N.C. candidates are posturing for campaign season as the filing deadline for the 2014 midterm elections draws to a close Friday at noon.
Internal tensions have been brewing within the state Republican Party en route to the primary, said Ferrel Guillory, a UNC journalism professor and expert on Southern politics.
“This is a state that’s narrowly divided and very competitive,” he said.
Race to D.C.
Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., faces an uncertain road to re-election in a state that has drastically changed since she cruised to victory in 2008.
She will likely clash with N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, who has been a leader in the new era of Republican control.
Tillis has a 2 point edge on Hagan, according to the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.
Hagan is backed by a state Democratic Party that has found itself leaderless as strife tears at its top levels.
Seven GOP candidates filed in the Senate race as of Thursday night.
Greg Brannon, a Cary physician who faced a civil lawsuit earlier this month, and Heather Grant, a nurse practitioner from Wilkes County, follow Tillis at 13 percent.
“There are other candidates in this race who reflect the fractiousness of the Republican Party,” he said. “Brannon seems to have some ties to the tea party, Mark Harris is a minister — it’s an expression of the continuing influence of conservative Christians in the Republican party.”
Hagan’s only Democratic opponent is Will Stewart, who has no experience in politics.
He’s over troubled water
Clay Aiken will compete once again to hit the right note — this time, with N.C. voters.
The “American Idol” runner-up will run against U.S. Rep Renee Ellmers in N.C.’s Second Congressional district.
Aiken’s celebrity status has garnered attention nationwide, but it may not cinch a win, Guillory said.
“He may speak the way people want to hear, he may not, we don’t know yet, he said. “He’s an untested candidate.”
Some state legislative heavyweights will enjoy an easy road to re-election in 2014.
N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, is running unopposed so far in the Republican Party in his district. Berger won the district in the 2012 general election with about 60 percent of the vote.
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Valerie Foushee, D-Durham, has a clear path back to her seat in Raleigh. Foushee, who was elected to the House in 2012, was chosen to fill Ellie Kinnaird’s vacated N.C. Senate seat in September.
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