Daily dose: Rick Perry's gunboat floats into town, sinks

Rick Perry at NC BBQ to help Senate hopeful Tillis (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged North Carolina Republicans Friday to work to elect Thom Tillis' to the U.S. Senate, saying his arrival will usher in a GOP majority in the chamber that can force the hand of President Barack Obama to fortify American foreign policy. Worried over the rise of the Islamic State and the Ebola virus and angry about the government's response to both, Republicans at what's billed as "North Carolina's Largest Political Rally" cheered as Perry, Gov. Pat McCrory and others pressed for a Tillis victory over Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. "We need a United States Senate that will stand up to and clearly send a powerful message to the White House that we are going to put policies into place (so) that our enemies will fear us and our allies will trust us," Perry said to many of the 5,000 people who attended the traditional election-season event.

Which Southern state is feeling the brunt of Big Money spending? (Facing South) -- The U.S. Senate race in North Carolina has been getting a lot of attention for the onslaught of spending -- but voters in other Southern states may be feeling even more battered by the big money barrage.

Partisan groups have interest in non-partisan Supreme Court (Raleigh News & Observer) --Judicial campaigns, technically non-partisan, have become steeped in politics as lawsuits challenging laws and policies adopted by the legislature make their way through the courts.http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/10/24/5265111/partisan-groups-have-keen-interest.html

Straight-ticket voting now a thing of the past (High Point Enterprise) -- The elimination of straight-ticket voting by the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly may be the most overlooked, yet still significant, change among the GOP’s package of voting revisions. This fall’s general election marks the first one in which straight-ticket voting — a practice dating in North Carolina from the early 20th century — won’t be an option.

Why Stoner Stereotype Won't Spoil N.C.'s Senate Race (National Journal) -- In an effort to upset the North Carolina Senate race, a series of digital ads depicting stoner culture urge voters to support Sean Haugh, the pro-marijuana libertarian running against Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis. … Haugh, a pizza deliveryman and former executive director of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, isn't behind the spots. The conservative Koch-backed American Future Fund spent $225,000 on the campaign in an attempt to move Hagan voters to the more "progressive" third-party candidate. Emphasizing Haugh's support for the environment, peace, and, yes, marijuana legalization, the videos draw sharp contrasts between the libertarian and Democratic candidates. But it likely won't disrupt the race. Imagining potheads seemingly doesn't come easy for conservative admakers. The videos have all the elements of deep opposition research on typical marijuana supporters—albeit research stemming from pop-culture cliches.

Democrats make much of NC toll project (AP) -- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee says it is running the pair of similar ads in the Charlotte market in the last stage of the Senate campaign between Republican Thom Tillis and Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. It's part of a multimillion-dollar ad buy designed to help Hagan, running until Election Day, the group said. In "Map," viewers see Tillis' name and face on a highway sign next to another sign for Interstate 77 saying "TOLL AHEAD." The ads suggest Tillis used his pull as state House speaker to get "a toll-lane" bill through the North Carolina General Assembly and signed into law. The ads say property owners who could stand to gain financially from the project donated $26,000 to his Senate campaign the day after the bill was signed into law. "Toll" relies heavily on video from a Charlotte TV report, showing apparent protesters of the toll lanes with an anti-Tillis sign. "Tolls for us. Millions for his friends," a narrator says. "North Carolina can't trust Thom Tillis," one of the ads concludes.

Texas governor Perry rallies GOP faithful at event for Tillis (Fayetteville Observer) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry played to the patriotism and hopes of 5,000 energized fellow Republicans on Friday at their signature campaign event as he urged them to send state House Speaker Thom Tillis to the U.S. Senate. "This is the single most important thing that you're going to in the next 11 days: Electing this man to the United States Senate," Perry told the cheering crowd at the Conservative Rally.

Perry stumps for Thom Tillis at Smithfield GOP rally (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry told those gathered at a Republican rally Friday night that North Carolina is on pace to reach his state’s level of economic success within five years, pointing to the leadership of House Speaker Thom Tillis. Perry headlined the event – billed as the largest conservative rally in the state – which filled a cavernous tobacco warehouse with hundreds of the GOP faithful and Republican candidates campaigning for state legislative and judicial seats. “We’ve created more jobs than any other state in the nation,” Perry told the cheering crowd. “We have shown the rest of the country, here’s how you can make a real difference. You’re about five years behind that in North Carolina.”

