Election 2014

New Ads Tout Senate Candidate’s ‘More Weed, Less War’ Stance

CHARLOTTE — New ads are popping up online for third-party Senate candidate Sean Haugh, but he didn’t pay for them or ask for them.

The ads tout Haugh’s pro-marijuana, anti-war stance.

But Haugh says he has mixed feelings about them because they were produced and paid for by the conservative American Future Fund. He says he’s benefiting from outside money and influence he doesn’t support.

“I see them as kind of absurd,” Haugh said. “It does kind of show that these dark money forces who are trying to control our elections are willing to engage in.”

Analysts say the ads, bought for $225,000, are likely intended to draw votes away from Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.

A new NBC News/Marist poll shows Hagan is tied with Republican Thom Tillis at 43 percent. Haugh has 7 percent.

“If Sean Haugh gets anywhere from four, to five, maybe even six percent, that could be the true spoiler effect,” said Catawba College political science professor Dr. Michael Bitzer.

Time Warner Cable News reached out to the American Future Fund for comment on the ads but did not hear back.

– Jenna Barnes

District 6 debate

Republican Mark Walker and Democrat Laura Fjeld squared off in a debate this week.

The two candidates talked about a handful of issues including same-sex marriage and how the U.S. should respond to the Ebola outbreak.

To find out where they stand on a range of issues, watch the full debate in its entirety above.

Watch the debate here.

District 2 Conversation with Clay Aiken

The 2nd District includes parts of nine counties, including Wake, Cumberland, Alamance, and Moore counties. According to the US Census, it covers roughly 780,000 North Carolinians.

The leading candidates for the 2nd District congressional seat are Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers, a registered nurse before her election, and Democrat Clay Aiken, an entertainer who is new to politics.

Rep. Ellmers declined to participate, so Clay Aiken joined us in studio.

Watch the conversation here.

Early Voting Begins Across NC

RALEIGH–Registered voters who can’t wait until Election Day to decide on U.S. Senate and down-ballot races now have the opportunity to vote in person across North Carolina.

The 10-day early voting period was slated to begin Thursday morning in all 100 counties. It runs through midday Nov. 1. Some counties also are offering Sunday voting this weekend.

There is no longer same-day registration during early voting. There was an Oct. 10 deadline to register. Mail-in absentee ballots must be turned in or postmarked by Election Day.

But one thing that is not changing is people will not need to have a photo identification in order to vote. Under law, that requirement does not begin until 2016.

Election officials say with the high interest in this mid-term election cycle they are encouraging as many people as possible to get to the polls during this early voting period.

Candidates and groups are using early voting’s first day to draw attention to election contests and issues. The North Carolina Association of Educators and a group of black pastors scheduled separate events.

Voters this fall also are choosing legislators, judges and local leaders.

Candidate Thom Tillis Voices Opinion During Hour-Long Debate

Watch the program here.

RALEIGH — Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and current State Speaker of the House Thom Tillis gave his opinion on a number of topics during a conversation hosted by Time Warner Cable News Tuesday night.

The House Speaker spoke for an entire hour about how he will do business differently should he take incumbent Kay Hagan’s Senate seat in November.

An empty chair remained beside Speaker Tillis the entire hour since Sen. Hagan kept her word and did not attend Tuesday night.

“It was in fact just an unfiltered Thom Tillis speaking to the audience, making it possible for him to say exactly what he wanted to say on the issues he wanted to talk about, “said Joe Stewart with the NC Free Enterprise Foundation.

Ben Ray with Forward NC and a Hagan spokesman said after the show, “Sen. Hagan is going to be out and about. It’s just a matter that we agreed to the number of debates in recent precedent in North Carolina and having completed those, believe it is time to go out and meet some voters.”

Tillis closed with a final plea to voters, saying, “We need a senator that will go to Washington and not be a rubber stamp for Harry Reid and President Obama, an independent voice that is advocating for North Carolinians. If you want to change President Obama’s policies, you have to change your senator,” he said.

– Amy Elliott

Hagan Blasts Tillis On Medicare, Social Security

WILMINGTON — Sen. Kay Hagan used a Port City campaign stop to criticize Thom Tillis over issues facing senior citizens, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Hagan was in town for the third day of her statewide “North Carolina First” tour. Hagan is the incumbent in a tight race with Tillis for her U.S. Senate seat.

“Speaker Tillis would authorize privatization of Social Security and a voucher system for Medicare,” she said. “That is not what the people of North Carolina want.”

In prepared remarks to about 100 supporters, Hagan vowed to put senior citizens first and to never support a plan that privatizes Social Security.

Herb Harton, an attendee, said Hagan is the best advocate for the state’s seniors.

“The idea of Thom Tillis going to the Senate, I shudder to think,” Harton said. “He will get there and he will help them kill Medicare, cut Social Security, make it a voucher program.”

Sam Ibrahim, chair of the New Hanover County Republicans, disputed those claims.

“Thom Tillis, from the beginning, said that he would not make any cuts to any of these programs,” he said in a phone interview.

Ibrahim contended that Hagan had effectively harmed the programs by voting for the Affordable Care Act.

“[That] takes almost $850 billion from these very specific programs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tillis’ campaign also criticized Hagan for declining to participate in a fourth debate, which would have taken place Tuesday evening.

An email from the Thom Tillis Committee suggested Hagan refused to participate because of “lackluster” performances at previous debates.

