N.C. Senate Hopefuls Call in the Big Guns in the Final Stretch

The campaigns of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Republican challenger Thom Tillis are turning to high-profile Democratic and Republican officeholders to bolster their candidacies less than two weeks before voters go the polls on Nov. 4.

Hagan is scheduled to appear with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Oct. 25 for a campaign event in Charlotte. Clinton, a former Democratic senator from New York, is considering running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Tillis, the N.C. House speaker appeared with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, at an event Oct. 22 at Tillis' campaign office in Greensboro.

In Cornelius, N.C., on Oct. 18, Johnson praised Tillis' leadership and spoke about the crises currently facing the United States including the Obama administration’s approach to confronting ISIS in the Middle East.

“We’ve witnessed a complete lack of leadership from President Obama and Senate Democrats like Kay Hagan when it comes to confronting ISIS and addressing Ebola, and it’s why we desperately need proven leaders in Washington like Thom Tillis to move our country in a different direction,” Johnson said. “When it comes to protecting our national security, there’s a very clear contrast in this race between Thom, who will make the tough calls to keep North Carolinians safe, and Sen. Hagan, who will vote to keep Harry Reid as Senate majority leader and is a rubber-stamp for President Obama’s failed approach to ISIS and other dangerous threats to our nation.”

Tillis also has appeared with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) at recent campaign events in the state.

“In this election, North Carolina has the chance to replace President Obama’s rubberstamp Kay Hagan with a proven independent leader in Thom Tillis, who is ready to shakeup the status quo in Washington and deliver results,” Christie said in a Tillis campaign event in Wilmington, N.C. “I’m proud to stand with Thom, who is the true embodiment of the American Dream, having come from humble beginnings to work his way up the business world."

“Thom has demonstrated time after time that he’s not afraid to stand up to either party to do what’s right for North Carolina families, and we need that kind of bold leadership in the Senate,” Christie added.

The visits by well-known, out-of-state politicians happen at a time when the polls show Hagan and Tillis in a tight race. Most surveys show Hagan with a slim lead to win a second term in office.

National Republicans believe Hagan is vulnerable in their attempt to win a majority of Senate seats in this midterm election. However, the candidacy of Libertarian Sean Haugh, a pizza-delivery man who lives in Durham, may tilt the election to Hagan by drawing conservative votes away from Tillis.

Polls show that Haugh might receive 5 to 7 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Tillis' campaign continues to hammer Hagan on her absences from Senate intelligence briefings on the presence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Hagan has said publicly that she was never out of the loop regarding national security briefings on ISIS and was able to get the same information through other sources. She admitted that she missed one briefing last February in the Senate’s Armed Services Committee in Washington to attend a fundraising event in New York City.

“I find that amusing,” McCain told a Durham television station on Oct. 16. “Because then why should we have to have hearings? That’s the only way that you can get a complete picture of the issues that are being addressed.”