In recent days, Republicans appear to have opened up leads in several key Senate battles, including Alaska,Colorado, and Iowa. Add those to their already established edges in Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia -- and the GOP right now has the lead in about eight Democratic-held seats. Whether that translates into a Senate majority remains to be seen, especially as we wait on whether Kansas Republicans can tag “independent” candidate Greg Orman as an effective Democrat (which he basically is).
One surprising state where the GOP is still struggling is North Carolina, where recent polling has Republican Thom Tillis trailing Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan by 3 or 4 points.
Interestingly, Hagan’s numbers are not substantially better than candidates in states where Democrats are trailing.RealClearPolitics reports her standing as 44.5 percent, compared to 43 percent for Bruce Braley in Iowa and Mark Udall in Colorado.
Hagan’s lead in North Carolina depends in large part on the presence of libertarian Sean Haugh, whom Politics1 describes as an, “Ex-Libertarian party national political director, pizza deliveryman, & frequent candidate.” Currently, Haugh pulls in 5 or 6 percent of the vote.
If Haugh continues to do this well, that will make it substantially tougher for Tillis to close the gap. The question is: will he?
Answer: it is hard to say. History gives contradictory indications.