Senator Hagan a no-show at debate

A debate in North Carolina that was supposed to feature incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger state senator Thom Tillis ended up with Tillis sitting next to an empty chair because Hagan declined to participate.

Fox News:

The program initially billed as a debate between Tillis and other candidates turned into a one-hour conversation with him and two reporters, as well as responses to emailed or recorded questions from the public. Hagan announced over the summer her decision not to participate, while Libertarian Sean Haugh didn't meet a 15 percent polling threshold to join Tillis.

An empty seat was placed next to Tillis at the Time Warner Cable News studios in Raleigh as the state House speaker answered questions on many topics as the start of early in-person voting Thursday neared.

"I'm disappointed that Sen. Hagan's not here," Tillis said in a closing statement in which he repeated themes from their previous three televised debates with Hagan in which he linked her closely to President Barack Obama's policies.

While Haugh appeared on a post-debate program afterward on Time Warner Cable, Hagan kept busy with a statewide tour Tuesday, visiting three locations, including a Wilson County farm late in the day. Hagan's campaign has reiterated she declined the invitation in July and that three debates also were held during North Carolina's most recent U.S. Senate election in 2010. Haugh participated in one of the three.

On the show, Tillis accused Hagan of supporting regulations and government programs that would kill jobs in North Carolina and nationwide. He reiterated that state legislators and business leaders should decide what the minimum wage should be, saying an artificially high minimum wage nationally could eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs. Hagan and other Democrats want the federal minimum wage raised to just above $10 an hour.

"This is just another regulatory overreach that's going to put people out of work," Tillis said.

On climate change, he said "climate does change over time" and said the U.S. is a small player in the production of greenhouse gas emissions compared to China. He said Obama's proposed policies to curb the emissions would be devastating to job creation.

Interestingly, Hagan's absense did not stop her staff from tweeting throughout the entire event:

Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) was a no-show at Tuesday nights debate with Republican opponent Thom Tillis, but that didn’t stop her campaign from attempting to shape the message of the debate on Twitter.

“Senator Hagan’s campaign staff was on Twitter trying to shape this conversation,” said a local news anchor in North Carolina following the debate.

Tweets even came from Hagan’s official campaign feed responding to the topics being discussed by Tillis, such as this comment from Hagan discussing the Farm Bill.

Despite Obama's unpopularity in the state, Hagan has been hanging tough with the most recent polls giving her a slight edge. It's hard to see how her failure to debate her opponent will help her, however, as she basically gave Tillis a one hour free air time.

A debate in North Carolina that was supposed to feature incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger state senator Thom Tillis ended up with Tillis sitting next to an empty chair because Hagan declined to participate.

Fox News:

The program initially billed as a debate between Tillis and other candidates turned into a one-hour conversation with him and two reporters, as well as responses to emailed or recorded questions from the public. Hagan announced over the summer her decision not to participate, while Libertarian Sean Haugh didn't meet a 15 percent polling threshold to join Tillis.

An empty seat was placed next to Tillis at the Time Warner Cable News studios in Raleigh as the state House speaker answered questions on many topics as the start of early in-person voting Thursday neared.

"I'm disappointed that Sen. Hagan's not here," Tillis said in a closing statement in which he repeated themes from their previous three televised debates with Hagan in which he linked her closely to President Barack Obama's policies.

While Haugh appeared on a post-debate program afterward on Time Warner Cable, Hagan kept busy with a statewide tour Tuesday, visiting three locations, including a Wilson County farm late in the day. Hagan's campaign has reiterated she declined the invitation in July and that three debates also were held during North Carolina's most recent U.S. Senate election in 2010. Haugh participated in one of the three.

On the show, Tillis accused Hagan of supporting regulations and government programs that would kill jobs in North Carolina and nationwide. He reiterated that state legislators and business leaders should decide what the minimum wage should be, saying an artificially high minimum wage nationally could eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs. Hagan and other Democrats want the federal minimum wage raised to just above $10 an hour.

"This is just another regulatory overreach that's going to put people out of work," Tillis said.

On climate change, he said "climate does change over time" and said the U.S. is a small player in the production of greenhouse gas emissions compared to China. He said Obama's proposed policies to curb the emissions would be devastating to job creation.

Interestingly, Hagan's absense did not stop her staff from tweeting throughout the entire event:

Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) was a no-show at Tuesday nights debate with Republican opponent Thom Tillis, but that didn’t stop her campaign from attempting to shape the message of the debate on Twitter.

“Senator Hagan’s campaign staff was on Twitter trying to shape this conversation,” said a local news anchor in North Carolina following the debate.

Tweets even came from Hagan’s official campaign feed responding to the topics being discussed by Tillis, such as this comment from Hagan discussing the Farm Bill.

Despite Obama's unpopularity in the state, Hagan has been hanging tough with the most recent polls giving her a slight edge. It's hard to see how her failure to debate her opponent will help her, however, as she basically gave Tillis a one hour free air time.