Politico: Top Republicans say they have no hope for Dole in North Carolina. "There’s no point in even counting the votes," said a top McCain official.
Atrios asks, "Anyone know how Kay Hagan is apparently pulling this off?"
Well, yes. If you feel like clicking the "Chasing Liddy" tag at the bottom of this post, you'll find almost a year's worth of links and posts.
The short version:
--Dole has disappointed North Carolinians, including those of us who disagree with her positions on many issues, who expected her to be a star in the Senate.
--Dole has been an absentee Senator. We all knew it, but recent reports that she spent a total of 33 days in NC over the course of two years in her term resounded like coffin nails.
--Dole is closely identified with Bush.
--The DSCC has pumped a ton of money into NC to get the message out on all of the above, and the ads have been good.
--Hagan, a powerful member of the state senate, got immediate buy-in from party leaders and was able to raise money early.
--Hagan has run a steady campaign, criss-crossing the state in the style of her uncle, Walkin' Lawton Chiles. She's an appealing, centrist Democrat who plays well across North Carolina.
--Dole doesn't seem to be trying very hard. Her public appearances have been limited, and her ads have been lame. National support for her seems desultory, perhaps a result of her leadership role in the disastrous 2006 GOP Senate effort.
--Hagan has Obama's strong ground game, and the tech-smart, energized NCDP behind her (watch party chair Jerry Meek -- he's a star).
A Republican official in NC told me last month he expects Hagan to win, and that other than the loss of a vote in the Senate, he wasn't too upset about it. People in other parts of the country don't necessarily understand that NC is not the Deep South, and that voters here routinely split the ticket. Still, becoming the first Dem to win a Senate seat in a presidential year since Sam Ervin in 1968 would be a big damn deal.