Hillary Clinton, Hagan to rally NC Democrats (AP) -- Former Secretary of State of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming to Charlotte to campaign for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

Cosmo sends NCSU shirtless male models to encourage voting (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Getting college students to vote might be a bit easier (and sexier) this year: Cosmopolitan magazine is offering a party bus with “models and swag” to ferry N.C. State students to the polls. N.C. State won the bus through a contest on Cosmopolitan.com. Here’s what students had to do to win: “Convince the Cosmo editors that you’re serious about getting people excited for Election Day, and you could win the #CosmoVotes grand prize: A party bus that will shuttle students to the polls, stocked with snacks, prizes, shirtless male models, and more,” the website says. “Because voting is important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.”

Woodhouse brothers on ‘CBS This Morning’ Saturday (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The Brothers Woodhouse, Brad (big Dem) and Dallas (big Republican), will be on ‘CBS This Morning’ Saturday, talking about the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina, the 2014 elections, and the documentary about them, ‘Woodhouse Divided.’

Senate candidates differ on approach to foreign policy (WRAL-TV) -- The three candidates in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina differ on how best to protect Americans and American interests.

NC Board of Elections completes citizenship audit (WRAL-TV) -- The NC Board of Elections completed an audit Friday of more than 10,000 voters whose citizenship status had been questioned by a so-called voter watchdog group. Two-hundredths of one-percent of the state’s 6.6 million voters, 1,425, were found in question.

1,425 voters in question (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The State Board of Elections said Friday that 1,425 names on the voter rolls of North Carolina (Two-hundredths of one-percent of the state’s 6.6 million voters) belong to people who likely do not meet one basic requirement to cast a ballot: U.S. citizenship.

Ellmers sees bump in funding; Aiken outspends Republican incumbent (Fayetteville Observer) -- Rep. Renee Ellmers got a burst of funding in the final reporting period before Election Day, but Democratic challenger Clay Aiken continued

GOP: OK to discriminate against gays and refuse to marry (AP) — Twenty-eight Republicans in the North Carolina Senate are urging state courts administrators not to punish employees who refuse to marry gay couples based on religious objections.

GOP to AOC: Magistrates shouldn’t have to perform gay weddings (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Senate Republicans said in a letter Friday to the Administrative Office of the Courts that magistrates should be able to opt out of performing same-sex marriages, contradicting a memo from the AOC. Twenty-eight of 33 Senate Republicans signed the letter, including Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden. Berger said earlier this week he would file a bill next session shielding magistrates and registers of deeds with religious objections from involvement in gay marriages. A magistrate in Elizabeth City turned away two men seeking to get married after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. At least two magistrates have resigned, saying they don’t want to perform same-sex marriages.

Magistrate in marriage dispute resigns (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- A Pasquotank County magistrate who received national media attention after he refused to marry a same-sex couple has resigned, the county’s chief magistrate said Friday evening.

Cleaved counties can affect congressional clout (WRAL-TV) -- Local and federal representatives say there are challenges and benefits when multiple congressmen represent the same county.

Commission seeks to stop cheating businesses (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The commission has identified potential legislation to stop companies trying to cheat on workers’ compensation and skirt labor laws. Community members and commission advisers met Friday to offer feedback.

ZeekRewards founder charged in $850 million scam (AP) — A North Carolina man that prosecutors say masterminded an $850 million Internet-based Ponzi scheme faces charges of wire and mail fraud, conspiracy and tax fraud.

OVER BUDGET, BEHIND SCHEDULE: Completion of Charlotte Outer Loop delayed (AP) — State officials say completion of the final 5.7-mile stretch of the Charlotte Outer Loop will be delayed until spring.

State officials talk Medicare (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- N.C. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and Van Braxton, Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program director, were relieved Friday to see a packed room of seniors with questions about Medicare.

NC legislator lets website expire, opposition group buys it (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Here’s some advice to politicians: If you let your website domain name expire, don’t be surprised if your opposition buys it.

UNC medical worker plans to help fight Ebola in Africa (WRAL-TV) -- John Strader, a physician's assistant at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill, plans to go to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak.

Despite sunny weather, NC State Fair attendance down slightly (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Through Thursday, 617,688 people had passed through the gates at the NC State Fair, compared with 624,956 last year, a decline of about 1 percent.

Cause of cracked windows on state buildings still unknown (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The state is still awaiting the results of tests to determine why windows have begun to chip and crack on two new downtown state buildings, including the Nature Research Center of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

Maury prison to be second male mental health facility in the state (Kinston Free Press) -- Recruiting event was held Wednesday for new positions

Sanford retailer wins $1 million Jackpot lottery game (Fayetteville Observer) -- A Sanford retailer has won a $1 million Jackpot game, the N.C. Education Lottery announced today.

