Familiar faces from state political circles headline fundraiser for Phil Berger Jr.

Posted December 9, 2013
Updated December 10, 2013

Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr.

— Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. will hold a fundraiser this month headlined by a powerful legislative leaders with statewide clout: his father.

State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger Sr. occupies a position on par with the governor in terms of political clout, and he appears to be putting that standing to work by headlining a fundraiser that will be hosted by several lobbyists who practice before the General Assembly.

The younger Berger is running for the 6th Congressional District, a seat currently occupied by Congressman Howard Coble, who has said he is retiring next year. Berger, thanks to his own elected position and his father's well-known political brand, might rightly be considered the frontrunner in what is sure to be a crowded primary field.

"There are many, many people from across the state, but primarily from the 6th Congressional District, who are helping in this campaign," said Dallas Woodhouse, who is managing Berger's congressional campaign.

The lists of "hosts" for the Dec. 17 event include names familiar to anyone who follows state government, including lobbyists who work to influence policy on behalf of big companies and others with interest before the legislature: 

  • Tom Fetzer, a former state Republican Party chairman who now lobbies for Duke Energy, Wake County and more than a dozen other clients.
  • Steve Metcalf, a lobbyist for the Eastern Band of Cherokees, Toyota and others.
  • Tim Kent, who heads the North Carolina Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.
  • Mark Fleming, a lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
  • Dana Simpson, whose client list includes Duke Energy and WakeMed. 
  • Harold Brubaker, a former state House speaker and budget committee chairman who now lobbies for GTECH, a provider of lottery information technology services, and clients that include the NFL Players Association and the North Carolina Association of Realtors. 
  • Jim Harrell, a former state lawmaker who now represents clients such as the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, the North Carolina Dental Society and PSNC Energy. 
  • Chuck Fuller, president and CEO of CB Holdings, who now sits on the board of the conservative John Locke Foundation.
  • Dee Stewart, who heads a political and public relations consulting practice.
  • David Powers, a member of the UNC Board of Governors and vice president of state government relations for tobacco products producer RJ Reynolds.

Asked if the lists of hosts reads more like people with an interest in staying in the good graces of a powerful state lawmaker rather than people who have an interest in backing a congressional candidate, Woodhouse said, "I don't know the answer to this question. What I would say is those are all people who have an interest in good representation in Congress."

A Democratic spokesman took aim at the fundraiser.

"Phil Berger Sr. has tried for years to helicopter-parent his son into Congress, so we're not surprised that Phil Berger Jr. is piggybacking on his father's position to raise campaign cash. Voters deserve leaders focused on creating jobs for every North Carolinian, not just those with the same last name," said Ben Ray, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party. 

The 6th District is based in Greensboro but stretches through several counties along the Virginia border. In the Triangle, it dips into both Durham and Orange counties. It is a Republican-leaning district derisively called the "Berger Baby" by critics during the 2010-11 redistricting process. 

The fundraiser will be at Cafe Luna in Raleigh, which is not in the 6th District but is a favorite fundraising spot for state legislative political committees.


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  • GOPtakersSociety Dec 10, 2013

    99 - why do you make this stuff up. The liberals are the socialist / big government crowd. If you comment on cutting government and wanted to argue for big government to be be fair. But to claim a conservative is big government, makes you very untruthful, but also makes you a liberal, it being one of the same.

    A Libertarian

    ah yes, and Santa Claus is real folks..... do you have any clue as to who is running this State? Any? How about the list above and all are controlled by Art Pope with guidance from the Koch Bros.. what is so unreal is that these perceived intelligent folks are actually destroying their money tree.....

  • kjadams2521 Dec 9, 2013

    Unreal. As if it weren't bad enough that Little Berger is in his father's back pocket, now he's going to be in the pocket of special interest and it's not even the year of the election! This has bad news written all over it. We don't need his father controlling North Carolina and DC. This is the opposite of what we need right now. Too much influence already.

  • Sally1023 Dec 9, 2013

    As Goober use to say...Sur prise...Sur prise

  • jonstewartrules Dec 9, 2013

    Why don't all you babies stop crying. Stick to the issue. Will the candidate be good or bad for NC and why? It's that simple.

    In that case, easy enough. Run him out of NC.

  • rushbot Dec 9, 2013

    "Why don't all you babies stop crying. Stick to the issue. Will the candidate be good or bad for NC and why? It's that simple.
    December 9, 2013 3:41 p.m." .. ..babies..which people are babies..normally babies would be incapable of typing coherent sentences and posting them to a website..how do you know which posters are actual babies.. ..and another thing..how can you tell which ones are crying....as the tv commercial for that one scandal rag says...i'm an inquiring mind...and i do want to know (or something like that)...thanks in advance for your answer...

  • jonstewartrules Dec 9, 2013

    I hate big government regardless on who does it. Just so you know, bush it not in office, not sure if you know who is in the white house currently. Give me a example where berger wants a larger budget that obama or hagan. Obama has over 1 trillion if deficits since he was elected, show me where berget wants more>"

    I'm sorry, what? That rambling mess of words has no real meaning. Try again, just take a deep breath and slow down.

  • rushbot Dec 9, 2013

    hopefully there will be anti-berger protestors before during and after..nc deserves better than berger!!!

  • stymieindurham Dec 9, 2013

    Why don't all you babies stop crying. Stick to the issue. Will the candidate be good or bad for NC and why? It's that simple.

  • Roland K. Dec 9, 2013

    ah, a veritable who's-who of local special interests and lobbyists. a rogue's gallery. not exactly confident these clowns could ever serve North Carolina's needs. ever.

  • trainloadr Dec 9, 2013

    Small donations are soon forgotten. If you think that this government is carried out by all the small donations and voters of a district, think again. This/these politicians are only about getting whatever money they need to continue with their campain. It is like an old preacher I heard once, if you want a $5.00 blessing send me $5.00 but if you want a $1000.00 blessing send me $1000.00. Face it, the little voter aint gonna get blessed at all. When a family makes a business out of politics I do not think it is about serving the country, it is more about ego and serving ones self. I am a Republican but I am sick of all this we are seeing in our government today and recent times past. All politicians should be one and done-----period. But Hey, no one is going to do anything about it because there is too much money being spent. The only incumbant I am voting for is Steve Bizzell.