Daily dose

Daily Dose: Tholl Road Thom edition

Tillis donors could make millions from toll lanes (WCNC-TV) -- Toll lanes on I-77 – the DOT says they're coming – but many voters don't like them. A group of big time campaign contributors to Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis stands to make millions from your tax dollars tied to the toll lanes. There have been protests and organized opposition from a group called Widen I-77 as well as from some local elected officials in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mooresville. Thom Tillis supports the toll lanes. He has for years. In a May 2011 televised interview on Carolina Business Review, Tillis told interviewer Steve Crump, "I think we have to take a serious look at toll roads…we don't have enough money coming in for the needs we have." Now the NBC Charlotte I-Team has documented that a group of big time Tillis campaign contributors stands to make millions from your tax dollars tied to the toll lanes. This story all starts with a prime piece of Cornelius real estate called Augustalee.

Daily dose: Highway robbery edition

Berger campaign changes NC voter ID ad (AP) — Senate leader Phil Berger's campaign on Wednesday changed a television commercial highlighting his role in passing a photo identification requirement to vote in North Carolina after it became the subject of an elections complaint.

Berger's campaign backtracks and modifies challenged ad (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The campaign of Senate leader Phil Berger has decided to modify a re-election ad running on TV after the North Carolina NAACP complained it misled voters and could harm turnout at the polls this November. But a spokesman for the Eden Republican on Wednesday maintained the complaint, which the NAACP filed this week with the State Board of Elections, was off-base, erroneous and was at its core just a publicity move.

Koch-funded TV spots slam Hagan on health-care, VA reform (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A Koch brothers-funded super PAC, formed this year to direct more than $15 million to help free-market candidates in the midterm elections, is launching two TV ads against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

Gov. Haley invades NC to help Tillis (AP) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is crossing the border to help campaign for fellow Republican and North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis.

Christie Wades Into Fight for Senate (Wall Street Journal) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has expanded his role in campaigning for Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, further testing his national appeal in races where the stakes are legislative control of Washington. …. Mr. Christie traveled to North Carolina to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis. In March, Mr. Christie headlined a fundraiser for Terri Lynn Land, a Michigan Republican running for Senate. The effort to tip the balance of the Senate represents an expansion of Mr. Christie's work for other Republican governors, as he considers a run for president in 2016. Mr. Christie has traveled to 28 states this year as Republican Governors Association chairman to stump with gubernatorial candidates. The campaigning could further increase his visibility and viability as Mr. Christie seeks to overcome the George Washington Bridge scandal, political analysts said. The Senate contests are marquee match-ups in a year when Republicans could wrest control of Congress for the first time since 2006, and they have largely overshadowed the gubernatorial contests, said Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University.

Christie and Tillis inside, protesters outside (Lumina News) -- When asked whether he would change his strategy in reaching women voters with his opponent, current U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, polling better among that demographic, Republican Thom Tillis said he would stay the course. “I think we have to stay focused on what Kay Hagan has failed to do and the promises that she has broken,” Tillis said. “Kay Hagan said she was going to go to Washington and be different but she has become part of the Washington establishment.” While Gov. Christie said he was excited about visiting with the protestors gathered outside the front of the restaurant, he and Tillis worked their way through the restaurant meeting supporters before exiting through the rear entrance around 11 a.m.

NC court candidates talk experience, fairness (AP) — Candidates for the North Carolina Supreme Court are discussing their differences on experience and fairness and the effect outside money has on appellate races.

Daily dose: Citizens United Unleashed edition

Hagan holds steady lead in N.C. Senate race (Public Policy Polling) -- Kay Hagan continues to lead by 4 points, with 44% to 40% for Thom Tillis and 5% for Libertarian Sean Haugh. Haugh's impact on the race is waning- since June his support has dropped from 11% now down to this 5% standing. He's also no longer disproportionately drawing supporters away from Tillis- when Haugh's supporters are reallocated to who they would choose between Hagan and Tillis, Hagan continues to hold a 4 point lead at 46/42. Hagan's image is improving some as the election nears.

Heated Battle for Senate Draws Deluge of Outside Group Ads, Dark Money (Wesleyan Media Project) --With prognosticators giving even odds that Republicans will take over the U.S. Senate after this November’s elections, outside groups are taking notice. Almost 52 percent of ads aired in favor of Republican candidates have been sponsored by interest groups, and that figure is 40 percent on the Democratic side. Groups have spent an estimated $97 million on advertising in Senate races this election cycle, which is up from the estimated $78 million spent to this point in the 2012 election cycle. While the volume of Democratic advertising trails the volume of Republican advertising somewhat in races for the Senate, the disparity in the volume of advertising is stark in U.S. House races, where Democrats are being trounced by Republicans. … The race with the highest number of advertisements is in North Carolina, where incumbent Kay Hagen and challenger Thom Tillis face off. Over 44,000 ads, at an estimated cost of $25.2 million, have aired. Remarkably, 80 percent of the ad airings were sponsored by outside groups. It is a pattern that repeats in many of the most competitive Senate races: Interest groups sponsored the majority of the advertising.

Daily dose

Polls show Hagan building a lead over Tillis (Greensboro News & Record) -- Republican challenger Thom Tillis lags behind U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as their race moves into its final leg, according to two polls released Monday.

New polls show Hagan widening lead (WRAL-TV) -- Two polls released Monday show Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan opening up a lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis.

