Arrive early. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will campaign tonight in Smithfield for GOP gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory tonight at a barbecue that’s expected to draw thousands.


More star power. Meantime, singer Alicia Keys and two members of the Biden family will campaign for Democrats at separate events this weekend.


On the mend. Republican Gene McLaurin, who’s running for the open seat in Senate District 25, is “resting comfortably” after a Wednesday auto accident and expects to resume his campaign soon, his family said.


For the bench. Veteran Wake County Superior Court Judge Abe Jones is facing an unusual challenge from fellow Democrat Bryan Collins, a public defender, in race to represent a new judicial district.


• Family tradition. State Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, launches an ad featuring an “independent voter” — his wife — to counter the aggressive ads from Democratic opponent Deb Butler.