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Thom Tillis attends a debate between the four top-polling Republican candidates in North Carolina for the U.S. Senate, at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina April 22, 2014. Picture taken April 22, 2014. To match USA-NORTHCAROLINA-SENATE REUTERS/
One of the Republican Party's paths to Senate control was supposed to go straight through North Carolina, where Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan was supposed to be mortally wounded by Obamacare. But Hagan not only holds onto a lead in a new Public Policy Polling poll—her margin is growing. Hagan leads Republican nominee Thom Tillis by a seven-point margin, 41 percent to 34 percent, with a Libertarian candidate drawing eight percent. In June, Hagan's lead was five points, and in May it was just two points.

How does Hagan, with job performance ratings of 40 percent approve to 50 percent disapprove, have a growing lead? Partly it's that Libertarian candidate's eight percent:

... Hagan is very much being propped up right now by the 8% Haugh is receiving, which does not seem likely to hold through until November. When Haugh voters are reallocated to who they would support if they had to pick between Hagan and Tillis, her lead drops to 42-39.
But while that is a serious note of caution, it points to the fact that voters really, really don't like Tillis, the Speaker of the state House, who is seen favorably by just 24 percent and unfavorably by 47 percent; just 19 percent of voters approve of the job the state legislature is doing, with 57 percent disapproving.

What, a guy who can't take criticism from a woman without dismissing it as "born out of emotions" and thinks that white people are "the traditional population" of North Carolina isn't warm, cuddly, and beloved by voters? Thinking that the state has the right to ban contraceptives doesn't endear you to voters in the wake of Hobby Lobby? The poll finds that Hagan has a 44-27 lead among women, and that 54 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who wants to restrict access to affordable birth control, so maybe no, Tillis's position is not actually in line with his state's voters.

This is still going to be a tough race, with millions of dollars in outside spending from the Koch brothers and the like. But once again, Republicans have come up with a candidate who's going to be a really hard sell to voters—because of his ardent embrace of Republican policies and his failure to hide that well enough.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If it floats like a turd... (8+ / 0-)

    ...and smells like a turd, well...

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:10:29 AM PDT

  •  Is the tide turning in NC? (20+ / 0-)

    I keep hearing about how unpopular Tillis and McCrory are, and how people are fed up with the Art Pope legislature.  Are enough people fed up to turn back the Republican wave in NC?  Will enough of them be able to vote to matter?

    One can only hope Rev. Barber turns his efforts up to 12, to raise the heat of moral indignation high enough to roast these clowns.

    I stand with triv33. Shame on her attackers.

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:13:37 AM PDT

    •  That seems like a lot to hope for (11+ / 0-)

      ... given the gerrymandering of the state legislature. But at least there can be no mistake as to whose policies are being implemented, which is probably is good for Democrats running at a statewide level.

      I was holding forth at dinner the other night about why I think we will probably retain our hold on the Senate this fall. NC and AR are two essential pickups for Republicans and both of them seem increasingly doubtful.

      I'm most curious to know about how Mark Begich (AK) is faring.

      "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

      by Demi Moaned on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:24:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think we hold Senate, gain seats in the House (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NCTim, Demi Moaned, Ahianne

        (but probably won't win it back), and pick up some governorships (look at Kansas of all places). Of course, this does depend on GOTV, but I think the GOP crazy train has angered enough people (particularly women) to make this possible.

        So while we're not looking at 2006 or 2008, we're not looking at 1994 or 2010 either. 2016, however, is going to KICK ASS for our side!

        A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

        by METAL TREK on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:08:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We are trying. It's all about getting out the ... (13+ / 0-)

      vote despite the voter suppression tactics that have been placed upon the voters on NC by the ethically and morally challenged Tar Heel Teabilly Taliban legislature, senate and idiot child, liar-in-chief, Gov. Art Pope....  Er, I mean McCrory.

      "This is our time..."

       - Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

      Forward Together, Not One Step Back

      “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

      by LamontCranston on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:33:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is there's no presidential race (6+ / 0-)

      Obama's team was excellent at turning out the vote. In 2006 and 2010 Dems had a very weak GOTV effort in NC. It's going to very tight because hard pressed Dem voters won't get the help they need to get to the polls and because the Repubs have made it much harder to vote.

      “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:46:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Voter ID requirement is not in effect (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NCTim, Demi Moaned, Eric Nelson, Ahianne

      for the 2014 election, so at least that won't hold people back.

      The gerrymandering is a mighty powerful drag, but I expect Democrats to retake a number of seats and could even make a game of it in the state Senate.

      Getting rid of the GOP super-majorities is the first step - it makes McCrory and his veto pen matter and would help to put him on the spot.

      Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

      by bear83 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:58:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't think so. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Demi Moaned

      Hate to be a spoilsport, but Republicans have about a 2:1 margin in both houses.  Even if we pick up a couple seats in each chamber, we'd still be miles away from taking the chamber back.  And McCrory isn't up until 2016.

  •  Still haven't seen a Tillis ad.....maybe I should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, sawgrass727

    be watching Fox?

  •  and was this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not the "establishment", "moderate" candidate in the primary field?

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:24:02 AM PDT

    •  That's what I was thinking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Calamity Jean

      The Tea Party extremists can't be blamed for this one for causing the "moderate" candidate to veer right.  I knew Tillis personally in a prior career and that smile is best described as a sneer.  He's not a trustworthy guy and statewide voters are seeing that.  

  •  Hagan (5+ / 0-)

    needs to be on TV now, not tomorrow, asking Tillis what is his position about denying subsidies to North Carolinians with Obamacare.

    NOW push the fucker to say if he is ok with it.

  •  McCrory's austerity kicking in....the tax on my (8+ / 0-)

    Progress Energy bill doubled this month.....I don't think North Carolinians are going to be too happy about this Mr Speaker.

  •  He is a bottom feeding opportunist with the (8+ / 0-)

    backing of A.L.E.C.  He doesn't give a rat's ass about the citizens of NC, but rather his political career, and personal gains.

    Sound familiar?

    “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:36:37 AM PDT

    •  Tillis taking the Burr route (3+ / 0-)

      Tillis is trying to lay low, be quiet, make this a race about Hagan.

      That's how McCrory won against Purdue in 2012.

      Problem for him is, for Repubs in NC, this is not 2012. They have complete control of state government, and Tillis actually has a record he needs to defend.

      It really just boils down to base turnout on both sides.  

      And because of this, I'm wondering if Tillis's current strategy of being invisible and not taking a stand on anything will work for him.

      History is a guide, not a destination.

      by NCJan on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 11:17:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bev didn't run in 2012. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I believe McCrory beat Walter Dalton who didn't even run a real campaign as far as I could tell.  Sad thing is a lot of yahoos registered to vote so they could vote  FOR Amendment  1 in May 2012. Those new voters appeared to make up approximately the difference between statewide votes of Romney and Obama in the 2012 presidential election.  That difference is going to be hard to overcome unless we can register a lot of new real Dem voters since we have such a high percentage of registered Democrats who routinely  vote Republican.

        •  Oops my bad (0+ / 0-)

          You're right, it was the missing Walter Dalton.

          Elaine Marshall didn't show up against Burr in 2010 either.

          At least Hagan looks like she's showing up and Tillis isn't this time.

          History is a guide, not a destination.

          by NCJan on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 04:16:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  2010 -- Elaine Marshall DID show up. (0+ / 0-)

            Don't forget Cal Cunningham and the back-stabbing of the Democratic SENATORIAL Committee.

            She was up by 9 point and he still forced a runoff.  After she won that, the National party (the ones that recruited Cunningham in the first place, after she was already in the race, I might add!) pulled up stakes and left.  Left us to Koch brother money in the wake of Citizens United.

            Let's not be revisionist.

            Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
            I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
            —Spike Milligan

            by polecat on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 07:49:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I worked hard on that race (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I know she had a lot going against her and it was a horrible year, but the fact remains--

              I never saw her.

              Hubby and I were one of very few volunteers working in one of the bluest parts of the state.  And I mean VERY few, working VERY hard.

              And she never came to visit that I knew about.

              I know she didn't have much money but I wish she would have just gotten into her car and come out a few times to places where she could motivate more people to help get out the vote.

              Chapel Hill and Durham ain't that far from Raleigh.

              History is a guide, not a destination.

              by NCJan on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 07:05:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I met her here in Asheville. Very nice lady. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I'm glad you worked on that campaign.

                Didn't know about how it was run on your end.

                It got so bad here that Bill Clinton had to come out and campaign for Heath Shuler (Blue Dogs all around).  He actually squeaked by in 2010, but the redistricting ended that.

                Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
                I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
                —Spike Milligan

                by polecat on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 07:38:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm sure she is a nice woman (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I'm glad I worked on that campaign as well.  I met some really dedicated souls.

                  No Bill Clinton here--David Price had a bit of a threat early on and lots of money thrown against him, but he ended up winning quite handily.

                  There were a lot of angry progressives here who kind of sat out the whole thing.  Not a strategy I would endorse, frankly, and we are still living with the results.

                  We were getting so desperate for bodies here by the end that I was kind of hoping Elaine would do a Sam Ervin, Sr. trick--just get in an old car, travel the state, and do some old fashioned stumping.

                  With all the money being thrown at campaigns these days, and all the fundraising that needs to be done, that was probably a fantasy.

                  History is a guide, not a destination.

                  by NCJan on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 08:41:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  GOPers Often come Home (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoIn, Ahianne

    This looks like great news on Hagan. However, be wary. Too many GOPers listen to appeals by the "Koch Heads" and "Fake" News and come home in the end to support "Team Red," dumping  the third party for all their grousing. Contrast the suicidal/ "purist" behavior of Democrats going for Nader in 2000 or still giving Me.'s "independent" gubernatorial candidate Cutler their support, because he was 100% right on issues from the beginning. Remember, Tar Heel Dems., vote in droves in November for Hagan. And Me. Dems., a "vote for Cutler is a vote for Le Page." For more on the Hagan and Michaud racthises, read      

  •  I say leave the Tillis name to country music. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    METAL TREK, Calamity Jean

    Pam Tillis and Mel Tillis shouldn't have their names sullied by association with this guy.

    Especially Pam, who is a solid supporter of Democratic politics.

  •  3rd party votes often not reallocated, polling (5+ / 0-)

    I don't know if you would necessarily call it a myth, but true 3rd party voters often do not simply reallocate their votes after their candidate fails to make it to the run off. Unless those 3rd party voters are chronic voters, they often stay home on election day if their candidate does not advance. As we also saw in Virginia, even the best polling firms have a hard time with accuracy when there is a serious 3rd party candidate. Its still good news.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:40:32 AM PDT

  •  Get multiple emails every day from Kay Hagan (5+ / 0-)

    She is working very, very hard to build a solid lead.

    There is a decent chance this will work down ticket as well since we have a major statewide election.

    But the GerryMander in the legislature is so bad that the most we could hope for is to reduce the GOP supermajority.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:41:01 AM PDT

  •  Art Pope is a False Prophet. (6+ / 0-)

    The Kochroaches' ALEC is a RICO enterprise.

    And Duke Energy's coal ash doesn't make sweet tea.

  •  this is good momentum (0+ / 0-)

    as more seats come off the board for the GOP the better.  With North Carolina looking in are favor, Pryor looking competitive in Arkansas, Udall starting to make some room in Colorado, Peters strong in Michigan, and Grimes  holding on by a thread in Kentucky I am feeling good about our chances.  I am concerned about Landrieu in Louisiana, Begich in Alaska due to lack of polling, Nunn in Georgia with the run off possibility and reports out of Iowa that Braley might be in trouble.   I am reading that South Dakota and Montana might be gone but maybe Montana can be saved.  I think as we get closer to Labor Day in September things will start to heat up and the polling will start coming fast and furious.

