With a low-interest, high-stakes race, much is riding on the first debate Tuesday evening among the four top U.S. Senate candidates.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect.
“With the few weeks we have left and all of them are pretty ideologically similar to each other ... it’s kind of an open game because it’s so undecided right now,” said Michael Bitzer, a state political expert at Catawba College.
Tillis leads his seven rivals in fundraising and in the polls, but he can’t seem to get the 40 percent needed to avoid a July 15 runoff. The debates also come the week after Democrats hit Tillis with attack ads detailing a sex scandal in his legislative office involving two top staffers who had extramarital affairs with lobbyists and the nearly $20,000 severance payments he authorized.
David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University in Raleigh, put it more bluntly. “It’s sort of like watching a prize fight – who can score the most in their attacks on Thom Tillis,” he said.
“I think really their goal is to be in a runoff with Tillis,” Taylor said. “So you’ve got to try to differentiate yourself from Tillis, undermine Tillis’ support so he can be under 40 percent, but do so in a deft enough way that you emerge as the alternative.” Read more here.
*** Read about a McCrory administration official’s ties to a big donation in the Senate race and why a tea party organization endorsed Thom Tillis – all below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr will address a state legislative committee looking at the Affordable Care Act, as the partisan-leaning effort takes its show on the road. The Republican-led committee is highlighting problems with the federal health care law as U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan seeks re-election and Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis mounts a challenge.
The panel will meet at 10 a.m. at the Elliot University Center Auditorium on the campus of UNC-Greensboro. The lawmakers started their study in March by hearing from a Duke University professor who has denounced President Barack Obama as a fascist. In addition to Burr, a health care law critic who is pitching an alternative plan, the panel will hear from NFIB, an organization that opposes the law, the N.C. Association of Health Underwriters and Guy Pierce, the owner of Assisted Living Homes.
The moderator is Tim Boyum at Time Warner Cable News. The panelists asking questions: Loretta Boniti of TWC News, Lynn Bonner, of The News & Observer and Taylor Batten of the Charlotte Observer.
The candidates are expected to be available in a “spin room” after the debate.
The executive committee endorsed N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis for the Republican primary, group president Thomas Kern said. Tillis spoke at a group meeting April 10. ...
Dr. Greg Brannon, another candidate vying for the Republican nomination, falsely claimed the Catawba Valley group’s backing, Kern said. ... “We never had even discussed endorsements or anything, and he never retracted that,” Kern said. “The fact that he didn’t retract that diminished his credibility to us.” [Brannon was endorsed by iCaucus, a tea party group that was once affilated with the Catawba Valley Tea Party.] Read more here.
As reported by the Sunlight Foundation, an open government watchdog, the donation came in February and represented one of the month’s biggest donations, though it is hard to track.
The money came from LMD Properties. The address listed in the Crossroads filings shares an address with New Breed Corp., whose chairman and CEO is Louis DeJoy, Wos’ husband.
Wos and DeJoy are major Republican donors and gave big to President George W. Bush. Wos served as an ambassador to Estonia in the Bush administration. A key player in Crossroads is Karl Rove, who served as a political strategist in the Bush White House.
LMD Properties, formed in 1998, does not disclose its owners in corporate filings, Sunlight reported, and did not respond to calls. This is its first donation to a federal campaign committee, the website reported. Read more here.
Tillis is running in a primary this spring. So is Kay Hagan, the incumbent Democratic U.S. senator whom he hopes to eventually unseat. ...
Hagan is running against Tillis. That is his problem. Tillis is having to fend off both his primary opponents and Hagan before he can ever get to a general election campaign. Read more here.
Ellmers says that’s not “amnesty” or any special “path to citizenship.” But Roche argues that it is. The Randolph Tea Party recently agreed and endorsed him, saying the group opposed “amnesty or any other path for legalization of illegal immigrants.”
Roche wants a sharp reduction in legal immigration – just enough people to meet the needs of industries that depend on immigrant labor. He also calls for an end to multilingual government communications and to access to education and medical care for illegal immigrants. Read more here.
The campaign refused to release details about the spot, except to say it is running in Raleigh and Greensboro, making it impossible to verify it is running or gauge its effectiveness.
The 30-second ad also does not include citations to support claims that she passed “a small business bill that’s creating thousands of North Carolina jobs.” The ad starts by saying she’s working to “repeal and replace” the federal health care law. See the ad here.
The Maine Republican Party will aim to put its best foot forward. Unity is the theme of the convention: “United for Jobs, United for Freedom, United for Maine.” Read more here.
Pittenger, 65, faces Mike Steinberg in a rematch of sorts. In 2012, the two were among 11 Republicans who battled for the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick.
Steinberg, who finished seventh, vows this time will be different. Read more here.
The political action committee of N.C. NARAL, an abortion rights organization, announced Monday it is endorsing Rep. Pricey Harrison and Sen. Gladys Robinson in their primary elections. Pricey Harrison and Gladys Robinson have a strong record of standing with NC women and families. We are confident they will continue to support policies that promote women’s health and keep politicians out of women’s personal, private reproductive health care decisions,” said Suzanne Buckley, the organization’s executive director.
An informal poll of some of those lawmakers by the StarNews drew mixed reaction to the incentive program that expires at the end of this year. Read more here.
The public school, voucher debate alive in Asheville. Read more here.
A look at the Democratic primary in Senate District 8 race to challenge Sen. Bill Rabon. Read more here.