Former CLT Mayor Pat Cannon (D) to plead guilty to federal corruption charge

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Patrick Cannon and Anthony Foxx

Then-Charlotte City Councilman- Patrick Cannon (l) and then-Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (now Obama’s Transportation Secretary) in happier times. Image via PraiseCharlotte.com

Via The Charlotte Observer:

Patrick Cannon is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to a federal public corruption charge that carries up to a 20-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

According to court documents released to the public early Monday, Cannon will appear in federal court at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer. At that time, he will plead to one count of honest services wire fraud, an umbrella charge commonly used in cases where public officials take kickbacks or bribes, documents say.

The charge basically means the 48-year-old Democrat used his mayoral and city council posts for illegal gain, depriving city residents of his “honest services” as their elected representative.

Cannon did not answer the door at his house Monday morning. Asked why his client had agreed to plead guilty rather than fight the charges in court, attorney James Ferguson said Monday morning that he could not comment.

Honest services fraud is one of the three corruption charges leveled against Cannon at his March 26 arrest. At the time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office accused him of accepting almost $50,000 in bribes. In exchange, Cannon promised to use his office to assist real estate deals pitched by undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town investors.

[…]

According to the new document, Cannon is accused of soliciting and accepting a series of bribes from a Charlotte businessman, identified as “Businessman #1,” whose adult entertainment club was in the path of the Blue Line Extension through north Charlotte.

Welcome to the culture of corruption – Charlotte, NC style.  Perhaps Cannon’s new nickname should be “Strip Club Patrick.”

Read the Twitter reaction to reports of Cannon’s expected plea here.

Paging #NCSEN’s Hagan: NC Obamacare premium hikes may be published in August

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Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

Another day of more worrisome news for NC’s embattled Senator Kay Hagan:

States are nailing down dates to release 2015 premium costs under ObamaCare, and their decisions will guarantee a drumbeat of news about rate hikes all the way to the November midterm elections.

Democrats are bracing for grim headlines that could put the unpopular law back at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Premiums are expected to go up in a majority of states, as they do every year, but the size of the increases could go a long way toward determining how much political damage ObamaCare inflicts on vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.

A survey by The Hill of state insurance commissioners found that news about ObamaCare premiums will hit nearly every week this summer (see list below), providing ample opportunity for Republicans to attack any significant premium hikes.

A slew of states will publish proposed prices in June, including Colorado and Louisiana — where the GOP is targeting Democratic Senate incumbents.

Others will wait until later in the season, including West Virginia and Arkansas. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a fact that his opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), has repeatedly raised.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), a top GOP target, will see her state publish rates on Aug. 15 or later.

I’ll be having fun watching the Senator, who has bragged on her official government website about helping to craft Obamacare – and who recently ‘fully embraced’ the bill after months of dodging and weaving on it, try to explain away why both she and our celebrity President  lied (or, er, “misspoke”) about – among other things –  lowering premium costs while promoting a bill that eventually was shoved down the throats of the American people with not a single Republican vote in the House or Senate, not even the tried and true moderates.

Republicans note that President Obama promised on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

And we won’t even go there on the whole “if you like your doctor/plan you can keep it” lie, ya know, the promise that Senator Hagan made in so many words at least 24 times, or how she had the opportunity to vote in favor of a resolution (but didn’t) that would have prevented people from not being able to keep their doctors/plans, or …

#NCPOL news: Clay Aiken’s #NC02 primary opponent Keith Crisco dies at home

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Keith Crisco

Keith Crisco

Via the Asheboro Courier Tribune:

ASHEBORO — Asheboro businessman and congressional candidate, Keith Crisco, 71, died suddenly at his home today.

Information is incomplete; however, early information indicates he suffered injuries from a fall around 1 p.m. at his home on 1263 Thayer Drive in Asheboro. He was reported dead at the scene when emergency workers arrived there.

