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July 26, 2014

Posts in "N.C. Senate"

July 22, 2014

Freedom Partners Dives Into North Carolina Senate Race

Freedom Partners Dives Into North Carolina Senate Race

Kay Hagan will seek re-election in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Freedom Partners, a group affiliated with the Koch Brothers, has purchased at least $2.8 million in airtime in North Carolina to boost the GOP’s bid to pick up the state’s Senate seat, two sources told CQ Roll Call.

The airtime will benefit state Speaker Thom Tillis, who faces Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a competitive race that could determine which party holds the Senate next year.  Full story

June 16, 2014

Kay Hagan Gets Help From EMILY’s List on Airwaves

Kay Hagan Gets Help From EMILYs List on Airwaves

Kay Hagan will get some help from EMILY's List for her re-election campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Kay Hagan’s campaign will get a boost this week from EMILY’s List independent expenditure arm, which will attack her GOP opponent on the television airwaves.

The North Carolina Democrat faces state Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee, in one of the most competitive and expensive elections this cycle.

The Women Vote! ad attacks Tillis for cuts to education that the state legislature made last year — one of a number of items passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that Democrats have used to attack Tillis.

It features a teacher, speaking about the effects those cuts had on her classroom. Full story

June 9, 2014

FreedomWorks Might Help Candidates They Opposed in 2014 Primaries

FreedomWorks Might Help Candidates They Opposed in 2014 Primaries

Freedomworks did not endorse Tillis, left, in the primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

FreedomWorks, a tea party-affiliated group that backed primary challengers to two GOP incumbents this cycle, is weighing whether to spend money to help the nominees they previously opposed.

The group, known for targeting Republican incumbents and establishment favorites with ground-game assistance for conservative candidates, is more closely tied with the tea party than the Republican Party.

But as FreedomWorks looks to the general election fights ahead, and with Republicans needing a six-seat net gain to win the Senate majority, the group is open to aiding candidates like North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — both of whom it actively worked against earlier this year.

“We’ve decided that Harry Reid’s not our friend,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in an interview Thursday. “Shockingly.” Full story

North Carolina Is Ground Zero for Unemployment Extension Fallout

North Carolina Is Ground Zero for Unemployment Extension Fallout

While the debate over an unemployment extension continues in Congress, Tillis helped cut the duration of North Carolina unemployment benefits to the shortest in the nation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Congress showing few signs of passing an unemployment extension in 2014, North Carolina’s tossup Senate race will be a key test of the issue’s political potency.

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, state Speaker Thom Tillis, have taken sharply different stands on unemployment benefits, and the issue could cut both ways.

Hagan backed the Senate’s unemployment insurance extension, and inserted a provision to restore federal benefits to North Carolina workers.

She’s attacked Tillis for taking a lead role slashing the benefits in North Carolina — now the least generous in the nation — while he credits the cut, in part, for the state’s shrinking unemployment rate.

Full story

May 30, 2014

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

DSCC Reserves $5.5 Million in TV Airtime for Kay Hagan

Hagan is seeking re-election in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm has reserved $5.5 million in airtime for Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., according to a source with knowledge of the reservation.

Hagan’s re-election bid is one of the most competitive and expensive races in the country. She faces North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.

The DSCC has reserved airtime in at least four other states with competitive Senate races: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire and Arkansas.  This marks the DSCC’s first airtime reservation in the Tar Heel State.

 In North Carolina, the DSCC reserved airtime starting Sept. 16 and running through Election Day. The amount of money spent will increase each week, from $376,000 the week of Sept. 16, to $1.2 million in the final week before the election.

Full story

May 20, 2014

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Crossroads GPS Launches Ad Attacking Hagan in North Carolina

Outside groups are spending heavily in North Carolina as Tillis challenges a Democratic incumbent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican-aligned outside group Crossroads GPS has launched an ad in North Carolina attacking Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on the president’s health care law.

The group said it put $3,550,000 behind the ad, which will run on North Carolina TV for four weeks. It’s the latest evidence that the race between Hagan and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis will likely be the most expensive of the cycle.

The ad, which began running Tuesday, attacks Hagan for saying people would be able to keep their insurance and doctor once the Affordable Care Act took effect — which turned out to not always be true.

