Dispatches from the campaign trail, February 6, 2014

• Now that Clay Aiken is a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District Democratic race, he’ll come under greater scrutiny. Case in point: BuzzFeed writer Benny Johnson unearths this tweet from Aiken during the 2012 Republican National Convention that the “American Idol” runner-up subsequently deleted:

aiken-drinking

• In other 2nd District Democratic news, Keith Crisco, state Commerce secretary under former Gov. Bev Perdue, welcomed Aiken to the race. Durham attorney Houston Barnes said he would not enter the contest, endorsing Aiken. Fayetteville counselor Toni Morris also will run.

• Campaign fundraising figures keep flowing in, and in the fourth quarter of 2013, the Democratic contenders collecting the most money for the 12th Congressional District contest are Guilford County state Reps. Alma Adams ($112,537) and Marcus Brandon ($70,244).

• State Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, raised $800,000 in 2013 for his re-election campaign. He’s likely to give much of it to other Republican legislative candidates facing tougher competition.

• State Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, who’s running for a full four-year term this fall, will be the keynote speaker Monday at Western Carolina University’s Black Heritage Expo.

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