The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 10th

Senate primary ballot adds candidate

As the filing deadline for the GOP Senate primary ballot approaches on Feb. 28, one more player is tossing his piece to the political game board.

With Edward Kryn, the former physician and political rookie, the number of players ticks up to seven.

GOP candidates

The Republican candidates running in the May 6 primary to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan are:

  • Edward Kryn, former physician
  • Thom Tillis, N.C. Speaker of the House
  • Mark Harris, Baptist pastor
  • Greg Brannon, gynecologist
  • Bill Flynn, radio host
  • Ted Alexander, former Shelby mayor
  • Heather Grant, worked in the military corps

Kryn, who added his name Tuesday, moved to the United States from Canada 17 years ago. He said his familiarity with medical systems in the U.S. and Canada will give him an edge to compensate for his lack of political experience.

Republican Thom Tillis is the GOP favorite to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in the November general election, according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling, a left-leaning agency in Raleigh.

Tillis and Hagan are nearly tied at 43-42, according to the poll .

Rob Schofield, policy director at left-leaning N.C. Policy Watch, said it is too early to make an accurate prediction, but he leans toward Hagan winning.

“I actually think she’ll win,” he said. “I think, ultimately, all of the candidates running against her have huge problems. I don’t think anybody takes them terribly seriously.”

Other GOP candidates, including Kryn, Mark Harris, Greg Brannon, Bill Flynn, Ted Alexander and Heather Grant, seek to appeal to far-right Republicans, said analyst Mitch Kokai from the right-leaning John Locke Foundation.

“The other candidates have been really getting their support from other sectors — Tea Party, social conservatives, people who might look at Tillis and not be so excited,” he said.

Kokai said having so many GOP candidates could hurt Tillis’s chances if the May 6 primary election went to a runoff. Tillis needs 40 percent of the vote to win the primary.

Still, John Davis, an N.C. political analyst who studies election trends , said Tillis is likely to upset Hagan in the race.

No North Carolina Democrat has won a second term in the U.S. Senate since 1968, Davis said.

“The big issue in addition to just the trends is the fact that the public has mixed feelings, especially in North Carolina right now, about Obamacare,” he said.

Davis also said the Republican party is opting for more compromise on a state and national level after criticism sparked by the government shutdown in October. He pointed to the recent budget compromise in Washington, D.C.

But Davis said the Republicans are not the only party that need to consider more bipartisan compromises. Democrats, especially N.C. Democrats, are being led almost exclusively by the far left, he said.

“Both parties have allowed themselves to go to these extreme corners of political ideology, and both parties need to find a new balance, or they will fall like a house of cards.”

state@dailytarheel.com

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