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N.C. Democrats tout Hagan's 2014 prospects amid GOP disorder

N.C. Democrats are reveling is the Republican disorder for the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

In a memo Tuesday, N.C. Democratic Party operative Ben Ray argued that Kay Hagan "finds herself in an increasingly strong position" as the GOP struggles to identify a front-runner for the primetime race. "Just over one year from the Republican primary, two things are clear:  Republicans aren’t going to get their strongest potential candidates, and whoever emerges from their primary field to face Senator Hagan will be battered and broke," writes Ray, the party's new rapid response director. "The GOP field has already suffered several setbacks, with Congressmen George Holding and Patrick McHenry each announcing that they would pass on the race.  Holding has substantial personal wealth, and McHenry consistently performed well in public polling.  With the failure of a top-tier candidate to materialize, the NRSC is left facing a cavalry charge of candidates unprepared for the challenges ahead."

The memo also offers a glimpse at how Democrats may position House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger, two potential candidates, hitting Tillis for his office's ties to lobbyists and Berger for supporting controversial legislation. "North Carolinians are already feeling the gap in between their values and the Tillis/Berger legislature widen, according to public polling," Ray writes. "No matter how you cut it, Senator Phil Berger and Speaker Thom Tillis are playing with political fire as they work against North Carolina values."

Read the entire memo below:

Memorandum

To: Interested Parties

From:  Ben Ray, North Carolina Democratic Party

Re: State of the Senate Race

Date: 4.23.13

Just over one year from the Republican primary, two things are clear:  Republicans aren’t going to get their strongest potential candidates, and whoever emerges from their primary field to face Senator Hagan will be battered and broke.

The GOP field has already suffered several setbacks, with Congressmen George Holding and Patrick McHenry each announcing that they would pass on the race.  Holding has substantial personal wealth, and McHenry consistently performed well in public polling.  With the failure of a top-tier candidate to materialize, the NRSC is left facing a cavalry charge of candidates unprepared for the challenges ahead.  

Speaker of the House Thom Tillis is facing a disaster at his oft-neglected day job, where his handpicked Finance Committee chairman has introduced a bill to do away with North Carolina’s lobbyist gift ban and loosen disclosure laws.  Tillis has a sordid history with lobbyists, and is already known for giving two staffers, including his then-chief of staff,  taxpayer-funded golden parachutes after they were revealed to be having inappropriate romantic relationships with lobbyists and resigned.  

Speaker Tillis also presided over the midnight vote to defund Planned Parenthood in North Carolina, is using a committee to kill North Carolina’s Equal Pay legislation, and has been the point man on extreme efforts to restrict North Carolinians’ voting rights.  It’s no wonder Tillis has already gone begging for help from Washington, D.C.

In the upper chamber, Senate President Phil Berger is deeply damaging himself, as well.  From supporting a poll tax on parents of college students and ending early voting to working to remove the caps on class size in public schools, Berger has been matching Tillis stride for stride in a race to score points with their political base at the expense of what’s important to North Carolina voters-- job creation.  

North Carolinians are already feeling the gap in between their values and the Tillis/Berger legislature widen, according to public polling.  No matter how you cut it, Senator Phil Berger and Speaker Thom Tillis are playing with political fire as they work against North Carolina values.

Republicans are also contending with news that Congresswoman Renee Ellmers’ fundraising quarter wasn’t anywhere close to the level of a would-be Senate candidate.  Raising less than $100,000 in the first quarter and having just $133,000 in the bank led National Journal’s Hotline to ask if “the house is home” for the ardent Ryan Budget supporter and her colleague Virginia Foxx, who also raised a paltry sum for a senate candidate.

All the while, grassroots Tea Party candidate Greg Brannon is travelling the state, spreading the word about his extreme policies to primary voters.

With more than $2.7 million dollars on hand and a strong record as a bipartisan problem solver that reflects North Carolina values in the Senate, Senator Kay Hagan finds herself in an increasingly strong position as the 2014 election cycle approaches.


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