Under the Dome

Dome: Hagan says she feels good about her Senate race

Staff writersAugust 25, 2013 

A Pergo employee shows U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan a wide variety of finishes on the laminated flooring made at the Garner factory. Hagan announced a manufacturing policy advisory committee during her visit.

KYLE JAHNER — kjahner@newsobserver.com

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan said she thinks she is well-positioned for re-election campaign next year, although she expects hers to be one of the top targeted Senate seats when Republicans try to retake control of the Senate next year.

“I feel very, very good about my race,” Hagan said in a meeting with reporters and editors of The News and Observer. “I know I have to raise a lot of money. I know the opposition will be spending an incredible amount of money in our state. I won’t be able to counter that but I will certainly be prepared and put together a top notch team.”

She said that Republicans spent $40 million to try to defeat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio last year, suggesting a similar effort might be aimed at her in 2014.

Hagan said she would “be honored” to have President Obama campaign for her.

Hagan said she felt that North Carolina voters saw her as a moderate centered on finding ways to use government to help spur job creation; and as a hard-working senator who returned home every weekend; and who emphasized constituent services like the late Republican Sen. Jesse Helms. She said that she had held town hall meetings in all 100 counties, and had closed more than 26,000 constituent cases.

“I want to run on my record,” Hagan said. “I think my record speaks volumes.”

She made that comment when asked about whether she thought the legislature’s actions would be an issue, since one of her potential opponents is House Speaker Thom Tillis and another could be Senate leader Phil Berger. Of the two, Tillis is the only one who has said he will run; Berger is still considering.

Hagan, a former state senator for 10 years, said she strongly opposed some of the legislation passed by the Republican-controlled legislature including changes to the state’s election laws.

“I am appalled at some of the things that have taken place,” she said. “I hear about it each and every day that I go across North Carolina.”

She has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to look into what she called the “voter suppression law’” noting that it also cut five days off early voting, and allows out-of-precinct observers to protest a person’s right to vote.

Hagan called charges of voter fraud “a red herring.” In the past 10 years, there were two cases of fraud that would have been affected if a photo ID had been the law, Hagan said.

Turning down health care

The Associated Press reports that N.C. Rep. Robert Pittenger says he won’t participate in the health plan for members of Congress out of principle because it gives them subsidies for coverage under the federal health care overhaul law. The Charlotte Republican made the announcement at a town hall meeting in Matthews last week. AP reports that first-term congressman said he won’t accept the break those on Capitol Hill get from what he calls the “full impact of Obamacare.”

The subsidy is designed to help people pay for coverage obtained through health insurance exchanges that come online this fall. Pittenger said he’ll also help sponsor a bill prohibiting that subsidy to members of Congress. Pittenger was a real estate executive who already donates his congressional salary and pension to charities.

Stam supports Wake bond

One of the top Republican lawmakers in the state is supporting this fall’s $810 million Wake County school bond referendum.

State House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam, an Apex Republican, said Thursday he supports the bond. His district includes some of the fastest-growing areas in Wake that would get new school seats under the bond issue.

Stam said he wanted to make it clear that not all Republicans in Wake are against the bond referendum.

Stam’s position puts him at odds with the executive committee of the Wake County Republican Party, which voted 17-16 on Monday to oppose the school bond.

Several Wake Republicans are backing the school bond, including all four GOP members of the county board of commissioners and all three GOP members of the school board.

Staff writers Rob Christensen, John Frank and T. Keung Hui

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