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Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC, right, a member of the House Rules Committee, speaks with House Budget Committee member Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, left, before he testifies on the so-called
PPP did their monthly poll of the 2014 North Carolina U.S. Senate Race and there's some new developments mixed with some old news.  First off, the new stuff.  Senator Kay Hagan (D. NC) for the first time in months finds herself tied with one potential GOP candidate:

For the first time in our polling of the 2014 Senate race Kay Hagan doesn't lead all of her challengers. Cherie Berry pulls even with her at 45%, owing in large part to a 56/36 advantage with independents.  She has a +9 net favorability rating at 29/20 and pulls off the unusual feat of being viewed positively by Republicans (33/22), Democrats (29/19), and independents (25/21) alike. - PPP, 5/2/13
Here's a little background info on North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry:

The study, by the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health, says that many more North Carolina workers die on the job than the state is reporting - up to three times more - and that too many workers in the state are dying "needless deaths" as a result of poor safety enforcement. Apparently, Berry "fixes" the problem by simply underreporting the number of work-related fatalities. Not exactly the kind of thing on which to base a Senate run.

At times, Berry has been so blatantly pro-business - declaring that her job is to make things easier for companies to "do business" in North Carolina, and calling for an end of a statewide minimum wage - critics have openly wondered whether she even understands what her job entails.

Making things even worse for Berry is the fact that the council's report is hardly the first time she's been caught coming up short in doing the job of a normal labor commissioner.

In 2010, a U.S. Labor Dept. audit found that North Carolina largely ignored serious safety problems, handed out weak fines to violators, and mishandled whistleblower complaints. - Creative Loafing Charlotte, 5/1/13

Don't worry, Hagan still leads all other GOP candidates including Art Pope's top picks, State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R. NC) and State Senate pro tem Phil Berger (R. NC):

Kay Hagan vs. Phil Berger: 46/42

Kay Hagan vs. Mark Harris: 46/40

Kay Hagan vs. Jim Cain: 48/41

Kay Hagan vs. Thom Tillis: 48/41

Kay Hagan vs. Virginia Foxx: 49/42

Kay Hagan vs. Renee Ellmers: 48/39

Kay Hagan vs. Lynn Wheeler: 48/37

Hagan has decent approval ratings this month at 46/40.

Now the old news is Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R. NC-5) is the flavor of the month again for North Carolina Republican voters:

PPP's monthly look at next year's race for the US Senate in North Carolina finds Virginia Foxx back at the top of the Republican wish list for their candidate. 15% say she's their pick to 14% for Cherie Berry, 10% each for Phil Berger and Renee Ellmers, 7% for Greg Brannon, 6% for Thom Tillis, 4% for Jim Cain, and 3% each for Mark Harris and Lynn Wheeler.

Foxx also has the highest net favorability of the potential GOP contenders with Republican primary voters at +15 (34/19). Others with positive numbers are Berry at +10 (31/21), Ellmers at +8 (23/15), and Tillis at +3 (21/18). Foxx leads the GOP field based on her strength with conservatives and voters in the Triad, while Berry does well with moderates and young Republicans. - PPP, 5/22/13

It's funny, Art Pope and the Koch Brothers spent a fortune to help the GOP take over North Carolina and yet neither of their two preferred candidates, Tillis and Berger, are the preferred candidates of GOP voters.  Also if both men decide to run for the nominee in a crowded field, this could very well mirror the Wisconsin 2012 GOP Senate primary.  Pope having two dogs in this race could split GOP voters and help a wild card squeak out a victory.  Berry could be that wild card.  I expect this race to get tighter, especially since Pope, the Kochs and ALEC start pouring in money for attack ads.  Hagan knows she's in for tough and tight race and she's getting ready.  I'm optimistic about her chances because Hagan has Preston Elliott as her campaign manager.  Elliott ran both Harry Reid's 2010 Senate campaign and Jon Tester's 2012 Senate campaign so he knows a thing or two about running campaigns in expensive and tight races.  If you would like to donate or get involved with Hagan's campaign, you can do so here:
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., hosts

Originally posted to pdc on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE, In Support of Labor and Unions, and DKos Asheville.

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