North Carolina Senate Candidates Seek Help From Outside Groups

Image: North Carolina Senate Candidates Seek Help From Outside Groups Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., left, and North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis. (Jamie Rose/MCT/Landov; Jeff Siner/MCT/Landov)

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 12:46 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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With the power of the North Carolina state party in decline, supporters of Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, have created a separate fundraising organization in hopes of boosting her re-election campaign, The New York Times reported.

In March, Hagan allies formed a joint fund-raising effort with the Democratic Party of Wake County, home to Raleigh, the state capital, and it already has brought in more than $1 million, compared with the $547,192 raised by the state Democratic Party, according to the Times.

In order to make up a large financial deficit, Hagan's opponent, Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis traveled to Washington this week to attend two fundraisers, according to the Charlotte Observer.

In taking on the incumbent Democrat, Tillis is facing an uphill battle for money. As of June, Hagan has raised $16,667,865 of which 54 percent has come from "large donations" and 20 percent from political action committees. While she has spent $7,961,740, Hagan has $8.7 million in cash on hand.

On the opposite end of the ledger, Tillis has only raised $4,764,110 and has spent a majority of that amount leaving him with only $1.5 million in available cash, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Most of Tillis funding – 70 percent – has come from large donations.

With the battle for the Senate at stake, North Carolina has gained added import for both sides. In recent weeks, outside groups have stepped up their efforts on behalf of the Tillis campaign.

The News & Observer reported that the Republican National Committee is preparing to start a campaign of robocalls to voters in which they characterize Hagan as "just another rubber stand on (Democrats) failed agenda."

Also lending a hand is Freedom Partners, a group affiliated with the Koch Brothers. This week, Roll Call reported it had purchased at least $2.8 million in airtime in several cities across North Carolina.

A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday shows Hagan has a 7 point lead against Tillis, up slightly from June. She leads Tillis 41 percent to 34 percent.

"Kay Hagan’s lead just continues to rise as the legislature spends longer and longer and longer in session," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, in a statement. "The big question though is whether she’ll be able to sustain this bigger lead once they’ve gone home, or if the race will quickly return back to normal like it did last year."

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