Since embarrassingly losing North Carolina to Obama in 2008, Republicans have been on roll in the the Tar Heel State. In 2010, they gained a seat in the US House of Representatives while taking control of both houses of the state legislature. In 2012 they won North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes, gained 3 US House seats, retained the US Senate seat held by Richard Burr (R), and won the governorship by a 11.5% margin. And this year, they look likely to take another US House seat while having a decent shot at taking a US Senate seat as well.
The Senate seat occupied Kay Hagan (D) is a top pickup opportunity for the GOP in 2014. In 2008, Hagan soundly beat incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) in what was an exceptional year for Democrats. Since then, North Carolina has returned to its conservative roots and this makes Democrats worry about Hagan’s prospects. The big question right now is whether the Republicans will field a candidate that won’t blow up this golden opportunity. The major players in the race for the GOP nomination are: North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, physician Greg Brannon, former Mayor Ted Alexander, pastor Mark Harris, and nurse Heather Grant. Tillis is currently the front runner, but he has had trouble shoring up the support and he’s had trouble fending off the conservative challengers yapping at his heels. Right now this race Leans Republican, but if one the less experienced candidates wins the Republican nomination then we could the Democrats breathing a bit easier on election night.
NC-07: Rep. Mike McIntyre (R) has been a dead man walking ever since the GOP-lead legislature changed his district from one with a PVI of R+5 to one with R+11. The amazing thing was that even with this drastic change, the Republicans still failed to unseat him in 2012 in what was the closest House race in the country. Despite this setback, it was only a matter of time till McIntyre got the boot and earlier this year he announced that he was not running for reelection. And with McIntyre out of the picture, this seat is all but a lock for the GOP. The only outstanding issue to resolve is who will be the Republican nominee in November. The 2012 nominee, former State Sen. David Rouzer, is competing in the primary with lawyer Woody White. Rouzer is the favorite to win the nomination, but this race still might take some interesting turns before the May 6th primary. This seat is Likely Republican.