clock-384646_1280• Down to the wire: Chief Justice of the U.S. John Roberts says the plaintiffs suing the state over its congressional maps must file a response by Tuesday explaining why the order demanding new maps should not be put on hold until after the March 15 primary. If Roberts (or all the justices) let the order go forward, the General Assembly will have to convene a special session and have new maps drawn and approved by next Friday — or, possibly, delay at least some of the races contested in the primary. Stay tuned to Carolina Journal for more details as they arise.

• Wake County Republicans held a straw poll, and the big winners were … Sen. Ted Cruz for president, incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (though not by much over Greg Brannon), incumbent state Rep. Nelson Dollar, 2nd District congressional challenger Jim Duncan, and those opposing the Connect NC bond package. The results are here.

• Davie County Republicans will be able to watch a debate among some Senate candidates, even if the incumbent doesn’t show. Challengers Larry Holmquist and Brannon have agreed to a televised debate in Mocksville — as has Pattie Curran, who’s challenging 5th District Rep. Virginia Foxx. Problem is, neither Burr nor Foxx has agreed to a primary debate. Wonder if the sponsors will have empty chairs on stage?

• Speaking of debates, Democrat Ken Spaulding, a Durham attorney seeking the party’s nomination for governor against Attorney General Roy Cooper, dispatched a couple of supporters wearing chicken costumes to the Department of Justice. Cooper has refused an invitation to debate Spaulding March 1.

• The low-key campaign of Democratic state treasurer hopeful Ron Elmer got a boost from the political arm of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. SEANC’s PAC endorsed Elmer over former Wake County Democratic Party chairman Dan Blue III, citing in part Elmer’s vow to slash investment fees in the state pension plan.