Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., left, and North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis participate in a live televised debate at UNC-TV studios in Research Triangle Park , N.C., Oct. 7, 2014.
Photo by Gerry Broome/Pool/AP

Fundraisers, equal pay on the menu in North Carolina debate


Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis will meet Thursday for their second debate of the week in Wilmington, North Carolina in one of the most closely watched races of the midterms.

In their previous matchup, Hagan tried to keep the focus on Tillis’ record in the state legislature, while Tillis sought to make the election about discontent with President Obama’s record.

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The debate is co-hosted by WECT and a state chapter of the League of Women Voters. Like Democrats in key races around the country, Hagan is staking her re-election hopes on running up support with women, and the debate could giver her an opportunity to press the advantage.

In their previous debate Tuesday in Durham, Hagan went after Tillis, the speaker of the state House, aggressively for not passing a state bill mandating equal pay for women.

“Women in North Carolina earn 82 cents on the dollar,” Hagan said. “I didn’t raise my two daughters to think they’re worth 82 cents on the dollar.:

Tillis said that he agreed with Hagan on equal pay, but thought gender equity should be enforced using existing statues rather than “campaign gimmicks” that he said would burden businesses with added regulations.

Hagan appeared the more confident debater on Tuesday, but Republicans believe she gave them a huge opening in a press conference afterward when she admitted to skipping a delayed Armed Services Committee hearing in the Senate to attend a fundraiser. Tillis has already raised her attendance at committee hearings as a campaign issue and it’s a near certainty he’ll bring up the fundraiser episode on Thursday. 

Kay Hagan, North Carolina and Thom Tillis

Fundraisers, equal pay on the menu in North Carolina debate