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National Republicans are trumpeting their chances at taking control of the U.S. Senate in a new political memo outlining the 2014 elections at the same time a political analyst questions whether House Speaker Thom Tillis is a strong enough candidate to beat North Carolina's Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.

Pat Caddell, a Fox News political analyst, said in a Sunday political program that North Carolina is an example of the national Republican "candidate recruitment problem." Caddell, a Democrat, argued that Hagan should be the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent facing re-election this year, but Republicans have "a very weak candidate so far."

In his remarks, Caddell didn't even mention Tillis by name, adding that "no one wants to run in North Carolina." Another panel member, John LeBoutillier, a Republican analyst, echoed the concern about candidate recruitment by the GOP. - News & Observer, 7/22/13

I'm actually going to have to agree with a Fox News analyst on this one.  

More below the fold.

Tillis has not been getting a lot of great press lately:

It was that pressure that brought him to Charlotte last month for a fundraiser at Myers Park Country Club. While he was on the road to Charlotte, the House he presides over was vigorously debating an abortion-related bill.

Besides missing important House business, Tillis’ moonlighting has the look of the pay-to-play politics that Republicans decried among Democrats for so long. A superPAC for Tillis raised $70,000 from George A. Sywassink, R. Doyle Parrish and W.G. Champion Mitchell, newly released records show. Tillis’ House named all three to the UNC Board of Governors recently, including Sywassink after declaring there had been a vote-tallying error the first time around.

State law bars legislators from raising money from lobbyists during the legislative session, but the ban doesn’t apply to federal candidates like Tillis. So he can attend a fundraiser hosted by Royce Everette, a major consumer finance lender, days after the legislature approved a bill raising interest rates and fees for Everette’s industry.

He has shown he can’t give his undivided attention to the N.C. House and the U.S. Senate at the same time. He should give up his Speaker’s gavel, resign from his House seat and give his full energy to his Senate bid, unencumbered by such distractions as running the state. - Charlotte Observer, 7/18/13

Here's a little more info about the three new board members of UNC:

W.G. Champion Mitchell told the newspaper his $25,000 contribution had nothing to do with his recent appointment to the university’s governing board.

“I want to see him be our next senator,” said Mitchell, who also sits on the super PAC’s board.

R. Doyle Parrish, a Raleigh hotel and restaurant owner, was the only registered Democrat whom the House appointed to the UNC board. Parrish is also on the super PAC board and gave $20,000, according to federal campaign finance reports.

The House also chose George A. Sywassink of Hilton Head Island, S.C., who owns Standard Holding Co., which owns a Charlotte commercial freight company. The company contributed $25,000 to Tillis’ super PAC.

Sywassink said he has been a long-time supporter of Tillis and also said his appointment had nothing to do with his contribution.

“I happen to think Thom Tillis would do a very good job as a senator,” Sywassink said. “That’s all I have to say.” - Asheville Citizen-Times, 7/18/13

And with all this bad press, Tillis could have a hard time securing his party's nominee:

A crowded primary field could deplete resources and make it harder for the little-known GOP candidates to introduce themselves to voters before the general election onslaught of negative advertising kicks in.

Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the GOP’s struggles in North Carolina have created a “really helpful dynamic” for Hagan.

“Republicans don’t have their act together, and Sen. Hagan has clearly built an incredibly strong organization, made some incredible hires, raised tremendous resources,” said Canter.

“Republicans don’t have a candidate yet and may not have a candidate for a very long time, and whoever the candidate is going to be is going to have to spend a long time pandering to the far right to get over their primary hurdle.”

Hagan’s campaign is confident it can help boost her image as an independent as the campaign wears on.

“North Carolinians know that Kay is on their side, working every day to give their values a voice in Washington,” said Preston Elliott, Hagan’s campaign manager. - The Hill, 7/18/13

Not to mention Tillis is the face of the North Carolina GOP and Art Pope's radical right-wing agenda which is why he now trails Senator Kay Hagan (D. NC) by double digits:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan speaks at James Martin Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, July 7, 2008. Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, was scheduled to appear but his plane was diverted to St. Louis this morning after the pilot reported a mechanical problem. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the incredible unpopularity of the North Carolina legislature may be Kay Hagan though. Voters are still pretty evenly divided in their feelings about her personally, with 43% approving to 45% disapproving. But she nevertheless has double digit leads over all 8 of her potential Republican opponents, an improvement from the numbers she's posted over the last couple months. She's up 10 on Phil Berger and Greg Brannon at 49/39, 11 on Thom Tillis at 49/38, 12 on Virginia Foxx at 49/37, 13 on Jim Cain and Renee Ellmers at 49/36, 14 on Mark Harris at 49/35, and 15 on Lynn Wheeler at 49/34.

