Last night at UNC, Chapel Hill Rep. David Price and Dr. Lawson squared off in a debate, drawing a sharp contrast in their approach for the direction of our country. Dr. Lawson presented a clear and concise message to the students — restore common sense.
A video will be made available in the next day or so of the full debate, and I am confident you all will be as excited as we were last night.
State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenberg) may hold a slim lead over Republicans vying for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination, but he’s the only potential challenger who trails Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in a head-to-head matchup.
The latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey out of North Carolina found that Hagan trails most of the Republican field. Mark Harris (44/40) and Heather Grant (43/39) both hold a 4-point lead over Hagan. Greg Brannon, who has received a lot of grassroots support, holds a 2-point edge, at 42/40.
But Hagan leads Tillis, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, by a 2-point margin, at 43/41. Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, attributes this his being more well known than the other Republicans in the race.
“In Tillis’ case being well known is not necessarily a positive thing,” wrote Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, “his time at the helm of an unpopular legislature has left him with a 20/39 favorability rating.”
Here’s the thing, though. Tillis is the Republican establishment’s pick in this race. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads dropped $1.1 million to promote Tillis ahead of the May 6 primary, hoping that it would help his preferred candidate grab the 40% he needs to avoid a runoff.
With control of the Senate hanging in the balance, some have wondered if that could bring to an end Harry Reid’s (D-NV) leadership of the Democratic conference. Many of his colleagues are already expressing support, according to Politico, regardless of the outcome of the 2014 election.
Among those openly backing Reid to serve again as the party’s leader are Sens. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Pryor — three of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this year:
“Absolutely,” Sen. Mary Landrieu, a vulnerable Louisiana Democrat facing voters this fall, said when asked if she would back Reid as leader no matter the outcome of the November elections. “We all share in success, we all share in the failures; we’re a team. But Harry Reid has tremendous respect of members of our caucus. … I don’t believe that he would be challenged in our party for leadership until he’s ready to step aside.”
“Yeah,” Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, another Democrat facing a tough race, said when asked if he’d back Reid again. “It’s up to him on whether he wants to do it.”
“Harry Reid is our leader, and I certainly do support Harry,” said Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). “And I have a huge race going on right now, and I will be victorious. And I will be back next year. And we can talk all about that then.”
Other potentially vulnerable Senate Democrats weren’t so willing to express support for Reid. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) hedged on the question, telling Politico he’s worried about their own political survival, while Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wouldn’t comment.
North Carolina election officials are looking into voter fraud after a crosscheck of registration databases found that 35,570 voters who cast ballots in 2012 may have also voted in other states in the same election year:
State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach said North Carolina’s check found 765 registered North Carolina voters who appear to match registered voters in other states on their first names, last names, dates of birth and the final four digits of their Social Security numbers. Those voters appear to have voted in North Carolina in 2012 and also voted in another state in 2012.
The crosscheck also found 35,570 voters in North Carolina who voted in 2012 whose first names, last names and dates of birth match those of voters who voted in other states in 2012, but whose Social Security numbers were not matched.
“A lot of states don’t provide last four SSN, or they don’t have that information,” Strach explained.
Additionally, the analysis found 155,692 registered North Carolina voters whose first and last names, dates of birth and final four Social Security number digits match voters registered in other states but who most recently registered or voted elsewhere.
The crosscheck is limited to the 28 states that participated in the Interstate Crosscheck program, so it’s quite possible that there more instances of double-voting in North Carolina that are going unnoticed.
There is some good news and bad news for Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) in the latest SurveyUSA poll out of North Carolina. Her approval rating has rebounded slightly, but she trails each of her potential Republican challengers.
The good news for Hagan is that SurveyUSA shows her approval rating on the rebound, though slightly. The poll, conducted from March 27-31, finds that 38% of North Carolina voters approve of her job performance, up from 34% in mid-March.
Hagan’s numbers improved across party lines with the biggest jump coming from independent voters, though she’s still underwater among this bloc (35/49). Her negatives, however, are still high. Fifty percent (50%) disapprove of her job performance, a slight drop from the 54% recorded in the previous poll.
The bad news for Hagan is that she trails each of her Republican challengers among likely voters, though most of her potential opponents are within the poll’s 2.6% margin of error.
State House Speaker Thom Tillis, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, leads Hagan by a razor-thin, 1-point margin (46/45). Greg Brannon (47/45), Heather Grant (46/44), and Ted Alexander (46/44) each lead the Democrat by 2 points. Mark Harris holds a 4-point lead over Hagan (46/44), the largest among her Republican challengers.
