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So Senator Kay Hagan (D. NC) made two bold moves recently.  First, she came out for marriage equality, which political commentators believed was a big risk:

Hagan’s position carries political risks. She was elected in 2008 on the day that Obama won North Carolina by just 14,000 votes, marking the first victory for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1976. But North Carolina was the only battleground state Obama lost last year to Mitt Romney on the way to reelection.

An Election Day exit poll conducted in November found that one-third of voters supported same-sex marriage.

Hagan believes religious institutions should not have to conduct same-sex marriages if that is inconsistent with their religious beliefs.

“I think as a civil institution, this issue’s time has come and we need to move forward,” Hagan said. “The fabric of North Carolina and what makes our state so special is our families and our common desire for a brighter future for our children. No matter what your family looks like, we all want the same thing for our families: happiness, health, prosperity, a bright future for our children.” - Boston Globe, 3/28/13

Her most recent risky move was to back universal background checks which carry political consequences in North Carolina:

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan plans to support a bipartisan measure calling for expanded background checks.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr will oppose it, a spokesman said.

The Senate could vote as early as Tuesday on an amendment crafted by U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat. The amendment would extend background checks to buyers at gun shows and other commercial settings.

On Tuesday, the group Grass Roots North Carolina plans to protest what it calls the senator's shift on the gun legislation.

The group said if Hagan votes for the measure, it “will advocate her defeat.” - Charlotte Observer, 4/16/13

Pretty big threat there, even though the Toomey-Manchin bill was defeated today.  So has Hagan's support for gay marriage and background checks caused her image to take a hit in the polls?  PPP begs to differ:

PPP's first poll of the North Carolina Senate race since Kay Hagan announced her support of gay marriage finds her approval numbers largely unaffected. 39% of voters approve of the job she's doing to 37% who disapprove, almost identical to a 42/39 spread a month ago

Our new poll finds Hagan isn't putting herself much at risk with North Carolina voters by supporting gun control laws either. 54% of voters in the state generally support Congress passing stricter gun laws to only 38% who are opposed, and they're supportive of an assault weapons ban in particular 52/40. Additionally Project New America released polling today showing 79% support for expanding background checks.

Hagan continues to lead all of her potential Republican opponents for next year by margins ranging from 5-13 points. The strongest GOP candidate this month- both for the general election and among Republican primary voters- is Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry. 18% say they'd like her to be their candidate next year compared to 13% for Virginia Foxx, 12% for Renee Ellmers, 11% for Phil Berger, 7% for Thom Tillis, 6% for Greg Brannon, and 1% for Terry Embler. Berry is particularly strong with moderate Republicans and younger ones- among those under 45 she gets 38% support with no one else even in double digits. - PPP, 4/17/13

This is good to hear that these votes haven't hurt her standing with the voters.  If you understood how much control the Pope Foundation has control over the North Carolina GOP, you would understand how big of a battle Hagan is in next year.  You can read about it here:

Plus her support for marriage equality actually gave her a boost in fundraising:

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) received a fundraising boost Thursday from the group LGBT Democrats of North Carolina following her endorsement of gay marriage a day earlier.

The group's initial fundraising target of $1,000 for Hagan was surpassed in five hours, so the goal was raised to $2,500, Matt Comer of Q Notes reported. As of Thursday evening, the effort had pulled in $2,128.

Hagan, up for reelection in 2014, announced her support for marriage equality on Wednesday.

"I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions," Hagan said in an interview with the Raleigh, N.C., newspaper News & Observer. "But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today." - Huffington Post, 3/38/13

Even in red states like North Carolina where the Tea Party rules the local government, Hagan proved that Democrats like herself can still maintain decent numbers after backing issues like gun control and gay marriage.  Now PPP also showed that Hagan would be in a better spot this time to support another issue that might be considered controversial:
One other Hagan related issue- 45% of North Carolinians support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants to 40% who are opposed to it. With the public that closely divided on the issue supporting reform is not likely to cause her any political damage. - PPP, 4/17/13
Hagan voted against the DREAM Act in 2010.  PPP shows that she has a chance to redeem herself on this issue.  Please contact Hagan's office and let her know you support comprehensive immigration reform that contains a pathway to citizenship:


Originally posted to pdc on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 04:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Shut Down the NRA, North Carolina BLUE, LatinoKos, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, LGBT Kos Community, and Milk Men And Women.

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