• Candidates for judicial seats are teaming up to boost their buying power. Republican Chief Justice Mark Martin has joined with former Appeals Court Judge Eric Levinson in an ad series. Their opponents, Republican Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis and incumbent Democratic Justice Robin Hudson, respectively, haven’t spent any advertising money. Meantime, Democratic Appeals Court Judge (and Supreme Court candidate) Sam Ervin IV and Democratic Appeals Court candidate Mark Davis have linked up in a separate ad buy. Also, Republican Supreme Court candidate Michael Robinson has purchased joint spots with Wake County District Attorney candidate John Bryant.

• A new CNN/ORC poll shows incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan maintaining a slim lead over Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis among likely voters, 46-43. Libertarian Sean Haugh gets 7 percent, which easily would surpass any total a Libertarian has received in a statewide race. In a new development, likely voters have a negative view, on net, of Hagan: 46 percent favorable, 47 percent favorable. Meantime, Tillis has a better perception among likely voters, 47 percent to 40 percent.

• The Washington Post’s Reid Wilson digs deeply into the “tax breaks to yacht and jet owners” Tillis “gave” in recent legislative budgets, noting that the tax rate in question was implemented in 1957 and kept alive while Hagan was one of the state’s chief tax and budget writers.

• Two North Carolina native “American Idol” winners — Ruben Studdard and Fantasia — have hit the campaign trail for Idol runner-up Clay Aiken in the Democrat’s bid to defeat incumbent 2nd District GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers.