Hagan Defeats Incumbent Senator Dole
Last year, State Senator Kay Hagan of Greensboro was hardly known in most of North Carolina. Now, she'll be representing the state in the U.S. Senate after handily defeating Senator Elizabeth Dole. Up until July, polls showed Dole had a sizeable lead. The race began drawing tighter at the end of the summer and into the fall as the national Democratic Party saw an opportunity and contributed millions. The result was: Kay Hagan ended up with an 8-point victory. "A little over a year ago, when I got into this race, the press, the pundits, other politicians and all were ready to write this race off and hand Elizabeth Dole the keys to her office for another six years," said Hagan last night. Even Hagan when she was first approached to run, looked at her chances and initially said no. In her acceptance speech in Greensboro Hagan said her victory is a testament to how hungry people are for a change. "No one wants a handout. They just want leadership that listens and a government that doesn't stand in their way, but gives them a chance to make their own way," she said. About 50 miles away in Salisbury, several Dole supporters attributed Hagan's victory to a tough year for Republicans and hefty financial support from Democrats at the national level. Gary Ritchey served barbecue at Dole's inauguration six years ago and he was doing the same at this event. "She's done a good job, but unfortunately tonight she got beat. I think it's the coattails of Obama like the coattails of Reagan back in the eighties and those trends go around," he said. The race between Hagan and Dole got downright nasty at times with millions of dollars in negative ads funded by their campaigns and special interest groups. In the last week of the campaign Dole drew criticism for an ad that said Hagan at taken money from The Godless Americans PAC. The end of the ad showed a picture of Hagan as a woman's voice said, "There is no God." In her concession speech in Salisbury, Dole made no apologies. "People from faraway places poured tens of millions of dollars into NC funding tough, unfair, negative ads against me. I responded forcefully. I'm not happy with the tone this race acquired. But I must say I'll never regret fighting as hard as I could for the priviledge of serving the people of this state," said Dole. She closed her speech, saying she'll do everything she can to make a smooth transition. "Folks, tonight is about coming together in common purpose in the best interest of North Carolina and her people. And I want to congratulate my opponent Kay Hagan on her victory tonight. Meanwhile I urge you also to join me in praying for God to guide and support Kay Hagan as she takes on her tough new duties," said Dole. Dole did not stick around for questions or to meet individually with supporters. Instead, she abruptly left the building.