National Republicans are outlining their attack points against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as it seeks to oust her in 2014, labeling her as ineffective and out of step with North Carolina voters.
In a political memo released Monday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is pushing their calculation of Hagan's performance, saying she's "the most ineffective senator in North Carolina's history" by showing the number of bills she sponsored or cosponsored that became law. The organization did not explain how they calculated the numbers, which don't take into account length of service, for one, or other ways provisions become law.
Ward Baker, the NRSC political director, also tries to align Hagan closely to Barack Obama, a line likely to be repeated often in the campaign given voters polarizing views on the president. Testing out campaign lines, Baker writes that Hagan was the "deciding vote" on the federal health care law, which is impossible to show, and a supporter of the president's "crack down on lawful gun-owners," which is also an exaggeration. A Hagan spokeswoman said she's voted to expand gun rights repeatedly, including allowing firearms in national parks.
Republicans are also touting their chances, saying they are "fielding a far stronger candidate" than when Hagan won in 2008. Hagan beat incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole. It does not, however, mention the candidate. Republicans are mired in a primary fight that includes House Speaker Thom Tillis and soon-to-be-official candidate Mark Harris, a Charlotte pastor. Greg Brannon is also campaigning, courting tea party supporters.
"Those factors, combined with the reality that her opponent’s campaign will be a well-funded effort spell trouble ahead for Kay Hagan," Baker concluded.
Hagan won in 2008 despite being vastly outspent and she won more votes than President Barack Obama in North Carolina. Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner responded to the memo saying the senator has a strong record, adding that effectiveness is more than the number of sponsored bills passed into law. "This memo is a desperate attempt by a DC group to advance their fringe agenda and distract from a chaotic primary that includes four candidates willing to shut down the government in order to play partisan political games," she wrote in a statement.