Election 2014

Dems hit Tillis on special interest ties as US Senate campaign ramps up

House Speaker Thom Tillis has launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate, running against incumbent Kay Hagan, and the Democrats are already hitting Tillis on special interest ties.

A news website, specialinterestthom.com, launched Tuesday by the NC Democratic Party. Posts on the website highlight Tillis’ ties to the sweepstakes and the payday lending lobbies, and

“Thom Tillis got the nickname ‘the special interest speaker’ the old-fashioned way: he earned it,” said Ben Ray, a spokesman for the Democratic Party. “He’s slashed unemployment insurance, rejected health care for 500,000 North Carolinians, ended the Earned Income Tax Credit, solicited contributions from lobbyists, and repeatedly concealed the identity of special interest donors to his campaign–all while ignoring job creation and the economy.”

Public Policy Polling shows Tillis isn’t the leading potential GOP candidate, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, who represents the 5th District, is. PPP’s latest poll, released Tuesday morning, said that Foxx is the “preferred Senate candidate of moderate Republicans in North Carolina.” (Read results here.)

Foxx hasn’t said if she will run, but she’s in a group of potential Republican candidates that include her colleague in the House, Renee Ellmers, NC Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, the Rev. Mark Harris and former Ambassador Jim Cain, writes the AP’s Gary Robertson.

Tillis signs U.S. Senate forms

House Speaker Thom Tillis

A source close to Thom Tillis’ campaign tells me Speaker Tillis has signed the FEC organizational papers to kick off his 2014 U.S. Senate bid.  The forms were signed this morning and will be mailed sometime this afternoon.

In addition, Tillis’ campaign has hired Brad Todd as his media consultant.  Todd worked on Richard Hudson’s campaign that successfully beat Congressman Larry Kissell in the 8th district in November.  Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies will handle his polling.  Bolger has been a longtime pollster for U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

More to come…

House Speaker Thom Tillis announces run for US Senate

House Speaker Thom Tillis

RALEIGH — North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis will run against Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in the U.S. Senate race next year.

Tillis announced that he will file campaign committee paperwork in Washington early next week. His decision marks the first high-profile Republican to announce a bid.

He said he’s seeking the GOP nomination because he has proven he can work with Democrats to accomplish tasks in Raleigh.

Tillis has led the House since 2011.

The NC Democratic Party released the following statement from Ben Ray, a party spokesman:

Speaker Thom Tillis has made a mess in Raleigh, imagine what he’d do in Washington. Tillis has ignored North Carolina job creation and the middle class. He and his special interest backers have forced deep cuts to education, rejected healthcare for 500,000 North Carolinians, endorsed an extreme budget that would essentially end Medicare and pushed to raise taxes on hardworking North Carolina families to give big tax breaks to the wealthy.

POLITICO: Koch-funded group look to North Carolina as ‘model state’

POLITICO reported a story Saturday that conservative groups are looking at North Carolina as a “model state” and look to replicate GOP success across the country.

The story quotes Tim Phillips and Dallas Woodhouse from Americans For Prosperity, and prominent Democrats like Gary Pearce and Sen. Martin Nesbitt.

Read the full story here.

Poll: Hagan’s re-election chances boosted by support for gun background checks

Sen. Kay Hagan

Sen. Kay Hagan supported universal background checks for gun purchases, and voters

In a recent Public Policy Polling survey, that boosted Hagan’s re-election chances, with 52 percent of voters saying they would be more inclined to vote for the incumbent Democrat for her stance on gun control.

Seventy-three percent of North Carolina voters support universal background checks, PPP found. That gun control proposal had strong cross-party support.

Last month, the Senate failed to pass any of the gun control proposals made in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shootings.

Rad the full poll results here.

Hagan raises $1.6 million in first quarter

Sen. Kay Hagan

Sen. Kay Hagan’s campaign announced that she raised more than $1.6 million during the first quarter of the year, leaving her with $2.7 million in the bank.

Hagan is expected to be a main target of Republicans next year. In a statement, her campaign manager Preston Elliott said, “Senator Hagan’s strong fundraising quarter shows that she is building the grassroots momentum from all across North Carolina that elected her in 2008 and that will re-elect her in 2014.”

The full campaign filing — detailing her donors and campaign spending information — is due to the Federal Elections Commission next week.

Republicans target McIntyre

The election isn’t until 2014, but the National Republican Congressional Committee is already out with an ad targeting Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre.

The 30-second spot criticizes McIntyre for voting against the Ryan Budget. The fiscal blueprint has long been criticized by Democrats for overhauling Medicare and making deep cuts to social safety net programs, but Republicans believe its promise to balance the budget in ten years trumps those criticisms, especially in conservative-leaning districts like McIntyre’s.

Last fall, McIntyre narrowly won re-election against former state Sen. David Rouzer, after a required recount. Rouzer announced a few days ago that he will run against McIntyre next year.


New poll on 2014 U.S. Senate race show new potential GOP frontrunner

Anchor Tim Boyum

It appear whoever Public Policy Polling picks the month before the 2014 U.S. Senate Republican primary will win the race.  The last three polls have been led by a new person added to the list. First it was U.S. Rep.Virginia Foxx, then it was N.C. Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and now it’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

Here’s the poll.

Cliff notes version is that current Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan hovers around 50 percent regardless of who she faces and the Republicans tested range from 36 percent to 40 percent against her. That means Sen. Hagan maintains at least a ten point advantage against potential opponents.  What does this mean?

Tom Jensen from PPP will join me on tonight’s show to explain. Essentially, no one is known enough statewide and it’s very early. Clearly, money will play a big role in this race because of the lack of name recognition. Whoever has more money will run ad after ad on television the last month and could come out on top.

Tom will also give us an early look at the approval numbers for Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature. To give you an early hint, Gov. McCrory is already faring better than Gov. Bev Perdue did at this point which could be a good sign for his overall approval numbers long term. He’s also surviving a strong distaste for anything the legislature does according to the poll.

Check it out at 7 p.m. tonight!

Hagan to hire heavy-hitter campaign manager

Sen. Kay Hagan

Sen. Kay Hagan is gearing up for a re-election campaign in 2014. Politico reports that she will hire Preston Elliott, who helped Sen. Harry Reid get re-elected in 2010. Elliott previously was the deputy political director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Read more at Politico here.