About three weeks ago, Alexis wrote about why Republican senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, might become locked in an unexpectedly tight race in North Carolina.
Since then, that has happened, with Republicans pouring over $9 million dollars into the race in recent weeks, $8 million from the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund and another $1 million from John Bolton’s super PAC. The infusion of money is a signal that the race between Burr, who is finishing up his second term, and his weak challenger, Deborah Ross, has unexpectedly become a key battleground for the GOP if it hopes to maintain control of the Senate.
For starters, Burr is facing headwinds on the ballot from both Republicans and Democrats. Not only is Hillary Clinton is leading in the state (the RealClearPolitics polling average has her up by about one point), but Republican governor Pat McCrory, also up for reelection, has taken a hit for bringing a legal challenge against the Obama administration’s dictum on transgender bathrooms.
Burr is a workhorse, which is why a lot of Republicans like him, but he doesn’t love campaigning and hasn’t done much of it even though his lead has shrunk to less than three-points. More money is likely to flow into the state between now and election day to preserve his seat, but it’s a race to watch.