Around the South for Sept. 29: AR, NC & VA

Arkansas: Hutchinson off to Cuba. It’s not just the liberals who are pleased by the Obama Administration’s rapprochement with Castro’s Cuba. The Razorback State’s conservative Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson is heading to Cuba this week on a trade mission, reports Arkansas Business, hoping to find new markets for his state’s agricultural output. Hutchinson, who supported the embargo on Cuba while he was in Congress and the Department of Homeland Security, now favors gradually removing some of the restrictions on business and travel to the island nation ……. North Carolina: All primaries set for March 15. The Tar Heel legislature has passed a bill that mandates that all of the state’s party primaries, for president as well as for state offices, be held on the same day, which in 2016 will be March 15. Democrats complained that by moving up the day, challengers would not have as long to organize a campaign, reports the News & Observer. The state GOP complained about a provision that allows legislative caucuses to raise money outside of party channels ……. Virginia: Democrats hire field staff, collect data. Under the direction of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a former Democratic National Chairman, the state Democratic Party has hired 69 field operatives to work in state Senate races, compared with five the party had in 2011. The party is also investing heavily in voter surveys and data collection, reports the Washington Post, hoping to boost Democratic turnout this fall and take control of the state Senate, as well as win the presidential race next year ……..