Dispatches from the campaign trail, March 27, 2014

• Democratic consultant Thomas Mills encourages his fellow Democrats to stop fixating on the billionaire Koch brothers and start criticizing Republican policies. Mills’ comments were picked up in a National Journal story reporting that a recent poll shows 52 percent of those surveyed had never heard of the libertarian-leaning businessmen. The Senate Majority PAC apparently disagrees.

• Former state Attorney General Rufus Edmisten, a Democrat, is hosting a fundraiser today in Raleigh for 7th Congressional District Republican candidate David Rouzer. Edmisten says he’s known Rouzer since the Johnston County Republican served on the late Sen. Jesse Helms’ staff. One of Rouzer’s Republican opponent, New Hanover County Commissioner Woody White, plans a press conference where he says he’ll question the reasons Edmisten left his office under an ethical cloud.

• Former U.S. Rep. Gene Johnston, who served in the 6th Congressional District from 1981-83, endorses Don Webb in the Republican primary to succeed retiring Rep. Howard Coble.

• The Charlotte Observer profiles “maverick” state Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, who’s one of seven Democrats seeking the nomination for the 12th Congressional District. Brandon is the only openly gay African-American in the General Assembly, and, unlike his opponents in the race, supports both charter schools and tuition vouchers for K-12 students.

• At a meeting of Carteret County Democrats, Democratic Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley and Appeals Court Judge Mark Davis (who are running for re-election), along with Appeals Court Judge Sam Ervin IV (who’s running for the Supreme Court), worry that the end of public financing of judicial campaigns will lead to more partisanship from judges.

• WRAL-TV’s Mark Binker performs a fact check of the “fracking crew” ad from environmental groups targeting three GOP state senators for voting to allow hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina. Binker’s “yellow light” rating is based, in part, on the fact that 35 senators, including some Democrats, voted for the legislation — not just the potentially vulnerable Republicans cited in the ad.

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