Dispatches from the campaign trail, Jan. 21, 2014

• Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan continues to pile up campaign cash for her re-election bid. She’s expected to announce today that she collected $2 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. That would give her nearly $7 million in the bank entering 2014, or more than House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, the presumed GOP frontrunner, hopes to collect for the May primary.

• One of Tillis’ Republican challengers, Rev. Mark Harris, will headline a meeting of the Pitt County Republican Party tonight at 6 p.m. in Greenville.

• Two of the ten candidates for the 6th District Congressional seat, Republicans Phil Berger Jr., and Don Webb, have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge from Americans for Tax Reform. Pledge-takers vow not to sign any measure increasing marginal tax rates or eliminating exemptions or deductions that aren’t matched by equivalent rate cuts.

• Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, once again plans to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes. A recent Public Policy Polling survey finds 63 percent of North Carolinians support allowing medical marijuana, up from 58 percent last year. A 42-percent minority backs full legalization of pot. Last year’s legislation quickly died in the House Rules Committee.

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