#NCSEN: race already starting to look like one for #NCGA

legislatureWe had all hoped for this campaign to be about punishing Kay Hagan for her cooperation with Barry Obama and Harry Reid in the enactment of ObamaCare and the accompanying destruction of the US economy.  Instead, it looks like we’re going to hear about what Hagan did or did not do while serving in Raleigh nearly a decade ago, and what Thom Tillis has been doing there since January 2011.  Check this out from the liberal Daily Beast:

Political campaigns always have an ideal opponent in mind—an elected official with a long record to attack and no money to spend.

In North Carolina’s Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, Democrats think they have found half of an ideal opponent for Sen. Kay Hagan’s race for reelection: a well-funded, Chamber of Commerce-, Karl Rove-, and NRA-approved political veteran who presides over North Carolina’s headline-grabbing state House. […]

But, but, but — I thought Speaker Thom was THE ONE that Kay Hagan and the Democrats DID NOT want to face in the general election !!!  (At least, that’s what all of those Raleigh-based talking heads kept telling us during the primary.) Wait, there’s MORE

“There are an awful lot of unaffiliated voters and even Republicans who have been repulsed by this general assembly,” said Randy Voller, chairman of the North Carolina state Democratic Party. As evidence, Voller pointed to the weekly Moral Monday protests of the assembly’s legislative agenda that led to nearly 1,000 arrests at the Capitol during the last legislative session. “If you can take the anger and energy from that movement and turn it into action at the ballot box, that’s how Kay Hagan will win.”hagan

To Voller’s point, a recent Elon University poll showed the North Carolina general assembly with just a 27 percent approval rating, compared to 49 percent who disapprove.

“I don’t think it’s surprising to see a legislative body with such low approval ratings, but what is surprising is to see one so consistently down that hasn’t bounded back up when they’re not in session,” said Dr. Kenneth Fernandez, the director of the Elon poll. “You look at the governor, the president, Congress, everyone seems to have bottomed out and are now picking up a little bit. We didn’t see that with the state legislature.”

Fernandez said Elon’s polling showed Tillis with triple the name identification of his GOP primary rivals, in part because of his high profile as House speaker.[…] 

Tillis’ recent announcement that he plans to keep the speaker’s gavel through the end of the year guarantees that the North Carolina General Assembly will come under the national microscope and become a major issue in the Senate race.  The Daily Beast article mentions Hagan’s 35 percent approval rating, but — in surveys conducted during the primary — Tillis’ personal favorability ratings were not far off that mark either.

John Drescher’s shih-tzu has more today about how Jones Street will figure in to the race for US Senate:

Instead of talking Washington, Republican Thom Tillis and Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan launched the U.S. Senate race Wednesday with attacks on each other’s state legislative records.

A day after winning the Republican primary, Tillis criticized Hagan’s five terms in the state Senate more than her five years in the U.S. Senate, saying she added sales taxes and regulations in her tenure as a state budget writer.tillis listen

He called it a clear contrast with his record since he became House speaker in 2011, touting tax-cutting legislation under the Republican leadership and efforts to ease rules on businesses.

“If you take a look at what we’ve done over the last three years, much of what I’ve been doing is cleaning up Kay Hagan’s mess in North Carolina,” Tillis said in an interview on MSNBC.

Hagan, in turn, blasted Tillis’ legislative record by pointing to a comment he made in October 2011 that suggested the state needed to “find a way to divide and conquer” those most in need from others who receive public assistance.

She used it to add weight to her criticism of the Republican legislative agenda that cut money for teaching assistants and benefits for unemployed workers.

“We should be working together to improve people’s lives, not pitting people against each other with the politics of division,” Hagan said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Speaker Tillis’ comment is not an isolated incident, and more than anything, his damaging legislative agenda that has been wrong for our state shows that his comments were no mistake.”

In the TV interview, Tillis said he regretted the word choice but stood by his assertion of waste and abuse in public assistance programs. “When we explain what we are talking about, I believe the citizens of North Carolina agree with it,” he said.

Likewise, Hagan’s campaign pushed back against Tillis’ statement about her state Senate record, saying she pushed against her own party at times to advocate tax cuts in 2006 and 2007, the two years before winning her U.S. Senate seat. […]

What’s really ironic about all of this is that Tillis had to be dragged kicking and screaming toward a lot of these accomplishments the lefties are hollering about.  He wasn’t really excited about resisting ObamaCare and refusing the federal money to set up a health care exchange.  He led efforts to water down the attempted repeal of The Racial Justice as well as several pieces of state election reform legislation.  Tillis fought efforts to expand the state’s concealed-carry laws, and pushed through — despite a gubernatorial veto — legislation that weakened E-verify requirements for combating illegal immigration.