RALEIGH: Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

Posted: Updated:
Keeping the politically vulnerable Hagan in Washington is considered essential for Democrats to preserve their Senate majority. Keeping the politically vulnerable Hagan in Washington is considered essential for Democrats to preserve their Senate majority.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election.

"When you look at me as being moderate, that's being somebody who understands what the issues are (and) working to get action done in specifics on those issues," Hagan said in a recent interview, adding that she's been telling supporters about "the common-sense results that I've been able to put forward for North Carolina families."

But Hagan believes that's what North Carolina voters elected her for in 2008 and prefer now as they decide whether to give her a second term in the Senate. Her persona contrasts starkly with what she calls extreme policies Republicans want to give the nation and are already giving North Carolina as the majority party for the first time in 140 years. Their agenda have led to mass protests and arrests in Raleigh.

As millions of dollars in commercials backed by national conservative groups already have aired in North Carolina criticizing Hagan, the Greensboro Democrat has developed an early campaign strategy that attempts to link national and state conservative politics. She's drawing connections between out-of-state patrons of conservative causes paying for many of the TV ads and state House Speaker Thom Tillis, one of the eight Republicans competing in their May 6 primary for the right to face Hagan and an architect of the GOP takeover.

Keeping the politically vulnerable Hagan in Washington is considered essential for Democrats to preserve their Senate majority.

"I'm talking about that the stakes are so high in this election year and how this election is a choice between me, who puts North Carolina first every day, and my opponents, who are putting the special interests first," she said.

Hagan, 60, has her own primary next month, but her nomination is all but secure. She faces two Democrats, Ernest Reeves and Will Stewart, but they haven't held elected office before and are running low-key campaigns. Hagan's campaign operation already moved into high gear months ago. She said her campaign had more than $8 million in the bank entering the spring.

Her strategy took off in March when her campaign began an online and social media campaign connecting Tillis with the conservative financiers of Americans for Prosperity, industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch.

The criticisms from Hagan's camp began last fall as Americans for Prosperity ran commercials criticizing Hagan for backing the health care overhaul at the time of troubled online rollout and aligning her closely with President Barack Obama. She said the ads ran because the Kochs and other conservatives like the job Republicans have done in North Carolina state government on taxes, regulations and cutting off federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. Americans for Prosperity supported many policies approved by North Carolina Republican legislators.

"It's a thank you to Thom Tillis, who has championed their agenda in Raleigh," Hagan said. "That is the special interest Koch brothers' agenda in Raleigh."

Democrats are hitting back at the Koch brothers in other key states where their incumbents are threatened, but the link to state politics is a twist. Thomas Mills, a Democratic consultant who worked on Elaine Marshall's unsuccessful 2010 Senate bid, questions whether bringing in the Kochs complicates her message.

The Koch connection is "too removed from people's day-to-day lives," he said. "Why are you getting in the way of your own message, which is Thom Tillis is wrong for North Carolina?"

But other party activists say they like the tactic. "I think it's important for people to know who's paying for all of these ads and the intense negative campaign that's going on," said state Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham.

Hagan has started attacking Tillis alone, too, running her first radio ad last week. Tillis campaign spokesman Jordan Shaw called the ad a "desperate attempt to meddle in the Republican primary" on the heels of a similar television commercial run by the Washington-based Senate Majority PAC about personnel problems in Tillis' state House office. Clearly Hagan would benefit should Tillis be forced into a GOP primary runoff or lose.

National Democrats and their allies are coming to Hagan's aide as they did six years ago, when the largely unknown state legislator first had to win a competitive party primary before challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

But she pulled off the upset, benefiting from a good year politically for all Democrats and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which spent $12 million supporting her and attacking Dole, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

2014 is different. Historically, the party in the White House doesn't perform well in the midterm elections of a second-term president.

"She's probably the underdog right now," said Charles Prysby, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, "but she certainly has a fighting chance of winning."

"Her best hope," Prysby added, "is that in November Obamacare looks a lot better."

Hagan is persuaded she will win and wants to return to Capitol Hill because "middle-class families need a voice like mine in Washington, D.C., and I take that seriously."

Linda Garrou, who roomed with Hagan when they both served in the North Carolina Senate, said her close friend is more than up to the task of fighting for re-election. "I'm sure that the pressure is tough, but I can ensure you she handles it and just rolls along with it."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:46:55 GMT
    File PhotoFile Photo
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
  • State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:10 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:10:06 GMT

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

  • Governor, NC Senate Republicans talk about budget

    Governor, NC Senate Republicans talk about budget

    Gov. Pat McCrory (File Photo)Gov. Pat McCrory (File Photo)
    McCrory and Senate Republicans met privately Tuesday as they sought to resolve their differences over budget adjustments supposed to be settled three weeks ago.
    McCrory and Senate Republicans met privately Tuesday as they sought to resolve their differences over budget adjustments supposed to be settled three weeks ago.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Durham mom says she didn't try to give away kids on Craigslist

    Durham mom says she didn't try to give away kids on Craigslist

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:48 AM EDT2014-07-23 04:48:05 GMT
    A mother of five says an ad she posted on Craigslist, in which she asked for someone to "take her five kids," was not what it seemed.
    A mother of five says an ad she posted on Craigslist, in which she asked for someone to "take her five kids," was not what it seemed.
Powered by WorldNow

1732 Valley View Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35209

Telephone: 205.933.1313
Fax: 205.323.3314
Email: newstips@alabamas13.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.