Dispatches from the campaign trail, May 8, 2014

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• Nothing’s set in the Democratic race for the 2nd Congressional District. Clay Aiken leads Keith Crisco by 369 votes, and Toni Morris received just under 20 percent of the vote. But nearly 28,000 ballots were cast and almost 300 provisional and absentee ballots have not been counted. If, after those ballots are counted and the precincts are canvassed, Aiken has less than 40 percent of the vote, the top two will meet in a July 15 runoff; if the margin between Aiken and Crisco is less than 1 percent of the total ballots cast — 285 or so — then Crisco can demand a recount. Stay tuned.

• A higher percentage of voters cast ballots in this primary cycle than in the past two midterm elections: 15.71 percent, according to the State Board of Elections. In 2010, 14 percent voted; in 2006 (when there was no U.S. Senate candidate on the ballot), the figure was 12 percent.

• Some national pundits are offering a presidential spin to the Tar Heel State’s GOP Senate primary, saying Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s full-throated endorsement of runner-up Greg Brannon may have damaged Paul’s 2016 presidential prospects. Paul quickly endorsed Senate nominee Thom Tillis not long after he secured the victory.

• Slate’s Dave Weigel gives a national audience “five lessons” from Tuesday’s primary, and North Carolina has a role in each one.

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