News Flash: What you need to know—The North Carolina Senate Race

What is the Senate and what do they do?

The senate is a legislative body consisting of two elected officials, called senators, from each state. There are 100 in total. The Senate represents the citizens of the state and makes laws in collaboration with the House of Representatives. The Senate and House of Representatives combined are referred to as Congress.

Why is the North Carolina Senate race so important?

Currently, North Carolina is a swing state, meaning the electorate is not clearly Democratic nor Republican. In 2008, N.C. voted for President Barack Obama, but in 2012 N.C. voted for Republican Mitt Romney, making it difficult to predict how N.C. will vote.

The Republicans need to win six seats in the now Democratic-controlled Senate in order to gain control. There are many states still up for Republicans to win, North Carolina being one of these states. Republicans currently have Georgia, Kentucky and Kansas and will most likely gain Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, which analysts say leaves Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina up for grabs by either party.

Who are the candidates?

Kay Hagan—Democrat

Elected with a 53 percent majority in 2008 against Elizabeth Dole

Seeking re-election this year

Received the Democratic nomination for N.C. Senate on May 6

Thomas Roland (Thom) Tillis—Republican

Currently a member of the N.C. House of Representatives from Mecklenburg County

Received the Republican nomination for N.C. Senate on May 6

Scenarios:

If Thom Tillis is elected as senator, N.C. will become
a Republican state, and depending on the status of the other swing states, Republicans will have control of the Senate.

If Kay Hagan is reelected, N.C. will be labeled as Democratic, and it will be up to the rest of the swing states to decide which party will have the majority in the Senate.

If third party Libertarian Sean Haugh continues to gain popularity, Republicans are afraid of losing on-the-fence Republican votes to Haugh, which would give Democrats an advantage.

– By Ellie Saksa

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