Katie Bailey/Carolina Public Press

North Carolina’s Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, filed for reelection in Raleigh this week — officially launching what promises to be a bruising, high-profile race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Hagan is seen as vulnerable in her bid for reelection in a race into which Americans for Prosperity is pouring $1.4 million in television advertising, linking her with Obamacare.

Hagan will face Will Stewart and Fred Westphal in the May 6 Democratic primary. The Republican primary will pit perceived frontrunner state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis — who officially filed on Wednesday — against Ted Alexander, Greg Brannon, Heather Grant, Mark Harris and Edward Kryn.

Meanwhile, as the campaign season kicked into high gear, candidates continued to file across Western North Carolina for seats in the state House and Senate and for the U.S. House. The filing period closes today, Feb. 28.

Throughout the 18 westernmost counties of North Carolina, there will be 11 races for seats in the state House of Representatives, nine of which are currently held by Republicans, and five races for seats in the state Senate, four of which are held by Republicans.

Three Republicans will be running to keep their seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the districts that cover the western part of the state: Virginia Foxx in District 5, Patrick McHenry in District 10 and Mark Meadows in District 11. Read more on who is funding their campaigns.

Statewide, the U.S. Senate race will certainly be the marquee event, with Republican strategists seeing Hagan’s seat as one of the most likely to flip to their side in the November election.

A Public Policy Polling survey conducted earlier this month found Hagan to be trailing each of her potential Republican opponents, except Kryn, by two percentage points or more. The poll shows her to be even with Kryn.

According to the survey, Tillis is leading the Republican field for the chance to take on Hagan. He’s polling at 20 percent, with Brannon and Grant at 13 percent, Alexander at 10 percent, Harris at 8 percent and Kryn at 2 percent. There will be a runoff if no candidate receives 40 percent of the primary vote.

In Western North Carolina, state races are now showing the following candidates as of Wednesday, Feb. 26. Links to campaign websites are provided and will be updated as more become available:

State House races across WNC

  • Incumbent Josh Dobson, a Republican from Nebo who was appointed to the state House District 85 seat when Mitch Gillespie resigned last year, has filed for reelection. District 85 covers Avery, McDowell and Mitchell counties. No challengers have yet filed.
  • Republican Jonathan Jordan, of Jefferson, will be running for reelection in House District 93, comprising Ashe and Watauga counties. Sue Counts, a Democrat from Boone, has also filed to run.
  • Mike Hager, a Republican from Rutherfordton who is also the House Majority Whip, has filed to run for reelection in House District 112, which covers Burke and Rutherford counties. No one has yet filed to run against him.
  • In House District 113, comprising Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties, incumbent Republican Chris Whitmire, of Rosman, has filed for reelection. Democrat Norm Bossert, of Pisgah Forest, has also filed.
  • Incumbent Democrat Susan Fisher, of Asheville, is the only candidate who has filed to run in House District 114. The district covers a portion of Buncombe County.
  • Incumbent Republican Nathan Ramsey, of Fairview, has filed to run in House District 115, another Buncombe County district. His neighbor, John Ager, a Democrat, also had filed.
  • In House District 116, the third Buncombe County district, incumbent Republican Tim Moffitt has not filed but has said he plans to run. Brian Turner, a Democrat from Asheville, filed to run on opening day.
  • House District 117 incumbent Chuck McGrady has announced that he will run for reelection to represent Henderson County. He will be opposed in the Republican primary by Ronnie Edwards, of Mills River.
  • Incumbent Republican Michele Presnell, of Burnsville, filed to return to Raleigh representing House District 118, which covers Haywood, Madison and Yancey counties. Dean Hicks, a Democrat, also of Burnsville, has also filed to run.
  • In House District 119, covering Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties, incumbent Democrat Joe Sam Queen has filed. Two candidates have filed to run in the Republican primary: Mike Clampitt, of Bryson City, and Aaron Littlefield, of Cullowhee.
  • House District 120 incumbent Republican Roger West, of Marble, will run for reelection to represent Cherokee, Clay, Graham and Macon counties. No one else has yet filed.

State Senate races across WNC

  • In Senate District 45, Republican Dan Soucek, of Boone, has filed to run for reelection. In the Democratic primary, Josh Brannon, of Vilas, and James Sponenberg, of Lenoir, have filed. District 45 covers Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Watauga counties.
  • In Senate District 47 – covering Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford and Yancey counties – Republican Ralph Hise, of Spruce Pine, has filed for reelection. Michael Lavender, a McDowell county commissioner, has filed to run in the Republican primary.
  • Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville, has filed for reelection in Senate District 48. Democrat Rick Wood, also of Hendersonville, has filed as well. The district includes Buncombe, Henderson and Transylvania counties.
  • Incumbent Martin Nesbitt, a Democrat from Asheville, has filed to again represent Buncombe County in Senate District 49. No one has filed to run against him.
  • In Senate District 50 – which covers Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties – incumbent Jim Davis, a Republican from Franklin, has filed. Democrats Ron Robinson, of Sylva, and Jane Hipps, of Waynesville, have also filed.

U.S. House races across WNC

  • In U.S. House District 5, Virginia Foxx, a Republican, has filed for reelection. Philip Doyle, of Clemmons, has filed to run against her in the primary.
  • In U.S. House District 10, Patrick McHenry, a Republican, will seek reelection. He’ll face Richard Lynch in the Republican primary. Tate MacQueen, of Asheville, has filed to run in the Democratic primary.
  • In U.S. House District 11, Republican Mark Meadows will seek reelection. Two Democrats, Keith Ruehl, of Barnardsville, and Tom Hill, of Zirconia, also have filed.

Learn More

How to register to vote or update your voter registration in North Carolina

Find your current representatives and voting district

State Board of Elections candidate listing [PDF]

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Taylor Sisk is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press. Reach him at tsisk@mindspring.com.

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