John Ogburn, Asheboro city manager, confirmed that the Asheboro Police Department and Asheboro Fire Department responded to the scene. He said the case will go to the state medical examiner to determine an exact cause of death.

In a statement from the city, local officials said they were saddened to learn of Crisco’s death. During his time on the Asheboro City Council, from 2003-2009, officials said he consistently demonstrated the intellect and steadfastness that made him so successful.

[…]

Crisco had a long history of involvement on Asheboro’s business and local government scene. His impact reached to the state and federal level due to his involvement in industry associations, his tenure as state commerce secretary and, most recently, his run for congressional office.

[…]

Clay Aiken, Crisco’s opponent in the 2014 Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives District 2 race, also sent his condolences.

“I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death,” he said in a statement. “Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose – to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor’s Cabinet – he never forgot where he came from. He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him. I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.”

Both men were running for the chance to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers. Ellmers sent the following statement from her office in Washington.

“I am deeply saddened by this sudden and painful tragedy and wish God’s blessings for Keith’s family through the coming days,” she said. “His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward, and he will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Keith’s family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Condolences also poured in from other prominent state figures here in NC, including from Governor Pat McCrory as well as former Governor Bev Perdue.

As the article noted, Crisco and Aiken were battling for the Democrat nomination to take on NC-02’s Congresswoman Ellmers in the fall election. Their primary battle had been “too close to call”, which Aiken having only a very narrow lead – and at a tiny bit over 40%, just enough to win the primary outright – barring a challenge. Crisco was supposed to announce by Wednesday whether or not he would challenge the close results, but multiple media outlets reported yesterday that he had planned on conceding the race to Aiken today.

One tweet from the local media stood out to me yesterday among all the other ones about Crisco, and I think you’ll appreciate it as well:


Sounds like he was doing a lot of things right in his life, doesn’t it?

I add my sincerest condolences to Mr. Crisco’s family to the many others coming in. Death is inevitable for us all, but the “preferred” way is for it to be of natural causes. That his death apparently came from an accidental fall in his own home has to be absolutely devastating to Mr. Crisco’s family. May they be comforted by God’s loving embrace during this extraordinarily difficult time.

#NCSEN’s @SenatorHagan goes for broke, ‘fully embraces’ Obamacare

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Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

The Senator is starting the first of the tricky two-step I mentioned Wednesday she had to do here in order to try and get re-elected to a second term in the US Senate, the first part being to appeal to her base to turn out in strong numbers in November.  Via HuffPo:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) may be in one of this year’s most competitive elections, but she signaled Thursday that she’s prepared to fully embrace the benefits of Obamacare as part of her ticket to victory.

During a Senate confirmation hearing for Health and Human Services nominee Sylvia Burwell, Hagan lamented that leaders of her home state decided to opt out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The result is about 500,000 North Carolina residents who would have qualified for Medicaid are unable to enroll.

“These are some of the most vulnerable citizens in our country who will continue to seek care in emergency rooms, and then will leave chronic conditions unmanaged, which is detrimental not only to their health but to the economy too,” Hagan said. “It leads to higher costs for the patients, it drives up costs for hospitals and it drives up costs for the insured.”

Hagan asked Burwell to describe the experiences of states that expanded Medicaid under the health care law last year, compared with the 24 states that didn’t. Burwell said in West Virginia, for example, which expanded its Medicaid coverage, there already has been a decrease in the number of uninsured people. More broadly, she said, expanded Medicaid programs translate to increased quality of care, which boosts people’s productivity and ultimately fuels the economy.

Hagan also got Burwell to clearly state how much it would have cost North Carolina to cover newly eligible Medicaid recipients if the state had expanded its program under Obamacare: Nothing.

“That would be zero,” Burwell said. “The state doesn’t pay.”

“For three years, the states pay zero,” Hagan chimed in.

“The federal government will pay for those years,” Burwell said.

