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NC-Sen: Sources Say Kay Hagan to Challenge Dole

by: Trent Thompson

Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 7:09 PM EDT

Two well-placed sources, independent of each other, have contacted the Swing State Project to let us know that NC State Senator Kay Hagan (D-Greensboro) has reconsidered her earlier decision and will challenge Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Blue NC had picked up earlier rumors that Hagan might be back in from a local Democratic strategist:

Even before Jim Neal outed himself, Kay Hagan was looking at getting back in the U.S. Senate race. Now she’s getting more encouragement – from home and from Washington. Hagan, a state senator from Greensboro, had looked at running earlier. She pulled back because Senator Charles Schumer from New York, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was intent on recruiting Grier Martin. Martin eventually opted out.

Now Hagan is reconsidering. She’s being wooed by North Carolina Democrats – and by Schumer. The garrulous New Yorker’s first task was to eat crow with Hagan. 

Public Policy Polling recently pegged Dole's approval at 44% with 41% disapproval. If our sources are correct, these numbers certainly suggest Hagan would have something to work with.

Trent Thompson :: NC-Sen: Sources Say Kay Hagan to Challenge Dole
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We need to at least run a race in NC.  We may or may not win, but running Jim Neal would go against the 50-state strategy.

I don't get you're logic. Were in the 50 state strategy is the amendment barring gay people from being part of the strategy? When no one else steeped up, Neal did and he intends on running a strong challenge to Liddy Dole. I think he can win. And insisting that gay people can't win office is counterproductive and insulting in my opinion.

[ Parent ]
I'm afraid
That I don't get it either. In any event, Howard Dean's 50-state strategy plays no direct role in candidate recruitment. That's either going to be handled by the DSCC, local Dems, a combination of the two, or nobody.

[ Parent ]
Did I say anything about . . .
. . . his sexual orientation?  Gay has nothing to do with it-- and I certainly hope to see more openly gay candidates run for Senate seats in the future (e.g. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin).

I'll have you know that I'm a bisexual woman myself, fully committed to the cause of equality across the board.  My comments only had to do with the recent polling showing Neal trailing Dole by a disturbingly large margin.  A candidate who has already held office would, I hypothesize, perform better in the polls.  If an existing office holder with a strong poll standing happened to be gay, all the better!

[ Parent ]
I guess I was confused
Because you said that running Neal would not fit in with the 50-state strategy. Usually I interpret that phrase to mean "build up the Democratic Party everywhere" and, by extension, "run candidates everywhere." If anything, the phrase suggests to me that we should support (long-shot) candidates who step up to the plate when no one else will (or when no one else is even available) - something which Neal appeared to be doing.

Also, I thought that poll was very good news. Dole was under 50 and had an approval rating of just 44%. Also, though I don't think the poll asked about Neal's name rec, the accompanying memo said that Neal lacks statewide name rec (hardly surprising). This means there's lots of room for growth, imho.

[ Parent ]
My apologies
I'm sorry if I offended you. I've just been reading to many comments on how Neal can never win because he is gay and it is the south and I wrongly assumed you were trying to make that point as well.

The only problem with Hagan is she actually does WORSE in the polls then Neal.

Dole 43% to Hagan 27% or a 16 point difference. Neal's numbers were Dole 47% Neal 32%, a 15 point difference. I know it's about the same but Hagan just doesn't do hugely better against Dole. Plus she has powerful State Senate duties which would take some time away from campaigning and Neal seems like he would be a stronger fundraiser (he was after all a full time Democratic fundraiser before) and more progressive. 

[ Parent ]
The Neal poll result was surprising
Most people in North Carolina probably hadn't heard of Jim Neal before he got into the race.  It is possible that some respondents may have confused him with former North Carolina Democratic Congressman Stephen Neal.

But, if Neal continues to poll better than Hagan, that is an important factor to consider.

[ Parent ]
One point isn't enough to rectify consideration. NT

[ Parent ]
Why would Jim Neal's decision
To speak publicly about his orientation affect Hagan's decision? It doesn't make sense. If Hagan thinks she can beat Dole, she obviously thinks she can beat Neal in the primary. I don't even want to consider the ugly possibility that certain Hagan supporters think it would now be "easier" to beat Neal because of his announcement. As I say, Neal is not, as chemists would say, Hagan's rate limiting step on the road to a seat in the US Senate.

I think that poll showing Dole under 50% probably has an effect, though.

I guess it's more a factor of general election...
Neal outing himself makes him even more unelectable in the general maybe? After all there is no senator that has been elected as openly gay, nad it is unlikely NC would be the first to do so. So the DSCC is putting increased pressure to recruit an elected official.

