Dispatches from the trail, January 12, 2016

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• Former Chatham County Republican Party Chairman Jim Duncan (at right), who’s challenging incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers for the 2nd District GOP nomination, is one of the first three U.S. House candidates to win the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that “is designed to build a farm team of potential Senate candidates.” The free-market Club for Growth endorsed Duncan last month.

• The News & Observer profiles Republican Mark Otto, who’s challenging incumbent Rep. David Rouzer in the 7th Congressional District primary. The winner will face Democrat (and former Libertarian) Wesley Casteen in the general election.

• Former state Rep. Deborah Ross’ tenure as state director for the American Civil Liberties Union has become an issue in her Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate, as two opponents — Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey and businessman Kevin Griffin — separately issued campaign messages saying the close relationship between Ross and the ACLU would be a liability in the general election campaign against the likely GOP nominee, incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.

• Democrats and Republicans have little to cheer about in the latest Gallup tracking poll of voter affiliation. More voters identify as independent (42 percent) than either Democrat (29 percent) or Republican (25 percent). The Democratic number is an all-time low, and the Republican figure is only one percentage point above the record low.

Rick Henderson / Editor-in-chief, Carolina Journal

Rick Henderson became editor-in-chief of Carolina Journal in August 2016 after being managing editor of Carolina Journal since April 2009. Before that, he had worked more than...

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