The devil, as they say, is always in the details – as the John Locke Foundation’s Becki Gray explained in this October piece at Carolina Journal Online:

North Carolina’s Medicaid costs are the highest in the Southeast and among the highest in the United States. For the past four fiscal years, Medicaid spending has exceeded its budget by 11 percent.

Total Medicaid costs have gone up 90 percent in the last 10 years. Medicaid costs crowd out spending on other public programs, including education, salary increases for teachers and other public employees, and transportation.

The proposed Medicaid expansion would cost North Carolina taxpayers an extra $3.1 billion over a 10-year period. By 2020, the state would incur net costs of nearly $100 million, jumping to $119 million one year later. 

Even though the federal government says it will pay 100 percent of the cost of new enrollees for the first three years and 90 percent by the 10th year of expansion, the expansion would not be free. The money would come from federal taxes; North Carolinians would pay for the additional coverage. 

Moreover, the federal government does not always abide by its promises. In 1982, the feds promised to cover 40 percent of the program costs for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Today, Washington provides only 17 percent of the funding. In addition, experts predict that states expanding Medicaid under Obamacare will have less flexibility and control over their Medicaid programs.

In other words, “free” is not really “free” when it comes to anything connected to government programs or services – and absolutely NOTHING is “guaranteed.” There is always a cost, and someone has to pay for it – and those “someones” ALWAYS end up being you and me.  Funny how the left always fails to mention that inconvenient truth.

Senator Hagan can offer up all the “stunningly strong” defenses of Obamacare that she wants to, but these facts will never change, no matter how often she wants to apply a fresh coat of paint on the old “Affordable Care Act” barn:

1) 476,000 North Carolinians lost health insurance plans they liked as a result of Obamacare.  Millions more across the country lost theirs as well as a result of her vote.

2) Many more of those same North Carolinians saw their premiums go up and/or saw their deductibles go up – for less care and less choices than they had before.

3) Obamacare has cost North Carolinians jobs – including ones that have bumped down from full time to part time as a result of the hours mandate employers face that forces them to provide  health care insurance coverage.  Not to mention businesses holding off on investing further due to the massive, expensive health insurance regulations under the ACA.

4) Hagan lied and said in more ways than one at least 24 times, “If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it.”

5) Senator Hagan had the opportunity in 2010 to sign on to a Republican bill that would have kept people from losing their plans on Obamacare. She voted against it.

I could go on but you get the picture.  There are other ways our health insurance system could have been changed that wouldn’t have resulted in so many hundreds of thousands in this state losing plans, having to sign on to more expensive plans, losing their jobs or full time status, etc.   But Obamacare was crafted by liberal Democrats like Senator Hagan who would rather remain true to her party leaders than loyal to her state.   She chose DC Democrats over her own constituency here in the state of North Carolina on this issue. There’s simply no other way to spin it, no matter how stirring her defenses of the bill might be.

Bad news for #NCSEN’s @KayHagan: Younger voters could lean less Democratic this year

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Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC)

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) faces a tough re-election battle this year.

FiveThirtyEight has some worrisome news for NC’s Senator Kay Hagan (D) this morning (via Memeorandum):

In the past six months, eight generic ballot polls have been released with an 18- to 29-year-old cross tab. Together, they add up to well over 1,000 respondents.

Youth polls

Democrats clearly hold a lead among young voters. Across the eight surveys from Marist, the Pew Research Center and Quinnipiac, Democrats hold an average lead of 14.3 percentage points and a median lead of 12.5 points. The median may be a better indicator because of the outlier Marist poll from February, though both results are close to each other. A 14.3-point win among 18- to 29-year-olds for Democrats would match their 2010 election performance, while 12.5 points would be a little worse.

But keep in mind, these polls show Democrats — among all voters — up by an average of 0.1 percentage points and down by median 0.5 points. In other words, young voters are less Democratic in comparison to the rest of the electorate than they were in the prior two elections. In fact, they’re about a third less Democratically inclined in comparison. Voters ages 18 to 29 were 22 points more Democratic-leaning than all voters in 2012, and 21 points more Democratic-leaning in 2010. These polls show young voters just 14 points, on average, more Democratic-leaning.

