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Commentary: Tillis Wins Senate Race

The most vilified U.S. Senate candidate in America wins, while the most vilified state lawmaker in Western North Carolina loses.

First, the U.S. Senate race

In a surprise upset, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) beat incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. There was no other candidate in a U.S. Senate race that had more money dumped on them than Tillis.

It was the most expensive Senate race in American history, and the Republican challenger bore the brunt of that funding.

Of course that doesn’t include the media coverage he got from the NC media establishment—that seemed all to happy to make the race a referendum on state education funding instead of national concerns.

The News & Observer edited a video to hide protests against Hagan after sitting on an explosive story that she skipped a classified hearing on ISIS to attend a Park Avenue fundraiser.

The Charlotte Observer pulled a damaging story about Hagan and refused to explain why.

WRAL celebrated poor debate performances by Hagan.

Despite the money and the media, Tillis won.

Why?

As ABC News reports, low Democratic voter turnout and her close alignment with President Obama—who has an unpopularity rating nearly equal to George W. Bush’s.

  • Just 36 percent of those voting are Democrats, the fewest in North Carolina Senate exit polls since 1984 and down from 42 percent when Kay Hagan (D) was elected in 2008. The number of independents is at 30 percent — the highest level on record.
  • While 38 percent of voters are very worried about the economy, that’s down 15 points from 2008.
  • 51 percent think Kay Hagan (D) agrees with Barack Obama too often, but 43 percent also say her opponent, Thom Tillis (R), is too conservative.

In other words, it was dissatisfaction with the President and the state of the economy that did Hagan in.

This might come as a shock… but abortions and birth control access were not motivating issues for voters.

And with historic gains among GOP women last night, I suspect the “War on Women” stupidity might finally be put to rest.

Progressives smite the evil Moffitt

North Carolina House District 116 Republican Tim Moffitt has long been the focus of Democrats’ loathing and rage. Moffitt, for his part, has often enjoyed tweaking Asheville Progressives.

There were a lot of people really motivated to vote him out. Even those who could not vote in the race were happy to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Brian Turner unseat him.

They got a large bit of help from the leftwing environmental group The League of Conservation Voters.

The N.C. League of Conservation Voters, the political arm of the state’s environmental movement, says it is spending $515,000 to air television advertisements criticizing state Reps. Tim Moffitt, Michele Presnell and Nathan Ramsey.

The ads call the three “big utility buddies” for their votes on legislation affecting Duke Energy and the cleanup of its coal ash ponds and dumps.

Environmentalists say the coal ash legislation passed by the General Assembly in August preempted a more rapid response that would have come via the courts and the state regulatory process. They complain that it will be 2029 before some of Duke’s coal ash sites are cleaned up.

It should be noted, Duke Energy is a major donor to National Public Radio and paid millions of dollars to help the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte (where the energy giant is headquartered).

It should also be noted, Democrats routinely exempted coal ash ponds from state regulations when they controlled the General Assembly.

And, as a comparison, the cost of this ad buy was as roughly equivalent to the amount each of two candidates raised.

Rep. Nathan Ramsey says this barrage of negative advertising also led to his defeat in House District 115.

But in the end, I suspect Moffitt’s defeat had more to do with him than the funding deficit. Truth be told, he enjoyed politically provoking Asheville leftists.

And they were able to mobilize against him. In the end he lost by 963 votes, or 3.78 percent of the vote.

But that was more than enough.

Originally posted at Pete Kaliner’s blog.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

Categories: Commentary, Elections, Must Read, News, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

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