    I can't force you to do anything, I can just make you regret it!

    by restondem on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:49:29 AM PDT

  •  Year Of The Southern Women (11+ / 0-)

    Haven't seen this mentioned but it is interesting that 4 of races that the Democrats need to help maintain Senate control we have women running against white men. North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky.

  •  wouldn't it be great (9+ / 0-)

    if the seat that sealed control for team blue came with Alison Grimes knocking off the turtle, that would be awesome.

    I can't force you to do anything, I can just make you regret it!

    by restondem on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 10:51:37 AM PDT

  •  Don't count your chickens yet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yellowdogsal, RoIn, NCTim

    Tillis is caught in the State House with a never ending legislative session. The Republicans are too busy fighting
    with each other to determine who is the most well endowed. Meanwhile the budget stalls and the session lingers on.

    I am told Tillis has been sneaking to Washington DC for fundraising during breaks in the non action.

    Expect Tillis to come out swinging on the campaign trail once the session ends. However, he will be wearing the smelly cloak of the NCGOP budget.

  •  Turnout. (5+ / 0-)

    Turnout, turnout, turnout.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 11:25:31 AM PDT

  •  Just when I thought all was lost (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, NCTim, Calamity Jean

    the people of North Carolina (Women, apparently) up and show common sense. Good Diary. Good news to keep spirits up against the rising tide of corruption especially Koch campaign money. The House and Senate are where it's at, and where it is the most difficult to get voters interested enough to actually vote. If Hillary, or whoever, wins the Presidency, can you imagine what winning at least one of those would mean? This is a state where Democrats should spend sufficient campaign funds to register voters, especially poor voters, if they want to win. GOTV is the No. one barrier to the Democratic Party.
    Who and where are the wealthy Democrats to put their money where their hints at support are? I'm talking about Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, et al. The Kochs and the SCOTUS have shown their strength in keeping the RW relevant. ACORN revisited is what is needed.

    In 2010-37% of eligible American voters voted for their U.S. Reps. (Census) The 1% is not taking this country from us. We are giving it to them.

    by Incredulousinusa on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 11:27:13 AM PDT

  •  I am extermely excited (0+ / 0-)

    that NC is unexcited about Tillis.  NOW DEMOCRATS TURNOUT AND VOTE!!!!

  •  The League of Conservation Voters (4+ / 0-)

    is all over Tillis:

    NCLCV is not going to let buck-dodging legislative leaders "greenwash" their painted pig of a coal ash bill. Conservationists last week called on House Speaker Thom Tillis to stop spinning and start fixing the severe shortcomings of a plan which fails to protect North Carolinians' clean water. Tillis ignored the call – and instead put out a news release which praised himself for his bad coal bill.

    NCLCV director of governmental relations Dan Crawford fired back in response. “Thom Tillis is not coming clean about his responsibility for bad coal ash legislation. He clearly feels stung by well-justified criticism of his failure to protect North Carolina families from more water pollution and higher electric bills. This is the time for North Carolinians to keep the heat on Speaker Tillis and the N.C. House and Senate to fix their mess of a coal ash pollution bill,” said Crawford.

    Crawford points out that Tillis has never been known as an advocate for environmental health, instead possessing an abysmal 26% career scoring average on the NCLCV legislative scorecard of key environmental votes. Crawford adds, "If Speaker Tillis has finally seen the light of day on coal ash, then he should begin to put North Carolina families before his polluting allies and implement the strongest possible safeguards for our drinking water supplies."

    The NCLCV-sponsored ad calling for citizens to contact Speaker Tillis in support of a real cleanup bill continues to run this week in four major media markets in North Carolina. Concerned citizens are urged to speak up for our clean drinking water. Take action here.