This news comes on top of a recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll that indicated that younger voters were losing interest in the political process – but that those who were still interested are more likely to vote for the GOP. While a declining enthusiasm for voting among younger voters – and perhaps less of them identifying as “Democratic” – is bad enough news for Democrats in general in a critical election year, it’s especially bad news for NC”s Kay Hagan, who owes credit for her 2008 victory here entirely to the youth vote.  As I noted recently on Twitter, Hagan will have to perform a tricky two step here in North Carolina: Convincing her core base of staunch leftists to support her while at the same time attempting to pass off a “moderate” facade to middle of the road voters who could swing either way.  She’s already having trouble with the former, and the latter will be a tough sell considering she votes with the President 96% of the time.

Waning youth interest has not been lost on our celebrity President, who noted yesterday at glitzy $10,000 to $30,000 plate fundraisers in California, “When they get discouraged they don’t vote…We have to break out of that cycle, and that is what this election is about.”  That might sell well in reliably blue states like California where trust in Uncle Sam is sacrosanct, but here in North Carolina where voters are understandably more cynical about government, making a convincing argument to the contrary will be a tall order indeed.

#NCSEN match-up finally set: Tillis (R) will take on Hagan

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Thom Tillis

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis

I watched the results as they came in last night, and it was clear once the State Board of Elections site got their “display side” website errors fixed that the NC primary for the right to challenge Hagan in the fall wasn’t going to be much of a contest:

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, who had full-fledged support from the state and national Republican establishment, beat back challengers favored by tea party activists and Christian conservatives to win the right Tuesday to take on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in November.

In Tillis’ victory speech, delivered in front of an American flag at an uptown Charlotte hotel, he wasted no time in framing the fall campaign as a fight to not only retire Hagan, but also strike a blow against President Barack Obama’s policies and wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats.

“Kay Hagan and (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid are nothing but an echo chamber for President Obama’s worst ideas,” Tillis said. “If we want to change the mess of Obamacare, we have to change our senator.”

[…]

With 97 percent of the precincts reporting, Tillis, who lives in Huntersville, received 45.67 percent of the vote. He needed 40 percent to avoid a July 15 runoff that would have forced him to spend precious time and money that he’ll now get to spend trying to unseat Hagan.

For Brannon supporters, this loss is understandably a bitter pill to swallow.  Brannon was the Tea Party favorite here, had the backing of popular Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, popular conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, and the conservative group Freedomworks. They campaigned hard, but in the end primary voters picked Tillis – who had the backing of Karl Rove, NC Governor Pat McCrory, former FL Governor Jeb Bush and even had a late endorsement by Mitt Romney.

Hopefully the wounds this primary inflicted on Republicans in this state will heal soon and everyone will unite, because we need to defeat Kay Hagan and make both Obama’s and Harry Reid’s jobs a lot more difficult – which the GOP can do with a majority in the US Senate:

The winner this fall could tilt the partisan balance in the closely split U.S. Senate, and North Carolina’s importance in the national picture is readily apparent in the nearly $20 million spent by outside political groups in recent months to influence the race, particularly voters’ opinions about the federal health care law.

[…]

But, to beat Hagan, Tillis will first have to unite a state GOP that remains a reflection of the fissures dividing the national party. The combined vote totals for Brannon and Harris nearly matched Tillis’ total.

“The factionalization within the state GOP is still there,” said Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College. “The big question for Tillis: Can he consolidate that half of the Republican Party and get them energized for November? He’ll have their votes – if he can get them to the polls.”

Tillis reached out to his primary opponents during his speech Tuesday night, saying he and they “are on the same team – the team to beat Kay Hagan.”

