- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

The key North Carolina House and Senate seats in play on Election Day:

HOUSE

- Two-term Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, is facing another tough race in his swing district, this time against Cary town councilwoman Gale Adcock. The two campaigns have spent more than $1.1 million combined.

- Rep. Gary Pendleton, R-Wake, was sworn in after the legislature adjourned last summer to fill the vacancy of the late Rep. Jim Fulghum, but he’s being treated like a seasoned incumbent by Democrat Kim Hanchette, a protester at last year’s “Moral Monday” rallies.

- Reps. Tim Moffitt and Nathan Ramsey, R-Buncombe, each have spent several hundred thousand dollars to try to fend off respective Democratic challengers Brian Turner and John Ager.

- First-term Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Yancey, is being challenged by longtime schoolteacher and coach Dean Hicks. Like Moffitt and Ramsey, Presnell has been hit hard by ads by Democratic-allied outside groups.

- Republicans hope to pick up the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Winkie Wilkins, D-Person.

- Rep. Mike Stone, R-Lee, helped shepherd the law expected to allow the first fracking permits be issued as early as next year and represents an area believed to be a key region for natural gas exploration. Stone faces Harnett County attorney Brad Salmon.

SENATE

- The election between Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort and former Sen. Stan White, D-Dare, is a rematch of the 2012 race, when Cook edged then-incumbent White by 21 votes. Cook has been the subject of ads for his votes on fracking and a Senate bill that scaled back restrictions on new landfills.

- The race between Republican John Alexander and Democrat Tom Bradshaw may be the state’s most expensive when all is said and done. Bradshaw has loaned $645,000 to his campaign, while Alexander has received $242,000 from the state Republican Party and given his campaign $95,000 in loans, according to campaign finance records. The winner succeeds retiring Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake.

- First-term Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, is getting a spirited challenge from nonprofit administrator Sarah Crawford. The environment and lobbying have been touchstone issues. Crawford’s husband is an environmental lobbyist at the General Assembly. Barefoot’s mother-in-law is a lobbyist for social conservatives with the N.C. Values Coalition.

- Sen. Wesley Meredith, R-Cumberland, is facing allegations from former Rep. Billy Richardson about Medicaid benefits Meredith’s family may have received in the 1990s. The state GOP has sent a mailer reminding voters Richardson defended a Fort Bragg soldier convicted in 2010 of a triple murder 25 years earlier.

- The seat held by Sen. Gene McLaurin, D-Richmond, is the one Republicans believe they have the best chance of flipping. His GOP challenger is business owner Tom McInnis.

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