[ Parent ]
I think
Kay Hagan is reevaluating running because the poll shows Liddy Dole under 50%. She thinks she has a good, better they she can probably ever expect, chance to win.

[ Parent ]
What's the ideological balance here?
Neal seems to be fairly progressive.  How does Kagan stack up?

So far Neal has focused heavily on SCHIP, and spoken strongly on things like restoring the constitution.

Hagan is a big dog in the State Senate.  Very moderate, very cautious.  She has been heavily involved in the budget process, which few people have been happy with recently.  But to explain all of that would take a lot.

"Keep the Faith"

[ Parent ]
Its too bad
Easley wont run for this seat.  It would be an almost sure pickup if he did.

So true...
though a poll a few months back showed him only 3-4 points ahead of Dole. But why ISNT HE RUNNING???
Also, why isn't the state attorney general running? He is going to lose almost for sure against the LG in the primary race for govenror!

Campaign Diaries.

[ Parent ]
Probibly because he has no interest of being 1 in 100
He doesn't talk like a Senator, act like a Senator or  want to be a Senator. His choice however much we might not like it but its his choice and he says no. Damn.

progressive, NY-8 (home), PA-7 (college)

[ Parent ]
the State AG
Isnt running for Governor.  The State treasurer is.  And the treasurer is actually running only a few points behind the LG in terms of polls and is ahead (I think) in cash.

"Keep the Faith"

[ Parent ]
I agree about Easley...he could have easily won.
The AG is not running for gov against the Lt Gov...the state Treasurer is.
My bet is that the AG is waiting till 2010 to run against Burr.  He probably figured he'd have an easier win in that match-up.

[ Parent ]
He will  not run because he hates campaigning. I think he views the governor's mansion as his last stop politically.

[ Parent ]
Local media's reaction to Hagan deciding not to run:

Jim Neal Live Blog
Last Week Jim Neal stopped by BlueNC for a live blogging session.

Its a great insight into what he believes in and how he might act as a Senator.

"Keep the Faith"

18 days ago...
"RALEIGH -- Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan says she will not run for the U.S. Senate next year against Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Hagan says she can better serve North Carolina from her current post in the General Assembly instead of challenging the Republican incumbent."

Gotta love sincerity...

that you unabridged?
just wondering since it says the account was created a few minutes ago, this is the sort of comment he (you?) usually made and he (you?) have been banned before, then returned.

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

[ Parent ]
meant ncd, replied to wrong post

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

[ Parent ]
Pam Spaulding has a great summary
of the entire sorry business at Pam's House Blend.

Including this wonderful image from Howie Klein.

This graphic
Makes zero sense. There wasn't going to BE a primary with only Neal in the race. Now, if Hagan does get in, there will be one.

Or maybe this just fits in with Howie's off-stated claims that candidates get "pushed out" of primaries. Last I checked, in America, no one can force anyone else off a ballot. If you want to run, you get to run. Yes, people can make life difficult for you - but that's called politics.

[ Parent ]
I'm delighted by the news
that St Sen Hagan is in.  She has experience running and winning political office and voting and talking about key issues facing the people of NC.  It sounds like Jim Neal is a great guy with good positions on the issues and who has worked hard for Democrats and Democratic ideals.  But if the DSCC had sat back and said that a neophyte candidate with no electoral experience or name id or money is good enough to win a winnable race, then I'd say they weren't doing their jobs.

I see this again and again on blogs.  Some good person who is a tremendous longshot steps up and says they are running for a seat - Wiviott in NM, Buckey in ME, Novick in OR, Hill in MN-6, Rowley in MN-2, Hackett in OH, Miller in VA last year and then people are shocked, shocked that leaders (DSCC or DCCC or local leaders) keep looking for candidates and are hurt and offended when they find them.

COME ON PEOPLE!  Winning elections is really hard - Even with a lot of elecotral experience.  Mr. Neal's inexperience was reason #1 that the DSCC kept looking for a candidate.  Him announcing that he was gay and featuring it on his website didn't make him a stronger candidate, but that was not the reason Democrats wanted other candidates.

It sure looks to me like Ms. Hagan is the strongest candidate and it will be a tough race against an incumbent in a Reddish state.  From this distance I would say that Mr. Neal might be a great candidate for State Senate, State House or County Board and those would be good starting spots to prove his skills both as a candidate and as an elected official.  I am not pushing him out of this race, but I'm being realistic.

Just as Mr. Neal, as CEO of high-powered financial companies, routinely hired people with experience for high level positions, he should not be surprised that Democratic leaders look for people with electoral experience for one of the highest level political races in the country.

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