Election 2014

Despite Shortened Period, Early Voting Numbers High

CHARLOTTE—Even with one week less of early voting this year than last, in-person voting continues to outpace levels from the last midterm election in North Carolina and Democratic voters also are outperforming their 2010 totals.

Saturday is the last day for early voting in North Carolina.

State Board of Elections data show more than 690,000 people had cast ballots through Wednesday at in-person voting centers in all 100 counties. In 2010, the number of ballots was just over 600,000 with three days to go before early voting ended. Early voting closes Saturday afternoon.

Democrats have cast 49 percent of all early in-person votes this fall, compared to 47 percent in all of early voting in 2010. Republicans comprise 31 percent of the vote and unaffiliated voters are at 20 percent.

Voter turnout may be driven by the Senate race. The battle between Sen. Kay Hagan and challenger Thom Tillis has become one of the most closely watched races in the entire country.

The General Assembly reduced early voting last year from 17 to 10 days.

An Elon university poll has Hagan with a slight edge over Tillis with likely voters choosing the incumbent 44 percent to Tillis at 40 percent.

Among registered voters, Hagan’s lead jumps to 7 percent.

– Leslie Mayes

Condoleezza Rice backs Tillis in US Senate Race

CORNELIUS, N.C.–Thom Tillis has received the endorsement of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in North Carolina’s close U.S. Senate race.

Tillis’ campaign released a statement Friday quoting Rice in which she calls the state House speaker “an effective leader who can work across the aisle to solve problems and make our government more accountable to the people.”

The Rice endorsement comes in the final days before Tillis’ election with Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

Rice worked in President George W. Bush’s administration, also serving as national security adviser. Rice’s backing comes as national security issues, including the Islamic State and Ebola, have taken a larger role in the campaign debate.

Former President Bill Clinton was scheduled to campaign with Hagan later Friday in Raleigh.

Former President Clinton Visiting Raleigh Friday to Campaign for Hagan

RALEIGH — Former President Bill Clinton will be in Raleigh on Friday campaigning for Kay Hagan. The event will be at the Holliday Gymnasium at Broughton High School and doors will open at 2:45 p.m.

The event is free and anyone may attend with a ticket. Tickets can be picked up from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the following locations:

Raleigh Forward NC Office
3316 Capital Blvd Suites J and K

Cary Forward NC Office
915 Kildaire Farm Rd Suite 6

Chapel Hill Forward NC Office
762 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Durham Forward NC Office
119 Orange St. 3rd Floor

Wilson County Democratic Party Office
504 Raleigh Rd Parkway

Smithfield Forward NC Office
114 Ava Gardner Ave

Mitt Romney campaigns for Tillis as race tightens

RALEIGH—North Carolina’s US Senate race continues to receive national attention with many polls showing a tight race between Thom Tillis and Senator Kay Hagan.

Mitt Romney fired up a crowd of Thom Tillis supporters Wednesday night in Raleigh.

“I am delighted to be here to introduce a guy of character. A person who has great experience. A man of vision. A man as Secretary of State has demonstrated what he can do to make things happen for the people of this great state,” said former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The former presidential candidate was among several speakers leading up to the U.S. Senate candidate, who is hoping to defeat his opponent Kay Hagan next week.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about what’s out there. I’m proud of my record as Speaker of the House and I’m going to be proud of my record as U.S. Senator. I’m going to come back and tell you what I’ve done for this nation,” said US Senate Candidate Thom Tillis.

The line outside for the event, and the big name appearance served as an indicator of how important this race has become.

“I’m really excited to see Mitt Romney. I’m seen him speak before and he’s a wonderful speaker,” said Raleigh resident Katelyn Heith.

“It wouldn’t surprise if this race is one of the closest ones in the entire country,” said Charlotte resident Jeffrey Berlin.

It is a race that has been close throughout the entire campaign. With less than a week to go both candidates are trying to gain momentum heading into the polls.

“Unless something big happens on the national stage or something unexpected happens and that old October surprise happens I don’t think we’ll see a big momentum shift push candidate or the other six or seven points ahead,” said David McLennan with Meredith College.

In a race that is setting up for a photo finish, both candidates continue to campaign hard for your vote.

