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Debate gets personal in the Tarheel State

It got personal in the final debate of the highly competitive North Carolina U.S. Senate race, between Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis.
Kay Hagan, Thom Tills
Sen. Kay Hagan, left, D-N.C., and North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis greet prior to a live televised debate at UNC-TV studios in Research...

It got personal in the third and final debate of the highly competitive North Carolina U.S. Senate race, between Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis. The candidates accused each other of personal gains from votes they took in their respective positions that boosted their wealth.

Tillis said Hagan, North Carolina's incumbent Senator, should be fired, charging that she voted for the 2009 stimulus bill, which enhanced her husband's business, calling it “crony capitalism”.

"These are the kinds of practices that need to end,” he said.

Hagan defended herself from the charges and denied any impropriety.  

"I have no role in my husband's business," Hagan said. "I have a job that keeps me busy.”

When pressed further by the moderator, the Republican said he "doubted" that his Democratic rival voted for the stimulus package knowing she would profit.

But Hagan put Tillis, the Speaker of North Carolina's State House, on the defensive for questions over his own ethical issues.  She accused him of supporting stimulus tax cuts for a bank he holds stock in.  

"I never voted on stimulus," Tillis responded. "You did."

In continuing his line of attack from Tuesday night's debate, Tillis hammered Hagan for skipping fifty percent of her Armed Service Committee meetings, including a classified briefing about ISIS, which he says she missed for a cocktail party fundraiser.

"Senator Hagan thinks that a cocktail fundraiser hosted on Park Avenue by a Wall Street executive is a bigger priority than her job," Tillis said.

Hagan, again, turned the table on her opponent.  

"Speaker Tillis' hometown newspaper called on him to resign because of the number of days he missed in the general assembly because he was out fundraising," she said.

Hagan dodged attacks on the President's record that Tillis repeatedly tried to tether her to, but slammed Tillis for not offering his own plans to defeat ISIS, for gutting education and for passing tax cuts for the wealthy.  She also attacked him for wasting tax dollars defending the state's ban on same-sex marriage.  

"I don't think the government should tell anyone who they should love and who they should marry," Hagan said. "Speaker Tillis wants to waste your taxpayer litigating a law that the Supreme Court has said to leave alone."

Tillis said Hagan is a rubber stamp for President Obama and what he calls the President's "failed policies" of over-regulation and an overreaching Environmental Protection Agency that kills jobs.

"Senator Hagan hasn't found a regulatory policy of President Obama’s that she doesn't like," Tillis said.