The race between incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis was too close to call in North Carolina.
Tillis had 49 percent and Hagan had 47 percent of the vote with nearly 80 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, according to the state Board of Elections.
Some of the state’s most populous counties had not completely reported results.
The race pitted Tillis, the speaker of the GOP-controlled state House, against Hagan, a one-term Democrat with a record of backing President Barack Obama and his health care law.
The Affordable Care Act, generally, has not been popular in North Carolina.
Voters who backed Tillis said they wanted change.
“I think we are on a course to doom,” said Paula Crowther outside Roberson High School in Skyland. “I am really worried about it. All the policies that have been worked on for the last eight years have to change and it was important to me to help make a change.”
Democratic voter Ron Burrus said the Senate race was his main motivation for casting a ballot at the Wesley Grant Center in Asheville.
“The fact that the balance of power in the Senate is at play,” said Burrus. He pointed to Tillis’ role as speaker of the N.C. House, leading the charge in a wave of conservative legislation.
“He cut jobs with the teachers, abortion, Medicaid — we need people who help the state of North Carolina. I just don’t think we’re going the right direction with Tillis,” he said.
The campaigns headed into Tuesday continuing to trade blows.
The Tillis campaign, late on Monday, blasted Hagan for a radio advertisement featuring an endorsement from Obama.
The president has been absent from the race. He narrowly won the state in 2008, but lost it in 2012.
Hagan’s campaign, late on Monday, pointed to predictions of her victory from U.S. News and World Report and Larry Sabato’s crystal ball website at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
Libertarian Party nominee Sean Haugh is also on the ballot.
In total, the candidates and outside groups have spent and estimated $100 million, according to the Associated Press.
Hagan outspent Tillis by a nearly 3-to-1 margin entering the campaign’s final weeks.
Associated Press contributed.
SOURCE: Asheville Citizen-Times and Associated Press