North Carolina

Democratic donors turn eyes to the Senate

Just hours after DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) conceded that Democrats aren’t likely to win control of the House of Representatives this fall, Politico ran a story noting that many high-dollar donors are shifting their focus to the Senate races in which vulnerable Democrats are running:

With Democrats’ grasp on the Senate increasingly tenuous — and the House all but beyond reach — some top party donors and strategists are moving to do something in the midterm election as painful as it is coldblooded: Admit the House can’t be won and go all in to save the Senate.

Their calculation is uncomplicated. With only so much money to go around in an election year that is tilting the GOP’s way, Democrats need to concentrate resources on preserving the chamber they have now. Losing the Senate, they know, could doom whatever hopes Barack Obama has of salvaging the final years of his presidency. 
Some Democratic operatives think a big chunk of that money should be going to Senate contests instead — and they’re beginning to make that case to wealthy contributors. One senior Democratic strategist who is involved in a number of Senate races said conversations with many of the party’s biggest donors about shifting their giving away from the House and toward the Senate had begun and that, “it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing the results.”

“After the health care rollout and with the start of the new year, Democratic donors are starting to focus on a critical choice they have to make: Donate money to pick up a small handful of House races or defend the Senate majority at all costs so that the president can get something — anything — done,” the strategist said.

Harry Reid: Vulnerable Senate Dems will campaign with Obama

Harry Reid

It’s already become apparent that vulnerable Senate Democrats are wary of being seen with President Barack Obama in their home states. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), for example, wouldn’t appear by his side during a visit to New Orleans in November, though she did make the trip with him on Air Force One.

More recently, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) skipped out on President Obama’s visit to her state. He did, however, go out of his way to publicly thank her “for the great work she’s been doing.”

Despite the these examples of politicians nervous about appearing beside an unpopular president, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) insists that vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection this year will campaign with President Barack Obama.

“Anytime the President of the United States appears supporting a candidate, it helps. You know, Ronald Reagan hurt me by coming to [Nevada] all the time,” said Reid during an pre-State of the Union appearance of CNN. “Barack Obama is personally a very popular guy. And people love this man. They love his family.”

“Of course, with what the Republicans have been doing, trying to denigrate him with what’s happened with the rollout of ObamaCare,” he said, “but things, even this week, his numbers are going up again.”

When asked whether he would encourage the most vulnerable Senate Democrats to campaign with President Obama, Reid said, “Yes, and they will.”

NC Senate: Obama thanks Kay Hagan for “great work she’s doing”

When you’re locked in a tight race against all of your Republican challengers, the last thing you want to do is be tied to an unpopular president from your own party. That was something Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) was hoping to avoid by skipping out on President Barack Obama’s visit to North Carolina.

But at the beginning of his speech, President Obama went out of his way to acknowledge the North Carolina Democrat. “Your senator, Kay Hagan, couldn’t be here,” he told the crowd, “but I wanted to thank her – publicly – for the great work she’s been doing.”

Hagan is in trouble with Tar Heel State voters. According to the latest Public Policy Polling survey out of the state, the she trails all of her potential Republican opponents, though within the margin of error, and her ratings are underwater, with just 39% approving of her job performance, while 49% disapprove.

NC Senate: Hagan trails all Republican challengers, approval rating continues to fall

Kay Hagan and Barack Obama

When President Barack Obama visits North Carolina today, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) won’t be by his side. The vulnerable Senate Democrat is trying to keep her distance, and based on the most recent poll out of the Tar Heel State, it’s not difficult to imagine why.

Hagan continues to trail each of her potential Republican opponents, though within the margin of error, according to a poll released yesterday by Public Policy Polling. The race is a must-win for Republicans if they hope to take the majority in the Senate.

The poll found that just 39% of North Carolina voters approve of Hagan’s job performance, down from 43% in December. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove, the same as was recorded last month.

Like most other states, Obamacare isn’t popular in North Carolina. Just 38% approve of the law, while 48% disapprove. Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters say that implementation of Obamacare has been unsuccessful, while 32% believe it was successful.

The botched Obamacare rollout and firestorm over health plan cancellations caused by the law are largely why Hagan is facing problems. Some 473,000 North Carolinians saw their policies canceled because of Obamacare regulations.

Two more House Democrats announce retirements

Two more House Democrats — Reps. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) — announced their retirements yesterday, giving Republicans an opportunity to pick-up the two seats later this year:

North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre and New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy will not seek reelection this year, according to multiple Democratic sources familiar with their plans – marking a blow to Democratic efforts to win control of the House.

The 57-year-old McIntyre, who was elected in 1996 to the Wilmington-area congressional seat, narrowly defeated Republican state Sen. David Rouzer in 2012 and was poised to face him in a 2014 rematch. His retirement from the heavily Republican district will further thin the ranks of Blue Dog Democrats. It comes less than a month after another Blue Dog, Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, said his current term would be his last.
The 70-year-old McCarthy, who also was elected in 1996, announced in June that she was undergoing treatment for lung cancer. She arrived in Congress after her husband and son were both shot in a December 1993 incident on the Long Island Rail Road. McCarthy’s husband, Dennis, was killed, while her son survived. She has been a key proponent of gun control during her time in office.