– Andy Mattison

Capital Tonight Oct. 29: At Home with Senator Kay Hagan

On Capital Tonight: Senior Political Reporter Loretta Boniti visits Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her family at their home in Greensboro. We look at Hagan’s political career and why she wants to run for a second term. Watch the program here.

Capital Tonight Extended Interview: Sen. Kay Hagan

Senior Political Reporter Loretta Boniti speaks with Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan about her political career, her accomplishments and why she is running for a second term. Watch the interview here.

Poll: Kay Hagan Retains Slight Edge Over Thom Tillis

An Elon University poll released Thursday morning shows Sen. Kay Hagan has a slight edge over her Republican challenger Thom Tillis.

The survey shows Hagan leads Tillis by 4 percent among likely voters at 44-to 40 percent.

The gap widens to 7 percent among registered voters with tillis dropping to 37 percent. Despite record breaking campaign spending, the race will still be a close finish.

“There’s a lot of money being spent on this race. This is going to be the most expensive midterm election in history and North Carolina is likely to be the most expensive senate race in history,” said Poll Director Kenneth Fernandez.

A major change from the last poll, was the support for gay marriage. Before the ban was lifted 45 percent supported, with 43 percent against.

Afterwards only 38 percent of likely voters support gay marriage, with 50 percent against.

According to the poll likely voters who oppose gay marriage are more prone to vote for Tillis than Hagan.

View the full results here.

Ads Aim to Shake Dedicated African-American Vote

RALEIGH- When it comes to a dedicated voting segment, African-American voters have remained true.

“African-American voters are in many ways the most loyal voters to the Democratic party,” said Jason Husser, with Elon University. “This has been established for going on 100 years now.”

This election cycle is expected to be no different. Polling indicates that by a wide margin African-American voters will be heading to the polls this year for Kay Hagan, the incumbent Democrat. But new ads are trying to shake that stable base.

You can see two such ads here:
‘Elbert Guillory: Send Hagan Home’

‘Why?’

The ads are created by conservative outside interest groups and are aiming to influence the African-American vote.

“I suspect that the argument is that you don’t necessarily, the people behind this ad, don’t necessarily want to pull a ton of the African-American share of the vote,” said Kareem Crayton, with UNC Chapel Hill. “But they just want to bring it down enough that so in a tight race you have fewer votes for Kay Hagan and the Democrats than they expected.”

Although according to Crayton, this is a risky strategy.

“If it gets played too much, the African-American community could see it as an alarm bell to say this is an election that really matters,” said Crayton.

There are nearly one and a half million registered black voters in North Carolina. Meanwhile, many polls are saying Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis are still statistically tied heading into the final week of the campaign season and the fight is on, to win every voter possible.

– Loretta Boniti

Big Names Hit Campaign Trial with Hagan, Tillis

Election Day is less than a week away and candidates are making that final push to sway voters.

The U.S. Senate race between Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis is in a dead heat and bringing some big names to the Tar Heel state to campaign.

Hagan makes her first stop Wednesday in Greenville, where she will address the General Baptist State Convention. She moves on to Rocky Mount for an early voting rally in the afternoon with former Gov. Jim Hunt and District 1 Rep. G.K. Butterfield.

Former presidential candidate and Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney joins Tllis in Raleigh at SMT Inc., a sheet metal fabrication company, Wednesday evening. Another former presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain joined Tillis on Tuesday.

Early voting continues through Saturday. If you don’t vote by then, you will have to wait until Nov. 4 to vote on Election Day. Poll hours will be 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

– Tim Boyum

Early Voting Off To Strong Start In NC

RALEIGH — Early voting is off to a good start in North Carolina.

Close to 300,000 people have taken advantage of early voting since the polls opened on Thursday.

It’s closing in on the ten day total of early voters in the 2010 midterm.

The voting period is shorter this year, but more sites are available with extended hours.

“There was a concern that there would be folks that would not participate at the same levels, at the same rates as they did when their was a longer period, but that is why we have been tracking it so closely,” said Josh Lawson, Public Information Officer for the State Board of Elections. “We have also been very encouraged that participation is much higher than it was as a per day total back in 2010.”

The total number of ballots cast so far including absentee and military ballot pushes the number of votes so far to almost 400,000.

This year more than 360 early voting sites are offered across the state, the most sites ever offered.

Early voting ends on Nov. 1.

– Amy Elliott