Will Stewart emerges as new opponent for Kay Hagan's Senate seat

While GOP candidates battle for the spot on the U.S. Senatorial ticket, incumbent N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan’s approval ratings remain low.

And now a new opponent to Hagan’s seat has emerged — from her own party.

Hagan’s approval rating remains at 41 percent to 50 percent who disapprove of her. This marks the fourth consecutive month she has seen an almost -10 percent net approval rate, according to Public Policy Polling , a left-leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Her new opponent Will Stewart, 31, is an information technology expert with no prior experience in politics.

“Frankly, I’m tired of looking at corporate politicians,” he said. “There’s not really anybody that’s representing the lower and middle class.”

Meanwhile, Republican Bill Flynn, a Winston-Salem radio host, has dropped out of the race.

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis continues to lead the pack, polling at 20 percent.

He is followed by Greg Brannon and Heather Grant who are both polling at 13 percent. Both candidates gained 2 percent from last month, according to PPP. Ted Alexander, former Shelby mayor, is polling at 10 percent.

Mark Harris, a Baptist pastor, and Edward Kryn, a former physician, trail behind.

Brannon, a gynecologist, is in court for a civil lawsuit, according to The (Raleigh) News & Observer.

Michael Cobb, professor of political science at N.C. State University, said it is not likely that Brannon’s campaign will be affected by the lawsuit.

“The only way that it would have any effect is if this is deemed to be some sort of political scandal that winds up receiving significant media coverage,” he said.

Grant, a nurse practitioner, said she’s reaching out to people by hosting events and talking with neighbors.

Dustin Ingalls, assistant to the director of PPP, said there is little interest among voters for GOP primary candidates.

“It doesn’t seem to be that exciting of a race,” he said.

He said candidates have trouble distinguishing themselves in the race because they are not spending money. Even Tillis, he said, has not spent much of his campaign finances.

Most of the money spent by special interest groups — especially right-leaning Americans for Prosperity — is going to attack ads against Hagan, Ingalls said.

“Once Hagan starts spending the hoards of cash she’s stockpiling once the primary is over, things will change,” he said.

Ingalls said it is difficult to stand out in a primary with so many candidates.

“Look at Ted Alexander and Edward Kryn who just got into the race last month,” he said. “Ted Alexander, I think for a lot of voters, just sounds like a generic white guy. He’s someone who’s Republican and he’s male and who’s not Kay Hagan, and that’s really all voters know about him now.”

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