The mid-March poll didn’t pair Hagan against her Republican challengers.
Tillis still holds a lead among Republican primary voters, though his support dropped since the last poll, from 28% to 23%. Brannon takes 15%, the same as the previous poll.
Senate Democrats are hoping that they can turn news reports and commentary from pundits into something that will motivate both their donors and base supporters to rally behind them this fall. That was ultimately the strategy behind the DSCC memo earlier this week that took aim at election guru Nate Silver’s 2014 Senate projections.
Democrats do face an enthusiasm gap. Republicans are much more motivated to get out and vote this fall, according to a new CBS News poll, so it makes sense on some level for party leaders and strategists to prod their base.
But Stu Rothenberg, namesake of the The Rothenberg Political Report, warns that Democrats’ appeals these appeals may not be enough, noting that recent polling suggests that independent voters are moving away from President Barack Obama and his party (emphasis added):
Attitudinally, independents once again more closely resemble GOP voters than Democrats.
The CBS News/New York Times survey found that while Democrats continued to approve of the president (76 percent approve), Republicans (only 7 percent approve) and independents (only 37 percent approve) did not, and while 60 percent of Democrats said the economy is “very good” or “fairly good,” only 17 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents agreed. In addition, Democrats were upbeat about the direction of the country, while Republicans and independents were not.
Republicans are riding high off the recent win in a Florida special congressional election. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, for example, boldly predicted this week the country is “in for a tsunami-type election in 2014.”
Pundits, including those who typical opine for Democrats, seem to agree Republicans have the momentum in their corner as the country approaches the mid-term election. The narrative that President Barack Obama and Obamacare hover over Democrats, especially vulnerable Senate incumbents up for reelection this year, is hard to ignore.
With this in mind, The Cook Political Report, a widely read and respected publication, has made some changes to their Senate race ratings. The changes are notable and Cook does expect Democrats to lose seats, but they also note that control of the Senate is far from decided (emphasis added):
The Republican primary race for the rights to take on Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) took a turn yesterday, with a new poll showing that state House Speaker Thom Tillis is now tied with a conservative challenger with strong grassroots support.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that Tillis’ support has dropped from 20% in February to 14% this month. What’s more, Tillis now trails Hagan, 45/43, in a preview of a potential November match up.
Tillis has had a rough time on the campaign trail in recent days. A radio interview recently surfaced in which the establishment favorite said, ”Obamacare is a great idea that can’t be paid for.”
“Only 15% of primary agree with Tillis’ sentiment that ‘Obamacare is a great idea,’” wrote Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, ”compared to 78% who say they disagree with it.”
Greg Brannon is now tied with Tillis, taking 14% of North Carolina Republican voters, according to the poll. The two are followed by Heather Grant (11%) Ted Alexander (7%), Mark Harris (7%), Alex Bradshaw (6%), Jim Snyder (4%), and Edward Kryn (1%). More than a third of GOP voters (36%) are undecided.
Energy issues will play a role in four key states that could decide control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, according to a new poll. Specifically, President Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will weigh on voters’ minds.
The poll, conducted by Hickman Analytics on behalf of Consumer Energy Alliance, found that more than three-quarters of likely voters in four states — Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina — “said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, before deciding whom they will support.”
More than two-thirds of likely voters in these four states support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) support construction of the oil pipeline. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), however, does not.
Whether or not these Senate Democrats support Keystone XL may prove irrelevant depending on what action President Obama takes. The poll found that voters in these four states would be less likely to support a Democratic incumbent if the White House rejects the proposed oil pipeline:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has endorsed Dr. Greg Brannon in the North Carolina Republican Senate primary and plans to campaign for the conservative candidate in the Tar Heel state later this month.
In a statement released this morning by Brannon’s campaign, Lee called 2014 a “critical year for conservatives,” noting that North Carolina will play an important role in this year’s mid-term election. He stressed the importance of electing candidates that will “work to restor[e] the proper role of government” and “forward positive, specific policy proposals to get America back on track.”
“Greg Brannon is dedicated to enacting a conservative reform agenda in Congress. He is willing to challenge the status quo and entrenched special interests,” said Lee in the statement. “And he has pledged to work alongside myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others in the Senate to change the way Washington works.”
Lee, a Tea Party favorite, has put forward a number of reform proposals in recent months, including pro-family tax reform and policies that would strengthen the middle class as well as create opportunity for the poor.
“Greg Brannon will be a strong voice for the people in the Senate and I am proud to endorse him,” Lee added.