The Republican's great night continued into North Carolina where GOP candidate Thom Tillis defeated Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in a race that although tight, Democrats were expected to hold.
Republicans w picked up the necessary six seats to win control of the Senate for the final two years of President Barack Obama's term.
In the most expensive Senate race in the country -- expected to total $100 million -- Hagan was forced to defend her record and separate herself from President Barack Obama. Attempting to turnout the base, however, Obama cut a radio ad for Hagan that aired in the final days of the election.
Tillis consistently pounded the Obama-Hagan theme throughout the campaign, but Hagan turned Tillis’ record as Speaker of the North Carolina House against him. He passed a string of conservative bills, including budget cuts, unemployment cuts, anti-abortion legislation and a voter ID bill, that proved controversial.
When Hagan won her first Senate race in 2008, she rode to victory on the tailwinds of the Obama factor. Obama won the state that year, making him the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
This year, Hagan dealt with a different kind of Obama factor. President Obama’s popularity has plunged. He lost o Mitt Romney in 2012, and according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll from before Election Day, has a disapproval rating of 54%.
Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh, a pizza delivery guy, could impact the outcome.
- Leigh Ann Caldwell