Neither Tillis nor Brannon would have been my first choices to take on Kay Hagan, but Tillis is the winner and more than anything I want the woman responsible for helping craft and shove through Obamacare – which has cost this state jobs and caused nearly 500,000 people to lose their insurance – out of office.  Senator Hagan is also staunchly pro-abortion, and has the backing of abortion groups like Emily’s List.  North Carolina is a pro-life state, and I hope Thom Tillis doesn’t hesitate to point that out when Hagan tries the tired, stale war on women tactics her campaign staff are already launching.

Onward we go.

Finally here: It’s primary day in North Carolina

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Vote here

Sign at my polling place this morning.

After what seemed like forever, North Carolina voters go to the polls today to choose candidates for the fall elections.  The race that is attracting the most attention here, of course, is the one for the US Senate – where several Republican candidates are vying for the chance to try to defeat incumbent Senator – and key crafter of the Obamacare bill – Kay Hagan (D) in the fall.  NC General Assembly House Speaker Thom Tillis and OB-GYN Greg Brannon have consistently polled the highest in most polls taken over the last few months, but because there are so many candidates there is speculation that there may be a run-off because in order to win the primary here you must have at least 40% of the vote.

In any event, I cast my ballot today in the US Senate primary and the NC12 primary (where I know the GOP winner will have little hope of winning in the fall – Mel Watt’s district, FYI) at a local elementary school just as some of the kids were getting off their buses.  One little girl said hello to me as she peered into the voting room (gym) with big eyes. It was so precious – and a refresher to anyone who may have forgotten that children are the ones whose futures we’re voting to protect.

Lord willing, I’ll be on later this evening to live-tweet polling results from NC as they come in on several races.  Polls close at 7:30 ET. You can follow me here, and in the event I tweet too much, I’ll tweet here for NC results.  Here’s the state’s official link for voting results.

More bad news for #NCSEN’s @KayHagan: Youth interest in elections is declining

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Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC)

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) faces a tough re-election battle this year.

The Politico reports this morning that a key voting bloc crucial to Democrat election and re-election plans is increasingly losing interest in voting, which could spell disaster for the left – especially in key midterm election years like this one (bolded emphasis added by me):

A new poll holds some grim omens for Democrats in this year’s midterm elections: young voters have dwindling interest in the November races, and the ones who do plan to cast ballots are more likely to vote Republican.

According to the poll, conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics and released Tuesday, just 23 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 say they will definitely vote in the midterms. That’s an 11 percent drop from the last time the survey was taken — five months ago — and the lowest recorded number since the poll was established more than a decade ago.

Democrats, who are waging an uphill battle to protect their Senate majority and to win control of the House of Representatives, are trying to mobilize the coalition of young, minority and female voters that helped President Barack Obama win a second term in 2012.

But midterm elections are typically dominated by a group of older and whiter voters, making the challenge a steep one for the party, which has been on the defensive thanks in part to Republican attacks on Obamacare and a flood of spending by outside conservative groups.

According to the poll, interest among the so-called “millennials” is even lower than at a similar point in the 2010 midterms, when Democrats suffered a blowout. According to Harvard IOP’s February 2010 survey, 31 percent of voters under 30 said they would definitely be voting.

The falling youth interest in the elections correlated with their rising cynicism about politicians and declining trust in government institutions — the latter reaching historic lows for the survey.

This comes on the heels of a report yesterday from the New York Times’ “Upshot” blog which pointed out that the Democrats’ worst potential turnout problem in 2014 is North Carolina, where incumbent Senator Kay Hagan (D) – incidentally a key Senator in crafting Obamacare, which caused 473,000 North Carolinians to lose their health insurance plans – is facing an uphill fight in her battle to win a second term to the US Senate.   The article also reminded that the key reason Hagan won in 2008 by 8 points was due entirely to the youth vote:

When young voters stay home, the state reverts to its Republican past and the more conservative bent of the South. And judging from the last midterm election, the plunge in youth turnout could be huge. Eighteen- to 25-year-olds accounted for a mere 3.9 percent of voters in 2010, down from 10.4 percent of voters in 2008, according to the secretary of state’s office. Older voters jumped from 17.5 to 26.1 percent of those turning out.

