Surprise: Dem Senator Won't Attend Obama's Speech in NC

Posted: Jan 13, 2014 2:45 PM
Surprise: Dem Senator Won't Attend Obama's Speech in NC

President Obama is giving a major address in North Carolina about the economy on Wednesday, and guess what? Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) won't be attending. Surprise:

One of North Carolina's most prominent Democrats doesn't plan to attend President Barack Obama's speech Wednesday in Raleigh.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said Monday the senator won't be at the president's event on the North Carolina State University campus because she'll be in Washington as the Senate meets this week.

The president is visiting North Carolina for what the White House calls "an event on the economy."

Republicans seeking to unseat Hagan in November are sure to point out her expected absence. The Greensboro lawmaker has been attempting to thread the needle politically by supporting the president while criticizing the administration on the health care law rollout.

N.C. State University is distributing event tickets to students.

This is a difficult balancing act, to be sure. And although she may have very good reasons for not attending, appearing side-by-side with the president in her home state is politically toxic in any case. Obamacare is almost certainly undermining her chances of serving another term, and thus, appearing in public with the law’s chief salesman will only remind voters that she is partly responsible for the damage the federal overhaul has wrought.

Speaking of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act is seemingly undermining another Democratic incumbent running for re-election in 2014: Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK):

It's voters like Jammy Turner who give Republicans hope of ending an Arkansas political dynasty and taking control of the U.S. Senate this fall.

Turner, among the hundreds who attended the annual "Coon Supper" on Saturday in this town about 100 miles southeast of Little Rock, said he respects Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who want a third term. But Turner supports Republican Tom Cotton, a freshman congressman who says Pryor's ties to President Barack Obama make him the wrong senator for Arkansas.

"I think Pryor is a good advocate for Arkansas," said Turner, 34, a salesman for Monsanto crop products who wears a neatly cropped beard and denim jacket. "But I don't think the Democratic Party, in general, makes decisions for the better good." That good, he said, includes personal freedom and self-reliance.

As the article notes, yes, Pryor is well-known and relatively well-liked in his home state. (His father represented Arkansas in Washington as a congressman and a senator -- and also served as the state’s governor). But Pryor’s ties to the national party could very well upend his bid for re-election, no matter how hard he tries to portray himself as a “Pryor” first -- rather than a “Democrat,” as one voter phrased it to the AP.

For both incumbent senators, distancing themselves from the Affordable Care Act -- a law they both championed -- may prove impossible.

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