NC Democrat Sen. Kay Hagen, who rode the Obama wave in 2008 to election, has drawn her first top-tier opponent for 2014. NC House Speaker Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who orchestrated the GOP take over of the chamber in 2010, announced on Friday he will challenge the first-term Democrat. His announcement is a big recruiting win for the GOP.
Last week, a poll from Democrat firm PPP revealed the challenge facing Hagen. While she holds single-digit leads over potential challenges, she doesn’t crack the 50% threshold that signals an incumbent well-positioned for reelection. Just 46% of voters approve of her job performance, while 40% disapprove. President Obama is 8 points upside down in the Tarheel State, with 45% approving and 53% disapproving of his job performance.
Although Obama won the state in 2008, he lost to Mitt Romney last year.
Tillis joins physician Greg Bannon, a Ron Paul supporter, in the GOP primary for the nomination. Reps. Renee Elmers and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) are also exploring runs. Although Tillis is little-known statewide, his office and experience should allow him to raise the funds necessary to introduce himself to voters.