    Tillis has nowhere to hide these days. As Speaker of the House, his fingerprints are on every bill that passes, good or bad. And believe me, they are not passing ANY good bills.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 12:40:27 PM PDT

  •  moral monday has helped a lot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NCTim, Eric Nelson

    across the state in getting the word out on how extreme our gerrymandered state representation has been. Since they feel like they have a mandate but the popular vote is much more even, they have alienated a lot of centrist voters and more traditionally republican voters with their agenda. Tillis is the poster boy for the house.

    The recent fracking debate has also been hot, here in Asheville there have been some really effective commercials linking tillis to the profracking groups. I haven't seen any pro Tillis ads at all.. (we only have one local and the rest are greenville so it's not a great sample..)

    He who throws mud only loses ground -- Fat Albert

    by c0wfunk on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 01:31:10 PM PDT

  •  I canvassed for Kay Hagan on Saturday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was sent to an affluent apartment complex.  Pros: 1) lots of people who are new to the state, have moved recently, and probably aren't registered at their current address  2) lots of stair climbing for me (but forgot to wear my fitbit).  Cons: most people will either not be home or will not answer the door.  Of the 49 doors on my list, I talked to 16 people, only one of which was going to vote for Tillis.  Four had recently moved to NC, didn't know much about the race, but agreed with Hagan's position on education (more public funding to restore the 500M cut last year), raising the minimum wage, and expanding Medicare (which McCrory has refused).  About 10 of them personally knew teachers who were not happy with the funding cuts last year.  These people are the very definition of uninvolved voters but by identifying them now, we can make sure they turn out in November.  

    Luckily for me, I LOVE to canvass :)  I canvassed for Gale Adcock the weekend before (running for NC House) and will canvass for Clay Aiken this next weekend (running against Renee Elmers in the US House).  If you have some time, please canvass to elect progressive candidates!  There was a really great article about the effectiveness of canvassing to turn out voters:

  •  Tillis (0+ / 0-)

    has been a no show for the so-called "short session".  To date it has cost NC almost 700K to have our mental midgets try to develop this budget.  Next Tuesday is the new fiscal year.  Probably enough time to come up with a last min agreement.  The wasted money, because of the brain dead, amounts to pay for approximately 14 teachers.

    Then there is the coal ash problem, the TA problem, the newly district court created Obamacare problem, the continued lies about small government (new taxes only being used for one purpose), the fact that 26% of our children are in poverty seems to put NC christians in a mode to avoid being Jesus like, the fracking problem etc, etc etc.      

    Welcome to NC - the new Kansas.  Frankly, I sure we haven't hit bottom yet.

  •  got to watch the Koch libertarian canidate (0+ / 0-)

    Just a American Oligarch (Koch) ploy to snag some of the youth vote which will later be conceded to tillis . it is meant to be coupled with the voter suppression laws and gerrymander to assure a rigged win for the GOP....

    by the way, I have tracked the tillis donation trail back to the Neocon McCain and the American Majority . Their consultant just set up the 'tillis victory committee PAC'  is the organizing arm for conservatives.

  •  thought you guys might like this 1.2 million ad (0+ / 0-)

    first big attack ad on the behalf of  Kay Hagen

    The 30-second ad – backed by $1.1 million from Patriot Majority USA – focuses on how David and Charles Koch are spending millions to help boost Tillis’ campaign and tries to make the connection to the 2013 tax cuts approved by state lawmakers that lowered taxes on corporations.

    The kicker: “He may not be a Koch brother but he certainly treats them like family.”

  •  Every election, talk of GOP losing in Red States (0+ / 0-)

    surfaces, like we are making progress. Bet you $10,000 the DCCC screws this election up just like all the other mid-term elections. They won't hire people to register the poor and they are going to lose again because of it. DCCC-Inept at getting Democrats elected. Very successful at licensed begging.

    In 2010-37% of eligible American voters voted for their U.S. Reps. (Census) The 1% is not taking this country from us. We are giving it to them.

    by Incredulousinusa on Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 08:14:23 AM PDT

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