As noted above, McIntyre’s district, NC-07, has a strong Republican tilt, according to The Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index (PVI). Roll Call has already moved the race from “Pure Tossup” to “Currently Safe for Republicans.” So, put yet another seat in the GOP column for 2014.

NC Senate: Obamacare rollout hangs over Hagan

Kay Hagan

The troubled rollout of Obamacare remains a point of contention between North Carolina voters and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), according to the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, and President Barack Obama’s unpopularity may also be hurting her.

Just 38% of North Carolina voters approve of Obamacare, while 50% disapprove of the law. The poll found that 65% voters in the state don’t believe the implementation of the law has been successful. Just 4% describe implementation as “very successful” and 26% say it has been “somewhat successful.”

Hagan is statistically tied with each of her five potential Republican opponents, confirming last month numbers, which found the led she once held over the GOP field entirely wiped away after the botched Obamacare rollout began.

Hagan leads state House Speaker Tom Tillis by a 2-point margin, 44/42, though, that’s within the poll’s margin of error. She is in a 43/43 tie with Mark Harris and Heather Grant. Hagan trails two of her potential opponents, Bill Flynn and Greg Brannon, 43/45.

Brannon, who has been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), was the only Republican candidate to hold a lead over Hagan in last month’s Public Policy Polling survey. His lead was inside the margin of error.

NRSC hits vulnerable Senate Dems with devastating new video


The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is turning up the heat on vulnerable Senate Democrats who are now running away from Obamacare after a disastrous rollout and millions of insurance cancellations with a devastating new video.

The minute long video begins with one of the instances in which President Obama promised Americans that they would be able to keep their health plans under Obamacare. It then shifts to news coverage of the insurance cancellations that people are experiencing because of the law.

The video then goes to show some vulnerable Senate Democrats — Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) — repeating the same false promise made by President Obama, which was part of the campaign to deceive Americans on Obamacare.

NC Senate: Kay Hagan’s approval rating tanks

Kay Hagan

Fresh off a Public Policy Polling survey showing her in statistical ties with four potential Republican opponents, a new poll from Elon Unversity shows North Carolina voters are increasingly unhappy the job performance of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and that healthcare is single most important issue on their minds.

The Elon Unversity poll found that 37% of voters approve of Hagan’s job performance, while 44% disapprove, a net-negative of 7 points. In September, the North Carolina-based school showed her approval rating slightly above water at 38/35.

North Carolinians have continued to sour on President Barack Obama. His approval rating is at 37/54, up from 38/51 in September.

The most prominent issue on the minds of North Carolina voters is healthcare (24%), followed by the economy (21%), jobs/unemployment (13%), and budget/debt (10%). Just 31% of voters in the state believe Obamacare will make healthcare better, while 54% say it will make thing. worse.

That’s an ominous sign for Hagan, given all of the attention currently on Obamacare, including the disastrous rollout of the federal exchange website and 473,000 health plan cancellations in the state.

Small business owner says Obamacare is driving her to drink

Sheila Salter is a small business owner from North Carolina, founder of early2surg, a marketing company specializing in the surgical device industry. She is not happy that the health plan she had was taken from her and now has to purchase a much more expensive government-approved plan on the Obamacare exchanges.

Salter showed members of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee a chart comparing her pre-Obamacare plan cost her $202 a month and the plan she was offered through the exchange. The plan through the exchange has more than doubled her premiums. With the “essential benefit” mandate, the plan will cost her $584 per month, or more $4,584 each year.

“When I hear people talk about oh, you know, go to the exchanges, shop, shop, shop. You have one plan, okay? That plan includes the benefits listed in the left-hand column. Now you can see Sheila’s plan,” Salter told the committee, chaired by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). “Sheila’s plan was the one that I chose. I chose my services. I’ve done that all these years. I chose those services, chose that deductible for $202 a month.”

“Now, with Obamacare, I have to have those ten essential benefits. Now I challenge anybody in this room to look at the services that I selected for myself, noting that I’m 61. I now I don’t look it, and I have no children or history of alcohol or drug abuse. Yet. Okay, because this is driving me to drink,” she said to laughter in the room. “But does anybody here really think that I need all the services on the left-hand column? I don’t think so.”

NC Senate: Poll shows Hagan in virtual tie with GOP opponents

Kay Hagan and Barack Obama

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) once enjoyed solid leads over each of her potential Republican challengers. But the problems with Obamacare have caught up with her, according to a survey released yesterday by Public Policy Polling (PPP).

Hagan now finds herself in a virtual tie in head-to-head matchups with each of her potential Republican opponents, according to the PPP survey. She leads state House Speaker Thom Tillis, 44/42, and Heather Grant, 43/40. She also leads Mark Harris, 43/41. Each lead is inside the 3.7% margin of error.

Greg Brannon holds a slight edge over Hagan, 44/43. Though much of the national and state GOP establishment are behind Tillis, Brannon has been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and is getting support from the grassroots.

Hagan’s approval rating is underwater, 44/49, and as is the approval rating of Obamacare, at 38/48. As far as the implementation of the law goes, 69% of North Carolina voters believe that it has been unsuccessful. Just 25% said that it’s successful.

With President Obama’s blessing, Hagan has emerged as one of a handful of Senate Democrats who have criticized the Obama Administration for the problems with the federal Obamacare exchange website and the millions of insurance cancellations triggered by the law’s regulations.


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