The Republican from Cornelius has presided over the N.C. General Assembly with dismal approval ratings — but Kokai said the Senate race result shows that voters cast ballots based on their views of the Obama administration, making the contest less about Tillis’ record as a state lawmaker.
In response to a question about the massive sum of money poured into the race, Tillis said he thinks there should be more transparency within the realm of political contributions, though he doesn’t support additional caps on spending.
The majority of outside money spent in North Carolina benefited Hagan, with $35.6 million earmarked just to fund attack ads against Tillis.
After a tirade of name-calling and mudslinging during a campaign that hasn’t let up for 12 months straight, Tillis will be headed to Washington, D.C. next week as his transition to Congress begins.
“I think we need to prove to the American citizens that we can govern,” he said, citing a congressional gridlock that has stifled productivity and driven approval of Congress down to 14 percent nationwide.
Hagan has never had an easy time as a Democratic candidate, said Rob Schofield, policy director of N.C. Policy Watch.
“She also has always struggled as a result of the fact that she doesn’t elicit passion from the progressive base,” he said. “She sort of rode into office on the Obama wave in 2008, and the tide is kind of ebbing now.”
Republicans now hold at least 52 seats in the Senate — Louisiana’s race will be decided in a runoff election on Dec. 6 — and they also secured a larger majority in the House of Representatives, controlling as many as 249 out of 435 seats.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said during a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that Republicans’ investments in a new data-driven ground game helped spur the party to victories nationwide.
Raffi Williams, deputy press secretary for the Republican National Committee, said in an interview that the diversity of GOP candidates elected, several of them women and African Americans, reinforces that the party is moving in the right direction.
“The job isn’t done,” he said. “2014 isn’t the end. We’re building up to the future here, and we’re really proud of our increase, but we’ve still got a long road to go.”