NC survey shows Hagan with narrow US Senate lead (AP) -- A survey of North Carolina likely voters shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan holding a narrow lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis roughly two months from Election Day.

Elon Poll gives Hagan lead, shows gender gap -- Results (Elon Poll) Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has opened a four-point lead over her challenger in the November elections, according to the latest Elon University Poll. Hagan leads Thom Tillis, the Republican speaker of North Carolina’s House of Representatives, by a 45-41 margin among likely voters. Nine percent of likely voters said they plan to support another candidate, and 5 percent are undecided on their vote. FULL RESULTS:

Daily dose: Monday madness edition

Independent groups aim to help Democratic legislative candidates (AP) — Groups in the shadow of traditional campaigns are poised to once again attempt to influence North Carolina General Assembly races through ads and mailers bought with millions of dollars largely from companies and politically-minded organizations.

New poll shows Hagan widening to 9 point lead (WRAL-TV) -- Raleigh polling firm American Insights is rolling out a new poll Monday that shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has a 9 percentage point lead among likely voters over Republican challenger Thom Tillis. This poll is the latest in a string showing Hagan gaining ground in the campaign. Of likely voters surveyed, 43 percent said they would back Hagan, 34 percent said they backed Tillis, the current state House speaker, and 5 percent backed Libertarian Sean Haugh. "The race has unmistakably shifted towards Sen. Hagan in recent days," said Pearce Godwin, insights director for American Insights. "This poll is a continuation and affirmation of the recent trend in her direction. But there is still a lot of time left on the clock, and I would not be surprised if this volatile race shifts back to a jump ball between now and November."

Daily dose: GOP bait-and-switch edition

Ads take up education, contraceptive issues in US Senate race (Raleigh News & Observer) -- It’s rapidly reaching the season when it’s not safe to turn on your television, unless you dig political advertising. Friday was the day for both sides in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina to launch TV ads. First up was another spot by Carolina Rising, a nonprofit that has begun spending a lot of money on behalf of House Speaker Thom Tillis. The group’s Dallas Woodhouse says the ad buy is $1.3 million and will cover the state.

Wos: DHHS will build stability before expanding Medicaid (Winston-Salem Journal) -- “Soon.” The state’s health secretary, Aldona Wos, gave that one-word answer – filled with possibilities and ambiguities – when asked when she would recommend expanding the state Medicaid program to Gov. Pat McCrory.

Daily dose: Hagan takes lead, GOP mob calls in New Jersey big-shot to fix things

Poll shows Hagan pulling ahead of Tillis (Greensboro News & Record) -- Sen. Kay Hagan pulling ahead of N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis in the tight N.C. Senate race.

Christie to Campaign with Tillis in Wilmington on Tuesday (TWCN-TV) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will attend a rally and a private event in Wilmington on Tuesday to support U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis.

Daily dose: TGIFF edition

NC Senate candidates largely back more airstrikes (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger Thom Tillis largely support the plan President Barack Obama outlined to expand military airstrikes and help forces fight the Islamic State militant group.

Big Swing In N C. Improves Democrats . (FiveThirtyEight) -- Republican chances of winning back the Senate fell below 60 percent Thursday, dropping about 4 percentage points to 58.2 percent, thanks to several good polls for Democrats in North Carolina and Colorado. Republicans are still favored to pick up six seats they don’t hold currently, and that would still lead to a GOP-controlled Senate. But Republicans are left with little room for error, and the race in Kansas becomes even more crucial. In North Carolina, a Rasmussen Reports poll found Democrat Kay Hagan ahead of Republican Thom Tillis 45 percent to 39 percent. Tillis had led in the previous Rasmussen survey by 5 percentage points. Another North Carolina poll released Thursday, bySurveyUSA, gave Hagan a 3-point lead (46 percent to 43 percent). The two polls together moved Hagan from a 45 percent underdog to a 61 percent percent favorite. With Hagan now leading, theFiveThirtyEight model does not project a single state in which President Obama won in either 2008 or 2012 to switch from Democratic to Republican control.

Daily Dose: Voter suppression edition

Watchdog group says election changes harming voters (WRAL-TV) -- With the voter registration deadline for the November elections one month away, voting watchdog group Democracy North Carolina says it's already found hundreds of cases in which last year's changes to state election laws prevented voters from casting ballots.

454 NC voters had ballots rejected in May primary, advocacy group says (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Democracy North Carolina's review of State Board of Election records from the May primary found 454 ballots were rejected because of election law changes enacted by the General Assembly in 2013.

NC pols agree on Islamic State threat, not timing (McClatchy Newspapers) -- Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis and incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan on Wednesday agreed with President Barack Obama that the Islamic State poses a grave threat to the United States, but Tillis harshly criticized the president and Hagan for not acting sooner. Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro who is in a close race with Tillis, stressed the threat from the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, and said that “their murder of two American journalists is an attack on America and our values.” “We must respond, and we will respond, by taking immediate, sustained and decisive action,” Hagan said. She added that she started to press the administration to arm moderate Syrian rebels last spring, “and I am glad that effort will be accelerated. “The president and our military leadership have now developed a plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels and defeat ISIS with a sustained campaign of airstrikes,” Hagan said, adding the effort must be carried out with allies and other Arab states and not by the United States alone. Tillis said the Islamic State was “growing stronger each day because of President Obama’s failed foreign policy and lack of leadership.”


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