Woman nets lottery win (Jacksonville Daily News) -- A Jacksonville woman is $30,000 richer thanks to a winning N.C. Education Lottery ticket. Bettie Jordan recently scratched off the top prize in the Aces & 8s game,

Thomas Built Buses chooses to expand again in NC (AP) — Thomas Built Buses says it will add 236 full-time jobs at its High Point facility, choosing the Triad site over its South Carolina plant.

Heavner-led University Directories files for bankruptcy (Triangle Business Journal) -- Prominent Triangle businessman Jim Heavner, a household name in Chapel Hill who was recently inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame, has taken his company, University Directories, into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to ward off what he calls a hostile takeover attempt.

Ashley Furniture now has 657 jobs at Davie County facility (Triad Business Journal) -- Arcadia, Wis.-based Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. confirmed that it now has 657 new jobs at its recently unveiled 2.8 million-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center in David County.

Police say NC student takes school bus on joyride (AP) — Police in Elizabeth City are trying to determine how a student was able to drive a bus from an elementary school parking lot.

Greene County Early College honored for high graduation rate (Kinston Free Press) -- Greene County Early College High School’s academic success continues to be recognized across the state. The school was among 43 in the state honored by State Superintendent June Atkinson for having the highest four-year graduation rates among all districts and schools in the state in 2013-14.

NCCU, two other schools to test sliding scale admissions standards (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Under a sliding scale of minimum admissions requirements, students with lower than an 800 on the SAT but higher-than-minimum GPAs could be admitted.

Woeful lack of oversight at UNC enabled Professor Debby’s deception (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Hired in an administrative role at her alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill, Deborah Crowder masterminded an 18-year bogus class scheme that was laid out in breathtaking detail this week.

UNC president pledges to do more to prevent academic fraud (WRAL-TV) -- Days after an outside investigation revealed the breadth of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina System's flagship university, System President Tom Ross assured leaders that "we will do more" to prevent future cases in the 16-campus network.

SBI, Orange DA laid groundwork for UNC investigation (WRAL-TV) -- Long before former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein started digging into allegations of student-athletes steered to bogus classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, criminal investigators paved the way.

UNC's Williams: 'Very sad time' after fraud report (AP) — North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams said Friday night it's a "very sad time" at the school after an investigation found widespread academic fraud and adds that his program "thought we were doing the right thing."

A new ‘no electronics’ rule (Charlotte Observer column) -- However, the “rising ubiquity and utility” of electronic devices hurt his students’ ability to concentrate. His decision to ban electronics was a fraught one. His students, after all, are young adults who should be able to make good choices for themselves. Any professor worth his salt should be able to out compete the attention of a laptop or phone.

Tuskegee leader used inner strength to advance (AP) — Brian Johnson grew up in a Durham, North Carolina, housing project where friends were killed or served long stretches in prison.

This is a Golden Age of Energy Philanthropy (inside philanthropy) -- Energy companies are rolling in cash these days, and so they have more resources to spare for their philanthropy. But self-interested motives are also at play. These companies are starved for skilled workers as they engage in rushed expansion, and they've been battered by negative publicity related to fracking and climate change. So energy philanthropy on STEM and education more broadly kills a couple birds with one stone, helping both train new workers and generate good press, including in places where fracking is dividing neighbor from neighbor.

Pragmatism on Climate Change Trumps Politics at Local Level Across U.S. (New York Times) -- Even as politicians at the national level steer clear of the politically charged topic, officials who live where its effects lap at residents’ doorsteps are embracing the issue.

Dominion Power won’t lower eastern N.C. rates after winning tax ruling (Charlotte Business Journal) -- The ruling allows Dominion North Carolina Power to continue to collect more money for N.C. corporate income taxes than it pays after a recent tax cut by the General Assembly.

In NC court races, voters barely know names (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- On Nov. 4, NC residents will elect four justices – a majority of our state’s Supreme Court, the top tier of a co-equal branch of government.

Berger tilts at windmills on the gay marriage issue (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The state Senate president should accept the rule of law on same-sex marriages rather than encouraging local officials not to comply.

Why Latinos can’t sit out this NC election (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The upcoming elections will determine representation for every issue that affects Latinos in North Carolina. Approximately 49 percent of Hispanics in North Carolina are foreign-born, which means that issues related to immigration are important.

Senate District 26 (Greensboro News & Record) -- Eden businessman William Osborne is at a disadvantage against Sen. Phil Berger but is much less confrontational.