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The "influencers"

Campaigns & Elections, a trade magazine for politicos, named the top "political influencers" in its latest edition. Ten from each state made it to the list.

Five Republicans and five Democrats, a mix of North Carolina lobbyists and campaign consultants, got the nod.

The five Republicans: John Davis of John Davis Consulting; Tom Fetzer, lobbyist and former Raleigh mayor and state GOP chairman; lobbyist Dana Simpson; political consultant Carter Wrenn; and political consultant Chris Sinclair. Davis is actually unaffiliated.

The five Democrats: Political consultant Brad Crone; consultant Mike Davis; strategist Scott Falmlen, a former state Democratic Party executive director; lobbyist Bruce Thompson; and Andrew Whalen, consultant for the Blue Dog Coalition and a former state Democratic Party executive director.

Nichols to air TV ads now

Jack NicholsJack Nichols is going on the air early.

The former Wake County commissioner will begin airing two 15-second television ads on regular and cable television in the Triangle starting Thursday.

He is running against Josh Stein in the Democratic primary for state Sen. Janet Cowell's seat.

Campaign consultant Mike Davis said that that ads will air "intermittently" from now on, though it is not "a big buy." He believes political types will be paying attention because of the presidential race.

"It's going to get so cluttered and so negative in April and May," he said. "We know that there's quite a few voters in the district that may not remember Jack when he was county commissioner here and we want to reintroduce him to voters."

In the first ad, a voter laments that all politicians are the same. "You don't know Jack," her friend says.

In the second ad, the first voter notes Nichols accomplishments: Cofounding Smart Start in Wake County and "fighting for our public schools" as county commissioner.

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