Politics is very much like war. If you are fortunate enough to have an advantage it is imperative you press your advantage. If you give your opponent breathing space, a chance to lick their wounds and regroup, then my friend you are playing with fire. If you snooze you lose.
Not so many months ago Kay Hagan was losing to a GENERIC Republican opponent by 8-10 points. Now it stands to reason the race would tighten when a real candidate was picked, but there is no way in the world a good, competent Republican candidate should NOT be up by four or five points now and really throughout the course of the campaign.
Now many will say Hagan has outspent Tillis, and that is true. But why? The Democrats are fighting (and funding) at least a half dozen VERY competitive Senate races around the country so why would they pour resources into a race that looks hopeless? Well simply put they recognized early on that Tillis was an empty suit. They realized that his establishment led campaign had a "run out the clock" strategy that would allow them to define Tillis and go on offense (he's certainly made no effort to define himself). They realized his strategists would go after the moderates which meant his would be a "nice guy" campaign relying on Hagan's negatives to bring her down. Well it didn't work because it can't work. Any candidate that relies on a protest vote as the basis of their campaign is doomed.
A good example of this occurred in the opening statements of last night's debate. Hagan's opening salvo was to attack Tillis for giving tax cuts to the rich and "wealthy" corporations, "gutting" education, hating on women and making college more expensive. Tillis' throughly forgeable response was that Hagan had not kept her promise to the people of NC (what promise?) because she voted with the President 96% of the time. At that point I flipped over to a Dukes of Hazzard rerun.
So please allow me to take a shot, here's what Tillis would have said if Lee Atwater (or me) ran his campaign.
Senator Hagan you are mistaken, we cut taxes across the board, not just for the rich, and considering our corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world and North Carolina's was one of the highest in the country, we thought it would be a good idea to reform our tax structure so as to save jobs and PREVENT these companies from going overseas. I'm not sure if you've noticed but middle-class income is down, middle-class buying power is down and the middle-class have lost 30-40% of their assets during your time in office. But the wealthy have done VERY well. Their share has gone up significantly, as has your share I suspect. But for the sake of argument let's say your assertion is true, let's say we are favoring the rich. I would think you'd be thrilled. Out of 100 Senators you are more wealthy than all but 8. Your husband and your son "won" stimulus cash to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars on a bill that YOU voted on. And you Senator, you voted with Barack Obama 96% of the time. When he lied about "shovel ready jobs" you lied about shovel ready jobs, when he lied about Obamacare you lied about Obamacare. YOU Senator Hagan have been Barack Obama and Harry Reid's Senator, not North Carolina's.
Now, you just said we "gutted" education. You tweeted recently that our education "cuts" have put the squeeze on our teachers and NC ranks near the bottom for teacher satisfaction, pay etc. I guess that might be true, WHEN THE RESEARCH WAS DONE! This study was from 2003-2013. Gov. McCrory didn't take office until Jan 2013. There hasn't been a Republican Governor in this State for over 20 years so this was a critique of Democratic run schools. The fact is we gave the teachers a 7% raise this year...2014, which is 7% more than the previous legislature and Democratic governor ever did. We are doing everything we can to repair the damage of the previous Democratic administrations and I think the numbers prove we're doing a pretty good job especially in light of what we have in Washington. If I am elected Senator I'll bring those skills to the Senate and try to repair the damage done by YOU and your bosses, Harry Reid and Barack Hussein Obama. I just hope we're not too late.
That my friends is how you press an advantage, and win an election.