Dispatches from the campaign trail, April 1, 2014

• The News & Record’s Joe Killian has some fun with the first broadcast ad from Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., who’s running for the Republican nomination in the 6th Congressional District. Berger responds with good humor.

• The conservative seniors advocacy group 60 Plus Association launches an N.C. ad buy targeting Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and other Senate incumbents (from both parties) who support a bill that the group says amounts to an Obamacare-like takeover of the mortgage industry.

• Thanks to state rules requiring a rotation of the order of names on election ballots, House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, will appear on the top line of the GOP Senate primary ballot.

• It’s endorsement time! The Asheville Tea Party endorsed a number of candidates in local, state, and federal races, notably Belmont businessman Richard Lynch, who’s challenging incumbent Rep. Patrick McHenry in the 10th Congressional District Republican primary. Meantime, the State Employees Association of North Carolina endorsed nearly two dozen legislative candidates, including picks against two incumbent senators: Democrat Clark Jenkins and Republican Ralph Hise.

• At a Winston-Salem forum, the four Democrats seeking to take on Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, go after the incumbent House member’s record.

• Clay Aiken, 2nd District Democratic candidate, says he doesn’t want to talk about his “American Idol” experiences during the campaign (and he promises not to sing). No mention in this story about his second-place finish on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

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