Full story

May 7, 2014

Before Hagan, Tillis First Must Weather General Assembly Session

Before Hagan, Tillis First Must Weather General Assembly Session

Tillis is challenging Hagan in a top Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thom Tillis triumphed Tuesday in a crowded Republican primary field for the right to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in November, but it’s not full steam ahead just yet.

Before the North Carolina state speaker can fully focus his sights on Hagan in one of Republicans’ best pickup opportunities, Tillis must first survive the legislative session, where policymaking can produce potential pitfalls for any candidate for higher office.

Tillis has said he will not relinquish his position to pursue his Senate campaign, so the speaker will preside when the General Assembly comes back into session on May 14. It will be a short session — it should last just a few weeks, or as long as it takes to tweak the budget passed last year and deal with a couple of financial issues. But Democrats will undoubtedly target Tillis for anything that comes out of it and his focus won’t be solely on winning the Senate seat.

The General Assembly “needs to get in and get out,” North Carolina Republican operative Dallas Woodhouse said.

“Every day they are there is a day that [Tillis] is not on the campaign trail, is a day that it is hard for him to raise money,” Woodhouse continued. “So every day that they are there is a lost day for Tillis.” Full story

May 6, 2014

Thom Tillis Wins GOP Nomination Outright in North Carolina Senate Race

Thom Tillis Wins GOP Nomination Outright in North Carolina Senate Race

Tillis is the GOP's nominee in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis scored a major victory on Tuesday night, when he won the GOP primary outright to become his party’s nominee to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

Tillis garnered 46 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race for him around 9:20 p.m. He defeated Greg Brannon, an obstetrician aligned with the tea party who had support from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who finished with 27 percent of the vote, and Mark Harris, a pastor, who had focused his appeal on social conservatism and was backed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who had 17 percent of the vote.

The Republican needed at least 40 percent of the vote to avoid a late-summer runoff against one of his opponents.

Hagan is considered one of the cycle’s most vulnerable incumbents and a top target for Republicans in their quest to take back the Senate. Full story

6 Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries

6 Things to Watch in Tuesdays Primaries

Tillis and his wife Susan knock on doors in an upscale Huntersville, N.C., neighborhood north of Charlotte, the evening before the primary election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Primary voters head to the polls Tuesday in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio, marking the first contests in a long series of contentious Republican battles over the next month.

In North Carolina, state Speaker Thom Tillis, Dr. Greg Brannon, and Pastor Mark Harris are vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a marquee race that will help determine which party controls the Senate next year.

Further down the ballot, an American Idol runner-up hopes he’ll have better luck in a Tar Heel State House race and longtime Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., will try to avoid becoming the first incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. In Ohio, a spirited challenger — perhaps best known for parodying a Cialis commercial in his bid — will attempt to unseat Speaker John A. Boehner.

In North Carolina, the contests could drag out for months. Primaries for Senate, the 6th and 12th Districts might continue to a runoff on July 15 if no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the vote.

Here are six things to watch in those races and others on Tuesday: Full story

May 5, 2014

Cavalry Comes to Save Senate Candidates in North Carolina

Cavalry Comes to Save Senate Candidates in North Carolina

Tillis makes a few phone calls to voters along with with phone bank volunteers at the Tillis for US Senate Campaign Headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., on Sunday, May 4, 2014, two days before North Carolina's primary election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Less than 24 hours before polls open in North Carolina on Tuesday, high-profile reinforcements are sending support in the state’s competitive primary for Senate.

On Monday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney endorsed the primary’s front-runner, North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis.

Tillis must receive more than 40 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff this summer, and national Republicans are helping him get his best shot at ousting the incumbent, Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in November. If there’s a runoff, Tillis will have to spend two months battling the second place finisher in the primary — either Dr. Greg Brannon or Mark Harris, a pastor — instead of being able to focus on Hagan.

“Tomorrow is the first step in regaining a majority in the US Senate,” Romney wrote in an email blasted out by the Tillis campaign. “I hope Thom and I can count on your vote tomorrow in this critical primary!” Full story

May 1, 2014

2016 Prospects Wage Proxy Battle in North Carolina Senate Race

2016 Prospects Wage Proxy Battle in North Carolina Senate Race

Paul is a potential presidential candidate in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A trio of Republican presidential prospects is facing off in North Carolina by throwing their weight behind the top three contenders in the state’s high-stakes GOP primary for Senate.

Most recently, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed the frontrunner, state Speaker Thom Tillis, on Thursday.

