Election 2014: the most competitive Senate races

The Democrats face a challenge in their quest to hold onto the US Senate. Eleven races this year are seen as competitive – eight seats held by Democrats, three by Republicans. Here’s the rundown.

2. North Carolina: Kay Hagan (D), incumbent

Gerry Broome/AP
Sen. Kay Hagan (D) of North Carolina listens during an appearance in Durham, N.C., April 16, 2014.

[Updated May 7] In 2008, then-state Senator Hagan rode a national Democratic wave to beat Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) of North Carolina. But since then, the state has become more Republican, and now-US Senator Hagan is fighting for her political life. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative outside group, pounded her early with negative ads.

In the May 6 primary, the Republican establishment got its pick for the GOP Senate nomination, state House Speaker Thom Tillis. He won 46 percent of the vote, clearing the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a July runoff, which would have been costly and divisive. The general election battle between Speaker Tillis and Hagan is off and running.

Hagan’s strong fundraising is a plus for her. Cook calls it a tossup. Sabato says the race leans Democratic. Rothenberg calls it "tossup/tilt Democrat." 

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