Dispatches from the campaign trail, March 19, 2014

• Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-2nd, gets ad support from a group backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg advocating immigration reform. Americans for a Conservative Direction is running this and similar ads in the districts of Republican House members, who, like Ellmers, support some form of legal status for illegal immigrants.

• The six candidates hoping to succeed retiring Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-7th, spelled out their priorities to the Brunswick County Association of Realtors. At a separate debate sponsored by the Brunswick County Republican Women, GOP candidates David Rouzer and Woody White traded barbs while Chris Andrade avoided taking shots at his opponents.

• It’s fundraising time in the Senate campaign! Charlotte Baptist minister Mark Harris will get a boost Saturday from former Arkansas Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee at an event at the North Ridge Country Club. Meantime, House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, will head to Washington for a Monday event sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

• A new survey by Republican-leaning polling group American Insights finds registered voters split evenly at 41 percent between Republicans and Democrats in their voting preferences for the General Assembly. The poll also found independents souring on Obamacare, with 50 percent saying the health reform law has damaged their confidence in government (and only 19 percent saying it has improved their confidence); also, more voters disapproved of President Obama’s performance in office by a 49-43 margin. Republicans hold a 6-point lead, 44-38, in the generic congressional ballot.

• If the 2014 election news isn’t exciting enough, former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, a Democrat, is looking to 2016. He’s conducting a “listening tour” as he considers a run for governor, most likely facing a primary fight against four-term Attorney General Roy Cooper.

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