Ted Cruz, at a JLF luncheon April 13
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, at a JLF luncheon April 13

• The race for third place wasn’t close, as participants in last weekend’s statewide Tea Party Constitutional Caucus chose Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson as their favorites. Cruz received 50 percent, Carson 42 percent, and Donald Trump 4 percent in the contest involving 800 voters.

• Durham attorney and former state lawmaker Ken Spaulding, who’s running for the Democratic nomination for governor, has asked for a series of primary debates with Attorney General Roy Cooper, who’s also running for the state’s top job. The Cooper campaign hasn’t addressed the challenge directly.

• A third Democrat, Durham businessman Kevin Griffin, has entered the U.S. Senate campaign to face GOP incumbent Sen. Richard Burr. Griffin, who owns a staffing company, says he’s running to “stop the insanity.”

• State Rep. Walter Jones, R-3rd District, gets the attention of Roll Call newspaper for (once again) rubbing the Republican Party establishment the wrong way.

• State Department of Transportation official Mike Causey will make his fifth run for state insurance commissioner. The Republican is likely to face primary opponent Heather Grant, a nurse from Wilkesboro who ran in the 2012 GOP Senate primary against Thom Tillis. Incumbent Democrat Wayne Goodwin, who defeated Causey in 2012, is expected to seek another term of office.