“I am confident that the road to a majority runs through Thom Tillis in North Carolina,” Bush wrote in an email to Tillis supporters.

A candidate must get 40 percent of the vote  in Tuesday’s primary to avoid a July runoff in the Tar Heel State. The winner will face Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in one of the most competitive Senate races of the cycle.  Full story

April 29, 2014

Republicans Predict Top North Carolina Senate Candidate Avoids Runoff

Republicans Predict Top North Carolina Senate Candidate Avoids Runoff

Tillis is running for Senate. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For several months, the Republican Senate primary in North Carolina has been a race for second place: state Speaker Thom Tillis, with his superior financial resources, is a shoo-in for first, while Dr. Greg Brannon and Pastor Mark Harris vied for second place to challenge Tillis in a runoff.

But, one week before the primary, many local operatives now expect Tillis will reach the 40 percent threshold on Tuesday to avoid a runoff later this summer with the second-place finisher.

The winner of the primary will face Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in one of the cycle’s marquee competitive contests. For Tillis, the stakes to avoid a runoff are high because it would force him to spend another two months running against a Republican opponent — instead of Hagan.

What’s more, the state’s General Assembly comes back into session on May 14, eight days after the primary. Tillis would have to balance his duties as speaker while still campaigning for the nomination.

But, many local Republicans now see that scenario as increasingly unlikely, arguing that Tillis will most likely win the primary outright.

“About two weeks ago, I would’ve said we would definitely see a primary runoff,” said Chad Adams, the director of Priorities NC, an advocacy group focused on promoting limited government, who is not aligned with any campaign. “But looking at the landscape now and how we’re shaping up, it looks like that gap is closing.” Full story

April 7, 2014

Kay Hagan Raised $2.8 Million for Re-Election in 2014

Kay Hagan Raised $2.8 Million for Re Election in 2014

Kay Hagan raised $2.8 million in the first quarter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan raised $2.8 million in the first quarter — an impressive sum for the top target of outside spending in the 2014 midterms.

The first-term Democrat ended March with $8.3 million in cash on hand, according to the Hagan campaign. That’s far more than any of her potential Republican opponents are likely to report, though she’s already the target of millions of dollars worth of ads from Americans for Prosperity.

“Kay’s strong fundraising total for the first quarter shows the excitement and momentum behind her campaign,” Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said. “These funds will ensure the campaign can reach voters in every corner of the state to talk about Kay’s record of putting North Carolina first.” Full story

March 7, 2014

Tea Party Senate Candidates Descend on CPAC

Tea Party Senate Candidates Descend on CPAC

Maness is running for Senate in Louisiana. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Much of the attention surrounding the Conservative Political Action Conference is understandably focused on the plethora of Republicans here who may be running for president at this time next year.

But, mostly offstage and behind the scenes, a handful of tea-party-backed Senate candidates — each running uphill against better-funded Republicans — are here among the thousands of conservative activists. They’re shaking hands, meeting potential supporters and raising some money.

They include Matt Bevin of Kentucky and Milton Wolf of Kansas, each waging primary challenges to Republican senators. Also in attendance are lesser-known hopefuls Rob Maness of Louisiana, Greg Brannon of North Carolina and David Clements of New Mexico, plus Joe Miller of Alaska, who are fighting for their party’s nomination to take on Democratic senators.

Kentucky, Louisiana, Alaska and North Carolina are on the front lines of the battle for Senate control. Republicans need to pick up a net six seats to win the majority.

“It’s a good opportunity in one centralized location to meet as many people as possible, and get your name and face in front of them,” said Maness, a retired Air Force colonel who is battling GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy and Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in Louisiana’s jungle primary. Full story

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Rand Paul Headlining CPAC Fundraiser for N.C. Senate Hopeful

Paul will make time for a fundraiser for a Senate hopeful while at CPAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is headlining a fundraiser Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference for a tea-party-backed Senate candidate in North Carolina.

Greg Brannon, a physician, is one of a handful of Republicans hoping to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is a top GOP target in her bid for a second term. Brannon has collected the endorsements of Paul and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, though state Speaker Thom Tillis is the GOP front-runner.

Paul will follow up his mid-afternoon address at CPAC by appearing with Brannon at a McCormick & Schmick’s near where the conference is being held. Tickets to the event cost up to $500, according to the online invitation. Full story

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