By Elizabeth Cook
With the GOP National Convention going strong more than 800 miles away, Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina was in Greensboro Wednesday accepting the endorsement of a business group.
Dole wowed the 1996 convention as the wife of the presidential nominee, speaking talk-show style and strolling among the delegates. But Dole is skipping this year’s convention altogether.
Why? “Because there are more North Carolina voters in North Carolina than in Minneapolis,” Dole spokesman Dan McLagan has been quoted as saying.
That includes members of the National Federation of Independent Business, which threw its weight behind Dole during an event at Advanced Direct in Greensboro.
Gregg Thompson, director of the business federation in North Carolina, said Dole understands the state’s entrepreneurs.
“Her support of tax relief and affordable healthcare options for small business owners has been vital to creating a climate that allows them to invest in and grow their businesses,” Thompson said in a press release.
The group has also endorsed Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory in the N.C. gubernatorial race.
Earlier this year, the NFIB gave Dole its Guardian of Small Business award for members of Congress who vote to protect free enterprise.
Fibber: The Dole campaign started airing a 30-second commercial Wednesday whose bark delivers a bite. But it may prove to be one of the lighter moments of this campaign.
Called “Arf,” the commercial features a yapping Jack Russell terrier, jumping up again and again at a fence that’s too tall for it to clear.
“They call her Fibber Kay Hagan,” the voiceover says, referring to Dole’s Democratic opponent. “Fib after fib. She tries to turn us against Elizabeth Dole.”
The 30-second commercial shows Dole in situations across the state, working on behalf of constituents, and returns to the yapping dog, who runs into the fence head-first.
“So bark away, Fibber Kay,” it says. “That dog don’t hunt.”
The political ad can be viewed at http://www.elizabethdole.org.
Senate strength: Dole is one of about 10 Republican senators steering clear of the convention and the national spotlight as they seek re-election.
Dole headed up the National Republican Senatorial Committee two years ago as it spent $19 million in an effort to shore up its control of the Senate. Instead, the GOP lost six seats, and the NRSC ended the year in debt.
Nevada Sen. John Ensign is leading the NRSC effort this year. He faces a Democratic Party that is hoping to net nine seats and reach the magic number of 60 ó which would make it much harder for Republicans to filibuster, according to the Washington Post. Neither party has held 60 seats in the chamber since 1977 and 1978, the Post says.
One of the seats in the Democrats’ sights is Dole’s. The latest findings by Public Policy Polling show Hagan, a state senator, leading Dole, 42 percent to 39 percent. The numbers come from a survey of 904 likely voters from Aug. 20-23. Libertarian Chris Cole was the choice of 5 percent.
Third party: Hagan’s campaign issued a press release Tuesday criticizing the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee’s financing of a Dole ad, “coming on the heels of Dole claiming she wanted third party groups to stay out of the North Carolina Senate race.”
On Palin: Dole and McCrory reacted positively to John McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a runningmate.
– Dole: “Governor Palin is extremely qualified and has a wonderful reputation as a fighter and a reformer.”
– McCrory: “I think Gov. Sarah Palin, a former mayor with a background of cleaning up state government, is a great choice for vice president. She is someone with a real record of changing the status quo and challenging corruption in state government. … People are hungry for change in Washington just as they are hungry for change in state government in North Carolina.”
Labor Day politicking: Kay Hagan and her family spent the Labor Day weekend attending events in towns from Murphy to Oak Island and several communities in between
Dole spent part of Labor Day in Hendersonville at the N.C. Apple Festival.
Democratic congressional nominee Larry Kissell, challenging Rep. Robin Haye’s re-election in the 8th District, knocked on doors in four counties and biked 140 miles around the district.
Family matter: Republican Ada Fisher headed to the GOP convention in the Twin Cities Wednesday morning. Though not a delegate, she will be installed Friday as the N.C. Republican National Committee Woman-elect.
Before she left, Fisher fired off an e-mail chastising area newspapers and TV stations for coverage about Sarah Palin’s pregnant teenage daughter. The teen’s situation has nothing to do with national defense, health care, energy development, economic stability or other important issues, she said. “As the mother of two independent-minded sons who live their own lives and have their own world view, I can neither control their actions nor demand that they fit a campaign perfect family.”
Fisher, a former member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, is challenging Democratic Rep. Lorene Coates.
Perdue gets endorsement: The political action committee of the Conservation Council of North Carolina endorsed Beverly Perdue for governor on Wednesday.
The council cited Perdue’s commitment to an economic plan that promotes the development of clean, renewable energy and makes job creation tied to a “new energy” economy a high priority for her administration, according to a council press release.
Nina Szlosberg, president of Conservation Council, said Perdue understands the need to commit North Carolina to being a leader in promoting clean, renewable sources of energy.”
Perdue has outlined this plan:
– Reduce global warming pollution by 80 percent.
– New investments to help businesses and communities become more energy efficient.
– Create a new generation of biofuels grown and developed in North Carolina.
– Require state buildings and fleets to reduce energy consumption.
New job: Hampton Dellinger, who ran unsuccessfully in the spring for lieutenant governor, has joined the recently established Chapel Hill office of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. Dellinger, former legal counsel to Governor Easley and a former deputy attorney general, will focus primarily on commercial litigation and regulatory issues.