Tags: north carolina | senate | race | kay hagan | thom tillis

Regulation Rage Powers GOP's Tillis in NC Senate Race

By    |   Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:18 PM

Less than a week before North Carolinians go to the polls, the Senate race that is by far the most expensive in U.S. history — with more than $100 million spent by major party candidates and independent groups — has suddenly tightened up and is now considered a dead heat.

After weeks in which freshman Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan held a consistent lead in virtually every poll, a just-completed SurveyUSA poll among likely voters statewide shows her in a dead heat with Republican opponent Thom Tillis — 44 percent each.

These results are not much different from those in the latest Monmouth poll, which showed Hagan at 48 percent and state House Speaker Tillis at 46 percent. (Both polls included Libertarian candidate and potential Republican spoiler Sean Haugh, who managed 5 percent in the SurveyUSA poll and only 1 percent in Monmouth).

But the obvious question to Tillis is why, with Hagan edging then-Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in one of the tightest races of 2008 and Republicans since winning most statewide offices, their contest is only now becoming a horse race.

"That’s because a lot of money was spent against me early on — I mean, the first attack ads against me were last Thanksgiving!" the Republican nominee told Newsmax on Tuesday, recalling how the Democrats were out to define him six months before he finally secured the GOP Senate nomination in a crowded primary, "We always knew it would be close. But now the money we’ve raised equals out the race and we’ve picked up."

Money and polls aside, Tillis believes that his candidacy is fueled by growing voter anger over new government regulations and that "they are killing jobs and economic recovery."

"It’s not just Obamacare but all of the new regulations from Washington that are the burden holding down job creation," he told us, "Look, the new EPA regulations on carbon emissions will kill thousands of jobs in the coal industry. Dodd-Frank has to be repealed, after making it so difficult for business to gain access to government."

Tillis has said that with a Republican Senate next year, "we can start the XL Pipeline that the president has sat on and pass some of the 40-to-50 jobs bills that have been passed in  the House and died in the Senate. And you’ll see Democratic senators begin to vote for some of the measures. And while President Obama will veto some of these proposals, he won’t veto all of them. It will be very difficult to veto measures passed with bipartisan support."

As evidence of his claim, Tillis cites his own performance as speaker "when we had 11 overrides of vetoes by a Democratic governor (Beverly Perdue, governor from 2009-12) and sometimes had as many as one-third of the Democratic caucus voting with the Republicans. And we eventually passed legislation that included reform of taxation and worker’s compensation and, most importantly, getting rid of job-killing regulations.

"And with North Carolina’s unemployment dropping from 10.4 percent to 6.4 percent most recently, we’ve made our state great again. We can do this in Washington."

As it is in other Senate races this year, the issue of national security is emerging fast in the twilight days of the North Carolina contest. Tillis pointed out that "our state has one of the largest presences of armed forces of any of the fifty and the issue of safety and security is critical. Whether it’s Ebola, ISIS, or our insecure border, the administration has failed miserably. My opponent must share the blame as a Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and being absent from its hearings more than half the time."

The GOP hopeful, who spoke to us shortly after Arizona Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., appeared in the state on his behalf, promised to seek a seat on the Armed Services panel "that John McCain will be chairman of in a Republican Senate. And I’ll always show up for work."

Newsmax reminded Tillis that if elected, he will be the first former state House speaker from North Carolina to go to the U.S. Senate since conservative Democrat Willis Smith, who was elected back in 1950 and had a top aide named Jesse Helms.

"Being speaker gives you a unique perspective," he said, "I was attacked on my first day as speaker, But it just makes you work harder. You’re trusted to cast tough votes and do things differently."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.



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Less than a week before North Carolinians go to the polls, the Senate race that is by far the most expensive in U.S. history – with more than $100 million spent by major party candidates and independent groups – has suddenly tightened up and is now considered a dead heat.
north carolina, senate, race, kay hagan, thom tillis
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2014-18-28
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:18 PM
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