Dispatches from the campaign trail, April 15, 2014

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• Hope you’ve filed your taxes …

• House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, has rejected WRAL’s invitation to join an April 23 debate with fellow Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary, nurse Heather Grant of Wilkesboro, and the Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte. The Tillis team made it official Monday, citing a prior engagement.

• WWAY-TV in Wilmington posts video interviews with the three Republicans and two Democrats seeking the 7th Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat.

• The Democratic primary in the 12th Congressional District got a little less crowded at James “Smuggie” Mitchell dropped out of the contest to succeed former Rep. Mel Watt, who resigned to run a federal housing agency. Mitchell, who was passed over last week by the Charlotte City Council when it chose state Sen. Dan Clodfelter as mayor, cited poor fundraising. The race still features seven Democrats and two Republicans.

• Cue Warren Zevon (“I’d like to meet his tailor”): Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., who’s considered the most likely candidate to win the Republican primary in the 6th Congressional District, tells the News & Record he’s begin fitted for a madras jacket, honoring retiring Rep. Howard Coble. Coble’s sartorial splendor drew the notice of D.C. gossip site Buzzfeed.

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