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North CarolinaNorth Carolina State Capitol building in Raleigh.By: Jim Bowen

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  • Since her first running against Republican state Sen. John Blust in Greensboro 1998, Kay Hagan has been a tough competitor for the Democratic party. Will this be the year she is unseated? There are nine polls that show it's a very close race at the moment. Six of the polls show Hagan ahead marginally by 4-5 points, and one shows Tillis ahead with a five point lead.
  • A federal appeals court on Friday struck down North Carolina’s requirement that voters show identification before casting ballots and reinstated an additional week of early voting, finding that legislators had acted with “discriminatory intent” in imposing strict election rules.
  • “The history of North Carolina is not on trial here,” Butch Bowers, a lawyer for Governor Pat McCrory, told a court in Winston-Salem on Monday. Pace Bowers, that’s precisely what’s on trial over the next two weeks. A group of plaintiffs—including the Justice Department, NAACP, and League of Women Voters—are suing the state over new voting laws implemented in 2013, saying that they represent an attempt to suppress the minority vote.
  • Senator Richard Burr is acting like a man who doesn't understand the role or duties that he now has. With the Republican Party assuming control of Congress, the North Carolinian is chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, the body charged with overseeing the CIA. His responsibilities are momentous. All senators are called to act as power-jealous checks on the executive branch. And the particular mission of the Senate intelligence committee, created in the wake of horrific CIA abuses, obligates Burr to “provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States" and "to assure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and laws.” But as Senator Burr begins this job, he is behaving less like an overseer than a CIA asset.
  • Decision Day 2014 is here, and so the vote counting finally begins in the longest, most expensive, and most talked-about midterm election cycle in our history. (And it’s likely to get longer and more expensive with possible runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia.) We already know it’s going to be a good night for Republicans, but a great night would be capturing control of the U.S. Senate and making gains in the blue and purple battleground states. And guess what: We’ll have a good idea early in the evening of how Election Night is going to break. The two states to watch -- North Carolina (where final polling places close at 7:30 pm ET) and New Hampshire (where they close at 8:00 pm ET). Every scenario of Democrats holding on to the Senate assumes they win those two states.
  • After months of campaigning and thousands of negative ads, the results of the 2014 elections are now up to voters across North Carolina and the nation.
  • When does Ebola look like a gift? Apparently, when you are a Republican candidate for the Senate who sees it as a handy pretext for bringing up immigration politics while scaring people into voting for you. Thom Tillis, in a campaign debate in North Carolina with Senator Kay Hagan, put it this way: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got an Ebola outbreak. We have bad actors that can come across the border. We need to seal the border.” In New Hampshire, Scott Brown started off by conjuring up ISIS fighters slipping through spongy borders, then casually switched to Ebola-sickened hordes.
  • An argument between two male students outside a North Carolina high school Tuesday ended with one of them shooting the other before classes began, police said. Police received a call about shots fired at Albemarle High School at 6:40 a.m. CST and arrived to find a student shot in the lower extremities, said William Halliburton, the police chief in Albemarle, about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte. The suspected shooter, who was not identified, surrendered to police, Halliburton said.
  • Independent voter Christine Telfer doesn’t have much of an impression of Sen. Kay Hagan, the Democrat whose bid for reelection is dominating the airwaves in this state. But Telfer, 65, a retired travel agent, is emphatic about the Republican seeking to unseat Hagan. “I can tell you I would not vote for Thom Tillis for any reason,” Telfer said as she accompanied her grandchildren to gawk at race cars and monster trucks on display recently in a shopping-mall parking lot. “I don’t like him. I don’t like his policies.” The visceral reaction to Tillis, who as speaker of the state House has been one of the leaders of a new conservative majority, explains why Democrats think Hagan may be in as strong a position as any vulnerable Democratic U.S. senator this year.

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