North Carolina senator Kay Hagan’s admission that she skipped a hearing about the Islamic State to attend a campaign fundraiser threatens to waste the $42 million that Democrats have spent in this race to protect her candidacy and their Senate majority.
Two new polls show Republican state-house speaker Thom Tillis tied or leading Hagan, breaking a streak of 13 surveys that showed her with a small but steady lead.
Tillis leads 46 to 45, according to SurveyUSA, which showed Hagan leading 47–46 in September. High Point University shows the two candidates tied at 40, with libertarian Sean Haugh (whom voters saw during a debate with Hagan and Tillis last week) drawing 7 percent of the vote.
The polling data comes one week after Hagan admitted that she skipped a hearing on the threat of the Islamic State to attend a fundraiser. Tillis hammered her for that during their last debate. Local press has also focused on how the Hagan family has benefited from government spending programs that the senator supported, such as the 2009 stimulus.
“Our internals show that undecided voters are starting to break toward Thom Tillis, in large part because of Senator Hagan’s misplaced priorities and the negativity of her campaign,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring tells National Review Online. “Polls show North Carolinians are deeply concerned that as national security threats like ISIS emerged, Kay Hagan was asleep at the wheel. Thom Tillis is the only candidate in the race with a proven record of getting things done, unlike Senator Hagan who simply voted whichever way that Harry Reid and Barack Obama wanted her to.”
Republicans moved to capitalize on Hagan’s apparent weakness by spending $6 million on the race, bringing their total to $10 million. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent $16 million on the race. Including outside groups on both sides, Democrats enjoy an $18 million to $16 million advantage in spending in the last month of the election.