“Hagan’s absence would provide a striking visual of an empty chair in her stead, an appropriate symbol for her tenure in office,” the email said.

Senator Hagan fired back.

“Once again, he is distorting the facts. Back in the summer, our two teams agreed to three debates,” she said. “We conducted those three debates.”

Hagan’s other tour stops on Tuesday included Goldsboro and Wilson.

She will make stops in Greensboro and Greenville on Wednesday, according to Chris Hayden, her press secretary.

– Amara Omeokwe

NC Campaign Flier Has Background Lynching Photo

FAYETTEVILLE–Neither Republicans nor Democrats say they know anything about fliers on the windshields of cars at a Fayetteville church that included a background photo of a lynching.

Multiple media outlets reported the fliers showed up Sunday at Kingdom Impact Global Ministries.

The flier read “Kay Hagan doesn’t win! Obama’s impeachment will begin! Vote in 2014.”

Sen. Hagan is a Democrat locked in tight race with Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis.

The flier did not endorse any candidate and said it was paid for by Concerned Citizens of Cumberland County. There was no contact information for the group.

Dawn McNair at Kingdom Impact Global Ministries says she doesn’t know if the flier was meant to encourage her to vote or discourage her from voting.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Congressional Debates TV Schedule

Capital Tonight will be airing debates with congressional candidates this week and next week. Different debates will air in different markets. We invited all the major candidates in the races participate, but not all of them agreed to attend.

The modified schedule is as follows:

Monday, Oct. 20:
– District 13 (Triangle)
– Regular Capital Tonight (Charlotte/Triad/Coastal)

Tuesday, Oct. 21 (All Markets)
– 6:30 p.m.: Pre-debate program
– 7 p.m.: U.S. Senate debate
– 8 p.m.: Post-debate program

Wednesday, Oct. 22 (No regular Capital Tonight)
– District 2 (Triad/Triangle/Coastal)
– District 10 (Charlotte)

Thursday, Oct. 23
– District 6 (Triad/Triangle)
– Regular Capital Tonight (Charlotte/Coastal)

Friday, Oct. 24
– District 8 (Charlotte/Triad/Triangle)
– Regular Capital Tonight (Coastal)

Monday, Oct. 27
– District 12 (Charlotte/Triad)
– Regular Capital Tonight (Triangle/Coastal)

Tuesday, Oct. 28
– District 7 (Triangle/Coastal)
– Regular Capital Tonight (Charlotte/Triad)

Wednesday, Oct. 29 (All Markets)
– At home with U.S. Senate candidate

Thursday, Oct. 30 (All Markets)
– At home with U.S. Senate candidate

Friday, Oct. 31 (All Markets)
– Regular Capital Tonight

– See more at: http://centralnc.twcnews.com/content/news/in_the_spotlight/713080/congressional-debates-tv-schedule/#sthash.zn1yijKP.dpuf

Early Voting Gets Underway Thursday For The November Election

WINSTON-SALEM– Ashley Wooten’s taking her first class in working at the polls.

“I just wanted to be involved in voting, its something I’ve never done and I’m very excited about it,” said Wooten.

The 25 year old is among around 70 people training this week to work the precincts during early voting.

“We try to give an overview of the positions, what we expect the workers to to do when it comes to process voters what they have to do for paperwork purposes, that sort of thing,” said Steve Hines, Forsyth County’s Elections Director.

The change to early voting was one of the issues challenged in court this year. The period’s been shortened, but the hours will remain the same as the 2010 election.

“We basically wait for the state board to tell us the rules and regulations that we have to follow for the procedures, whatever it may be,” said Hines.

Elections officials say they look for registered voters, folks who are interested in the elections process and want to get further involved.

“We like to see poll workers who come in who have that civic-mindedness in their nature, obviously the people who are being trained are the ones who want to do this job,” said Hines.

Which starts with three days of training, and long hours at the polls.

It’s something Wooten is anticipating.

“I was getting people registered to vote and they actually referred me to the polls, they thought I was a great candidate for it,’’ said Wooten. “I’m looking forward to it, I’m very excited about it.”

Hours for early voting can vary at precincts across the state.

To find out where early voting sites are in your county click on the story links.

– Bob Costner

Kay Hagan’s Press Secretary Opens Up About Disability

CHARLOTTE—The race between incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is one of the most closely watched in the nation.

But the people behind-the-scenes of those campaigns are rarely seen.

Hagan’s 26-year-old press secretary has a disability he said gives him a unique perspective on the job.

“I think my brain works a little differently because I have to probem-solve a little differently than everyone else does,” said Chris Hayden.

Hayden was born without a right arm and with a truncated left arm.

“Growing up, my parents were very realistic about what I could do. They said, ‘You know Chris, I don’t think manual labor is really in your future, so the education you get is really important.’ And that’s what’s prepared me to do the job,” he said.

Sen. Hagan said his age wasn’t a factor in hiring him.

“He was highly intelligent, he was motivated, he was smart. He understood the issues,” she said.

Hayden played soccer in high school and did rowing in high school and college. And though the political campaign is focused on other issues, Hayden said it’s his responsibility to share his own.

“There are a lot of disabilities you can’t see and, since mine is one you can see, I think it’s important to talk about it and answer questions and be there as a resource for other people,” he said.

Hagan was in Charlotte as part of her North Carolina First tour to talk about education. Next Saturday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join her for another campaign stop in Charlotte.

– Jenna Barnes