Granted, 2010 was probably a worst-case picture for youth turnout; there wasn’t a competitive statewide contest and it was a bad year for Democrats. But nonwhite turnout also dropped, even beyond that caused by lower youth turnout. Combined, the consequences are potentially devastating for Democrats. Mitt Romney’s modest victory margin of 2 percentage points would have turned into a 10-point rout if the 2012 electorate had been as old and white as it was in 2010.

That’s a big problem for Ms. Hagan. She originally won her seat in 2008, when she won by a decisive 8 points. But her entire margin of victory came from voters under 30, who gave her a staggering 71 percent of their votes and represented about 17 percent of the electorate. If the voting public had been as old and white as it was in the 2010 midterms, Ms. Hagan’s share of the vote would have fallen beneath 50 percent; she still would have won, helped by a libertarian candidate, Chris Cole, who appeared to erode the vote for her Republican opponent.

No matter who Hagan’s eventual GOP opponent turns out to be, the road ahead for her is going to be up and down, winding, and brutal – in spite of her campaign ca$h advantage and increased helped from outside spending groups/SupePACS like the pro-abortion Emily’s List. All the money in the world, all the dodging, weaving, and deflecting – and seriously lame attempts at ignoring the issue –  can’t and won’t erase the fact that she shares in the responsibility of foisting the so-called “Affordable Care Act” onto the American people – specifically, the voters of North Carolina who she claims to represent.   Jobs have been lost, full time status for many has been bumped down to part time, and as I noted earlier hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians lost health insurance plans they liked – all of this because of Obamacare.   Add  the growing youth dissatisfaction with politicians and the political process in general to this and you get a super-high hurdle Hagan may not be able to successfully jump over on the way to the finish line come November.

Stay tuned.

NYT: Midterm turnout problem may hit #NCSEN’s @KayHagan the hardest

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Barack Obama, Kay Hagan

President Barack Obama is greeted by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. as he arrives at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Monday, June 13, 2011, in Morrisville, N.C. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On top of the Obamacare issue, which is having a major impact on vulnerable Democrat incumbents in battleground states, the NYT’s Upshot blog notes that Democrats are also facing a serious potential midterm election turnout problem  – one that may impact Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) the hardest:

Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina seems as if she should be part of the firewall in the Democrats’ bid to retain the Senate, considering that incumbents tend to win re-election in states that are competitive in presidential elections.

But Ms. Hagan is far more vulnerable than she appears at first glance. North Carolina might be the state where Democrats suffer the most from low midterm turnout. The state is divided between older, culturally Southern and conservative voters, and younger, more diverse and more liberal voters, especially around the Research Triangle and Charlotte.

In presidential elections, those two groups fight nearly to a draw. In midterm elections, when older voters turn out at much higher rates than younger ones, the Republicans have a big advantage.

If Ms. Hagan cannot broaden her political appeal, it is not clear she can win a midterm election in North Carolina.

The gap between North Carolina’s younger (under 30) and older voters (over 65) is among the most pronounced in the country. In 2012, North Carolina’s seniors voted for Mitt Romney by 29 points, more than twice his 12-point advantage nationally among older voters, according to exit polls. By contrast, President Obama won North Carolina’s young voters by a 35-point margin, better than the 24-point margin he won nationally. This 64-point gap between young and old North Carolinians was nearly twice as large as it was nationally. Lower youth turnout, then, is twice as damaging to Democrats in North Carolina than it is nationally.

The article also points out that Hagan won NC in 2008 by 8 points – a margin of victory that in its entirety “came from voters under 30″, and that President Obama, between 2008 and 2012, “lost more ground among younger voters than any other age group.” Make sure to read the whole thing – it’s a report that will give the Hagan team serious headaches and nightmares, if they haven’t already identified the issue themselves.

Break out the popcorn! ;)