As usual there are a lot more undecided Republicans in these match ups than there are Democrats, likely owing to the fact that most of the GOP hopefuls aren't terribly well known yet. The only potential candidate with over 50% name recognition is Foxx. Once Republicans eventually settle on someone and voters become more familiar with them the race will tighten up- but it's certainly good news for Hagan that she's so close to 50%. - PPP, 7/17/13

So it's no wonder analysts would consider Tillis a weak candidate.  But as vulnerable of a candidate Tillis might be, he will still be heavily finance by Pope, ALEC, the Koch Brothers and every other right-wing Super PAC.  The GOP wants Hagan's seat and they'll spend big to lie and distort her image.  But while Tillis is off focusing on a higher office, Hagan is looking out for homeless veterans:

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan announced today that vital financial support is coming to North Carolina to tackle the homeless veterans crisis. Organizations across the state will receive nearly $6 million in homeless prevention grants to serve nearly 2,400 North Carolina homeless or at-risk veteran families. Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry will receive $737,000 to serve approximately 300 participant households in 26 counties in western North Carolina.

“North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the country, and I’m committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to support our servicemembers when they return home,” said Hagan, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats. “Veterans account for 13 percent of the nation’s homeless population, and these grant awards will help us get our veterans back on their feet during tough times.”

The funds are distributed through the Veterans Affairs Department's Support Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. The SSVF program aims to improve housing stability for low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing. Nearly 90 percent of the veterans who completed the program in 2012 transitioned to permanent housing. - Mountain Xpress, 7/19/13

She's also been looking out for North Carolina's infrastructure:

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan announced Monday that Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro is receiving a $4.3 million grant to reimburse a recently built runway.

The reimbursement is for the recent construction of runway 5L-23R and associated taxiways, the construction of connector taxiway “F,” the extension of taxiway “K,” and land acquisition.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration. - WGHP Fox 8, 7/22/13

And she's also teamed up with the Democratic Governor's Association to go after Governor Pat McCrory (R. NC) and the NC GOP's War On Women:
Jan 27, 2009 - Washington, DC, United States - Sen. KAY R. HAGAN  (Newscom TagID: zumawirewestphotos815374)     [Photo via Newscom]
I am shocked.

Lawmakers in North Carolina are elected to represent the interests of all North Carolinians. But in the past few weeks, public officials here have been actively trying to reduce women’s access to critical health services, even potentially forcing the closure of health clinics.

Elected officials should protect and serve the people who put their trust in us. It’s disturbing that North Carolina officials are doing exactly the opposite.

Join me and the DGA and call on North Carolina elected officials to do the right thing and protect women’s health:

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a news conference, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Raleigh, N.C. In one of his first acts as governor, McCrory issued an executive order to repeal the nonpartisan judicial nominating commission established by former Gov. Bev Perdue. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Takaaki Iwabu)
North Carolina politicians first tried to pass this legislation by sneaking it into a totally unrelated bill, without any public notice. The underhanded tactics they’ve used are shameful — and so is what will happen to access to women’s health care across the state if officials here pass this bill into law.

Out-of-touch politicians have no business trying to shut down clinics that provide vital health care services to women. But that’s what’s happening right now.

They’re trying to turn back the clock. But we can stop them if we act immediately.

Stand with women across North Carolina. Click here now to add your voice to our petition to safeguard women’s health:

Thanks for speaking out. Together, we can put a stop to these vicious attacks on women’s health care.


You can click here to sign Hagan's petition:

And you can click here if you want to get involved with Hagan's 2014 re-election campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 09:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Abortion, Pro Choice, Sex, Body, and Gender, Sluts, DKos Asheville, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, and RaceGender DiscrimiNATION.

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