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Hagan Stomping GOP Challenger in Fundraising to Keep Senate Seat

One of the pivotal races that could decide the balance of power in the upper chamber. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

John Hinton


July 27, 2014 - 11:19 pm
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During this year’s second quarter, Democrat Kay Hagan raised more than twice the money for her re-election campaign for one of North Carolina’s two seats in the U.S. Senate than her Republican challenger Thom Tillis, the speaker of the N.C. House.

Hagan’s campaign has reported that she raised $3.6 million from April to June, and she has $8.5 million cash on hand. Tillis’ campaign reported that he raised $1.6 million during the same period and has $1.5 million in the bank.

The candidates were required to submit their campaign finance data to the Federal Election Commission by July 15, but the commission has yet to publicly release their numbers. The Senate race in North Carolina might be the key to whether national Republicans regain their majority in the U.S. Senate after the fall elections.

Hagan’s campaign criticized Tillis’ ties to the Koch brothers, who have poured in millions of dollars in the race to air anti-Hagan ads on the state’s television stations. Tillis attacked Hagan for her ties with Tom Steyer, a billionaire political activist who wants to help Democratic politicians in the fall elections.

Pundits expect Hagan and Tillis to raise millions of dollars in their campaigns. Political action committees have spent several millions of dollars running attack ads on television and radio station in the state supporting and criticizing both candidates.

“Kay’s record-setting second-quarter funding total is a reflection of the enthusiasm and momentum behind her campaign,” Hagan campaign spokesman Chris Hayden said in a statement.

Jordan Shaw, Tillis’ campaign manager, said that the GOP hopeful remains on track with his fundraising efforts.

“Thom’s strongest fundraising quarter yet shows that North Carolinians want a proven problem solver to clean up the mess in Washington created by Kay Hagan and (President) Barack Obama over the last six years,” Shaw said. “It’s clear that we have the resources and the momentum needed to compete against Kay Hagan and the fringe liberal special interests trying to keep her Senate seat so she can continue to rubber-stamp Obama’s failed economic policies and out-of-control spending.”

John Dinan, a political-science professor at Wake Forest University, said he wasn’t surprised that Hagan is leading Tillis in political fundraising so far in the race.

“Incumbents usually have an overwhelming advantage in raising money from PACs, and they are often able to raise more from individual donors,” Dinan said. “These fundraising advantages are just some of the reasons why congressional incumbents are re-elected at a 90-percent rate most years.”

However, Tillis can unseat Hagan “either because they can overcome the direct-funding disadvantage through independent ad backing or because their messages and issues carry the day. It is too early to say which candidate in the North Carolina Senate race will benefit more from these independent ads.”

On other fronts, Hagan has agreed to three televised debates with Tillis this fall. Aside from the fundraising battles, the contest between Hagan and Tillis has become an intense affair with their campaign staffs focusing on the records of both candidates on issues such as national energy policy, the economy, the Affordable Care Act, abortion and the thorny issue of racial politics in the state.

Both campaigns are questioning their opponents’ ties with out-of-state political donors as most North Carolinians concentrate on summer activities such as their vacations, baseball games and picnics.

Hagan agreed to participate in three debates — fewer than the minimum of 10 that Tillis wanted for their fall campaigns.

This month, Hagan’s campaign said she accepted an invitation from the League of Women Voters and WECT-TV for a debate in Wilmington, the Associated Press reported.

Hagan already agreed to two debates by the N.C. Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation. Tillis had already accepted invitations by the League and broadcasters’ foundation.

Hagan’s debate adviser wrote Tillis, saying three debates were held in the 2010 North Carolina Senate race.

Shaw, Tillis’ campaign manager, said it was “totally unacceptable” that Hagan wants just three debates, saying it’s limiting opportunities for the public to hear them. Shaw said Hagan should compromise and agree to six debates.

“We hope Sen. Hagan will stop attempting to deny voters a substantive discussion about her record and the future of our country,” Shaw said.

However, Hagan’s campaign staff told their counterparts in Tillis’ campaign that Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole refused to debate Hagan in 2008. Hagan beat Dole to win her first term in the U.S. Senate six years ago.

At the same, Tillis’ campaign and the N.C. Republican Party continue their efforts to tie Hagan to Democratic President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Hagan’s critics point to her voting record as a senator that they said supports Obama’s legislative agenda in Congress.

Shaw said that Hagan is trying to distance herself from Obama.

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It won't matter of the GOP takes the majority in the Senate. The majority of Republicans in the Senate will be RINO sell-outs. In fact, in a small GOP Majority Senate RINO sell-outs have more power because they can support "reasonable" DNC legislation ans strategy if the GOP doesn't give the RINOs their way. For every GOP member in the majority the GOP will give the same number of RINOs permission to undermine the putative GOP policy so as to shift policy to the Left.

If you don't elect conservatives, it doesn't much matter if you elect Democrats or Republicans.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have absolutely no doubt AT ALL that the GOPe will try to Cuccinelli Brat.

I wouldn't put it past them getting some kind of third party "challenger" to jump in the race if it looks like Brat might actually win.

I also have no doubt they'll pull a Cochran and trash Brat in the days leading up to the election. They'll try the same exact charges of racism and anything else they can dream up to try to cost him votes.

The GOP establishment decepticons would MUCH rather have a DimocRat win than ANY kind of Conservative or Tea Party supported candidate. They have already proven this beyond any doubt whatsoever.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Princess Kay likes to pass herself off as the ordinary wife and mother turned politician but she has deep ties to the Democrat money machine. (Her uncle was Florida crony capitalist turned politician Lawton Chiles.) Outside of being a reliable rubber stamp for Obama, she has a problem in that much like former NC Senators Dole and Edwards, Hagen really hasn't shown herself to be all that interested in North Carolina and its needs.

The challenge for Tillis is that people aren't sure he'll be much different that way. His advantage may be that once you get past the media hype about both candidates, Tilllis has a genuine up by he bootstraps resume. He also has an optimistic stump speech while Hagen mostly peddles fear.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All you have to do is look at the VA race with Cantor/Brat to see how much of a difference money makes to a race. The RNC is so angry over that outcome that they will probably not give any support to Brat just to show the TEA party up.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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