Republican campaign for U.S. Senate remains undefined, as voters focus on candidates’ idea

KINSTON — Keith King pushed aside a half-eaten plate of barbecue, slaw and hushpuppies. He needed to make a point. “Hagan,” he said with conviction, “is set to be beat.” For the Republicans gathered last week for a county convention at King’s Restaurant, a landmark in Eastern North Carolina famous for its “pig in a puppy” sandwich, the sentiment was universal. Read more here.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Fresh off her climate change speech, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan will keynote the N.C. League of Conservation Voters dinner May 27 in Raleigh. The league announced the news Monday. Here’s how it describes Hagan’s environmental record: “Prior to the U.S. Senate, Hagan served for a decade in the North Carolina State Senate. During her tenure as a State Senator, she co-sponsored the Clean Smokestacks Act, which would reduce smog and acid rain pollution from coal-fired power plants. Read more here.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Brannon says Tillis would be ‘unelectable’ to U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s seat

Turning up the heat in the U.S. Senate primary, Republican Greg Brannon said a “culture of corruption” would make N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis “unelectable” in November. “The Democrat attack machine will make easy pickings of his candidacy,” Brannon wrote in a new fundraising letter. Read more here.


NEWS & OBSERVER: Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds in Chatham County under scrutiny

RALEIGH — State environmental regulators are investigating whether Duke Energy has been pumping toxic coal-ash wastewater into the Cape Fear River in Chatham County. Officials with the Charlotte-based utility deny any wrongdoing and say workers have been lowering the level of two ponds at the closed plant to conduct routine maintenance. Such pumping is allowed so long as the utility monitors the water to make sure it is safe. Duke says it has been working on the project since last fall and notified the state about its plans in August. A spokesman for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Monday the agency is checking to see whether it was informed and is still investigating whether the discharge was toxic. Read more here.

NEWS & OBSERVER: Federal grand jury probe of DENR-Duke Energy relations begins Tuesday

RALEIGH — Federal prosecutors have issued at least 23 grand jury subpoenas in their criminal probe of the relationship between Duke Energy and the state environmental agency tasked with regulating the country’s largest electricity provider. A federal grand jury is set to meet behind closed doors from Tuesday to Thursday in the federal courthouse in Raleigh to examine documents, video and other materials with the Duke executives and 18 current and former N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources employees summoned to the hearing. Read more here.


THE HILL: ACA enrollment hits 5 million

ObamaCare enrollment spiked in March, and a total of 5 million people have signed up since the insurance marketplaces launched in October, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote in a blog post Monday. Less than a week ago, the administration said 4.2 million had signed up for coverage through the end of February, meaning that about 800,000 people have enrolled so far in March. Read more here.

NATIONAL MEMO: Who controls the Kochs’ political network? ASME, SLAH and TOHE

Libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch were among the first to grasp the political potential of social welfare groups and trade associations — nonprofits that can spend money to influence elections but don’t have to name their donors. The Kochs and their allies have built up a complex network of such organizations, which spent more than $383 million in the run-up to the 2012 election alone. Read more here.


LA CONEXION: Invitan a paisanos a invertir en sus comunidades a través del programa 3×1

RALEIGH- Javier Díaz de León, cónsul general de México, acompañado por Ivonne Deschamps Robles Linares, directora de Promoción y Desarrollo Educativo de CONDUSEF y Samuel Berkstein Kanarek, director del programa 3×1 para Migrantes, inauguraron el lunes en la sede del Consulado General de México la Semana de Educación Financiera 2014 “Ahorra, invierte y mejora tu futuro”. Leer más aquí.

Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.