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National GOP changes will have little N.C. impact

The Republican National Committee on Friday voted for rule changes on the primary calendar for the 2016 presidential race. But state Rep. David Lewis, who was in Washington at the meeting as a party national committeeman for North Carolina, said there would be little impact on the state.

Under the rule change, states could be penalized by losing delegates to the national party conventions if they hold their primaries before March 1, except for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the states that go first and will vote in February.

Last year, the General Assembly passed a law that set the state’s presidential primary for the Tuesday after South Carolina’s Saturday primary. The idea was that candidates would be campaigning in South Carolina’s early primary and probably would go to North Carolina as well, Lewis said.

“It was always contemplated and discussed and debated, though, that if any of the three major parties had problems with that date that would reduce North Carolina’s delegate strength, then the General Assembly would revisit that,” said Lewis, a Dunn Republican. “So I fully expect the General Assembly to revisit that in May and to make clear that our primary will be after March 1.”

The legislature will seek rule information from the Democratic National Committee and the Libertarian Party as well, he said. The (Raleigh) News & Observer

DHHS official’s final weeks include contract extension

Joe Hauck’s final weeks at the state Department of Health and Human Services ended the way his tenure began, with a contract extension.

Hauck worked as a senior adviser to DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos for 11 months, taking a leave from his regular job as an executive in her husband’s company.

Hauck started working for the state in late January last year with the intent of staying two months. But through a number of contract extensions, he ended up staying until Dec. 20. The last extension was for Dec. 1-20, and he worked those last weeks for $1.

Even with the discount, Hauck was one of the agency’s top earners, getting $310,000 through Dec. 9. That’s about $50,000 more than the annual salary of the agency’s highest-paid doctor.

“If we had a Joe Hauck in every department, we would be in much better shape as a state. We are thankful for his many accomplishments and thrilled that he stayed at DHHS through Dec. 20,” said DHHS spokesman Kevin Howell. The (Raleigh) News & Observer

N.C. political operative to head Democratic super PAC

Brad Woodhouse, a longtime national political operative from Raleigh, is about to become president of a Democratic super PAC, American Bridge.

American Bridge is an opposition research outfit founded by David Brock, a former journalist who formed Media Matters. Woodhouse will continue to be president of Americans United for Change, a liberal advocacy group, which he has headed since July.

Woodhouse, 46, has worked with the Democratic National Committee, was a strategist for President Barack Obama, and has worked for other candidates.

His brother, Dallas Woodhouse, works on the other side of the aisle. Until recently, he was head of the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity. The (Raleigh) News & Observer

Committee chooses lawyer to fill vacant N.C. House seat

A Sanford attorney was appointed Friday to fill former state Rep. Deb McManus’ vacant House District 54 seat.

An N.C. House 54 Executive Committee composed of two Chatham County and two Lee County representatives, unanimously voted to appoint Robert Reives II to the seat. McManus’ term expires in December. Reives said he expects to seek re-election.

Reives was the only Lee County resident to seek the seat. His nomination was sent Saturday to Gov. Pat McCrory, who makes the official appointment.

District 54 includes all of Chatham County and a slice of Lee County.

McManus, a first-term representative from Siler City and a former Chatham County Schools board member, resigned in December after being charged with three felony counts of embezzlement.

Reives handles criminal, civil and personal injury cases for Wilson and Reives law firm. The (Raleigh) News & Observer

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