedication to education policy. And it's worth noting he's in town next month as part of an education summit with former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt.
Here's a few more thoughts from the back of my notebook, after meetings with operatives about the race in recent weeks: The event will help McCrory boost his financial advantage over the Democratic candidates who will spend the next six weeks squeezing blood from a turnip and spend much of it to get the party's nomination on May 8. McCrory started the year with $2 million in the bank. The closest competitor on the Democratic side -- not counting Gov. Bev Perdue, who announced at the last minute she wouldn't seek re-election -- was Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton with $600,000 in his campaign re-election coffer as of Dec. 31.
The Democratic candidates -- who all trail McCrory in the early polls -- face a May 8 primary victory that leaves them penniless and still 10 points behind, which is what worries many Democratic operatives in Raleigh these days.
The Republican National Governor's Association is obviously putting it's weight behind McCrory -- just as the Democratic Governor's Association was prepared to do for Perdue. (The DGA's role seems up in the air -- all in or sit it out -- given that Perdue, it's vice chairwoman, is not running and no clear heir apparent is emerging.)
The only question for McCrory now is whether he will owe all these big GOP stars an endorsement when they seek higher office. Or whether McCrory -- if elected easily and governing as a consensus/reformer candidate with support from the Republican base (which is far from a given) -- can emerge as a national figure himself. Going out on a limb here ... but what about McCrory for vice president in 2016? McCrory for president in 2020? Anyone? Bueller?
Let the comments below commence.