Dispatches from the campaign trail, February 14, 2014

• WRAL’s Fact Check feature comes very close to giving the Democratic Super PAC Patriot Majority USA a “red light” for this ad portraying House Speaker (and U.S. Senate candidate) Thom Tillis’ positions on health care. WRAL’s scoring system is evolving, but red lights are likely to include “serious factual problems, an intent to mislead viewers, or both.”

• U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has a long row to hoe, according to the latest survey from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Democrat Hagan’s approval rating is 41 percent, with 50 percent disapproving. Hagan trails every potential Republican rival other than Dr. Edward Kryn, whom she ties 40-40. Hagan would lose to Tillis, Heather Grant, and Mark Harris by 2 points, Greg Brannon by 3 points, and former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander by 7 points. Other than Tillis, most voters don’t know a lot about the GOP candidates.

• New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White, who’s running for the GOP nomination in the 7th District, went after his primary opponent, former state Sen. David Rouzer. Rouzer has been endorsed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was one of the minority of House Republicans who voted to extend the nation’s debt ceiling without any restrictions. White said Rouzer would be too close to the Washington establishment. Rouzer spokeswoman Jessica Wood said Rouzer has endorsements from a number of conservative organizations.

• There may be a primary battle on the Democratic side in the 7th District. Princeton Town Commissioner Walter Martin is mulling a bid. Martin would face New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield. All the candidates hope to succeed Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre, who’s retiring.

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