Dispatches from the campaign trail, March 20, 2014

• Political candidates cannot coordinate with independent expenditure committees (aka Super PACS). But they can publish generic videos on public websites and provide footage for those outside groups to use in their own ads. Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis have done just that. (You’ll need to click on this link to view the Hagan video.) As Dome point out, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart had some fun recently with “b-roll” produced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

• The nonpartisan Cook Political Report now gives Republicans even odds of gaining at least the six seats they need to win control of the U.S. Senate. The recent entries by two Republicans — U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner in the Colorado Senate race and former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown into the New Hampshire contest — have made the seats less safe for incumbent Democrats Mark Udall and Jeanne Shaheen, respectively. Cook still rates the North Carolina race between Hagan and the eventual Republican nominee a toss-up. Says Washington Post blogger Sean Sullivan: “The overarching reason Republicans should be optimistic is that they have more paths to the majority than at any point this cycle so far.”

• On the GOP side, the Rev. Mark Harris has gone on the attack against Tillis, the state House speaker from Mecklenburg County. The Harris campaign issued what McClatchy Newspapers said could be considered a “push-poll” against Tillis that uses information about a candidate to try to prompt answers from the respondents. Tillis held a double-digit lead among respondents initially, but when follow-up questions challenging Tillis’ character were asked, the lead evaporated. Harris campaign adviser Tom Perdue said Tillis “essentially lives a double life; he says one thing and does another … he’s nothing more than a typical Democrat.” The Tillis campaign said Harris should rise above such tactics.

• State Supreme Court Associate Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat who’s running for her first full term on the court, will headline the Founders Day celebration April 22 at Fayetteville State University.

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