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North Carolina: Members Back Hagan, Senators Raise Money

The Tar Heel State’s seven Democratic House Members on Tuesday endorsed state Sen. Kay Hagan (D), who is mounting a promising challenge to first-term Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R).

Rep. David Price (D) called Hagan “a work horse, not a show horse” and said in a statement that “her commitment to getting things done for North Carolinians is exactly what North Carolina needs in the U.S. Senate: an effective, pragmatic leader committed to getting things done for North Carolinians.”

Hagan said she is “looking forward to working” with the Democratic delegation on her campaign, which may help her in many of the less-populous areas of the state where she is unknown.

“North Carolina’s House Members know all too well that Elizabeth Dole has not served the best interests of our state,” Hagan said. “I’m looking forward to working with them in my campaign and, of course, when I am up in Washington working in the U.S. Senate.”

Tuesday’s endorsements came one day after Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) attended fundraisers for Hagan in the state.

Hayes’ Ad Hits Kissell For Alleged Tax Dodge

Rep. Robin Hayes (R) is airing his first television ad of the cycle this week, criticizing his Democratic opponent, high school teacher Larry Kissell, for how he compensates his campaign’s employees.

“For years, Kissell’s been manipulating his workers’ paychecks to save himself a buck,” the ad begins. “Kissell has not paid one dime for his workers’ Social Security. Nothing for their unemployment benefits. Not even a penny for their Medicare.

“That not only cheats Kissell’s employees, it cheats all of us,” the ad continues. “Is that legal? Larry Kissell doesn’t care. He’s doing it anyway.”

Kissell campaign spokesman Thomas Thacker criticized the ad and said it’s not uncommon for campaigns to pay aides as independent contractors — something he said both Kissell and Hayes do.

“The ad is both negative and desperate,” Thacker said. “Robin Hayes has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants in the last two election cycles.”

The cable spots are appearing just as the political terrain may be beginning to shift dramatically in the state. North Carolina is typically a Republican stronghold, but presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) is expected to campaign heavily in North Carolina, perhaps boosting Democrats’ chances downballot.

Hayes beat Kissell in 2006 by 330 votes.

— Matthew Murray

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