Hagan Gets Super-PAC Help in N.C.

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U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) takes the stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sen. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat facing a difficult re-election campaign in November, is getting outside help from a super-political action committee that can accept contributions in unlimited amounts.

Wolfheel PAC is exclusively “focused on making sure that Kay stays in the U.S. Senate,” Ben Chao, a Democratic strategist involved with the pro-Hagan super-PAC, told Political Capital. The PAC filed organizing papers last week with the Federal Election Commission, which processed the documents Jan. 13.

North Carolina is “probably going to be about as central to the fight to hang on to the Senate as you can get,” Chao said.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to overturn the 55-45 Democratic majority.

Hagan, who’s seeking a second term, would face the winner of a multi-candidate Republican primary that includes state House Speaker Thom Tillis, the preferred candidate of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Greg Brannon, a physician who’s endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. The Republican primary will be held on May 6.

Some of Tillis’s backers formed a super-PAC last May.

Hagan was elected to the Senate in 2008, a good Democratic year when President Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential nominee in 32 years to carry North Carolina. The state shifted to back Republican Mitt Romney by 2 percentage points in the 2012 election. Hagan is seeking re-election in a midterm election year that will have lower voter turnout than in 2008.

“This race continues to look like a toss-up, but Hagan could definitely use a change of topic from Obamacare to help get her numbers out of this rut,” Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling said in an analysis Jan. 14.

Obama was in North Carolina yesterday as Hagan tended to Senate business in Washington.

Super-PACs, known technically as independent expenditure-only committees, may raise unlimited amounts to independently advocate for the election or defeat of candidates.

Chao also is a strategist for Democratic super-PACs aiding Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who also face challenging re-election campaigns this November. Delta Diamond PAC is aiding Pryor, who’s seeking a third term, and Blue Pelican PAC is helping Landrieu, who is running for a fourth term.

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