- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Former Secretary of State of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Democrats in North Carolina to work to re-elect Sen. Kay Hagan, stumping on Hagan’s behalf Saturday in a race that will help decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Clinton headlined a rally in Charlotte with Hagan, who is locked in a tight re-election campaign against Republican challenger Thom Tillis.

Before more than 1,000 people inside a convention center ballroom, Clinton said the race will come down to turnout. And she asked Hagan’s supporters to take people to the polls.

“A race will often come down to who has more money, who is peddling more fear and who turns out. And there is nothing more important for Kay than who turns out,” she said.

Hagan also focused on that point, noting millions have been spent by outside groups hoping to sway the outcome.

“You better believe that the eyes of the country are on North Carolina right now,” Hagan said. “Folks all across the nation are looking at our state to see if our grassroots effort can still triumph over out-of-state billionaires” who are “trying to buy this election.”

She was referring to Americans for Prosperity, the political action organization backed by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, which is running negative ads against Hagan.

“I want you to help me send a message loud and clear … North Carolina is not for sale.”

The GOP has long listed North Carolina as a top target to help win back the Senate.

The campaign is considered the most expensive in the country when spending by Hagan, Tillis and outside groups is taken into account. The Center for Responsive Politics says the combined amount has now reached almost $90 million.

“I can only win the election with your help,” Hagan said, adding that early voting has begun and that she needs her supporters to “take three people to the polls before election day.”

Tillis has brought in his share of top GOP leaders to campaign for him this fall, including 2016 hopefuls New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky

On Friday night, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appeared at a rally in Smithfield that drew 5,000 people.

Perry said Tillis would usher in a Republican majority in the chamber that can force the hand of President Barack Obama to fortify American foreign policy.

Tillis campaigned Saturday in two North Carolina counties. The state GOP made note of the appearance of Hillary Clinton in Charlotte by saying Hagan is bringing in a lot of people except President Barack Obama, whose policies are unpopular in the state.

“Even though Senator Hagan won’t invite the president to North Carolina, her appearance with Hillary Clinton is another silent endorsement of his failed policies,” state GOP Executive Director Todd Poole said.

An Elon University Poll last month gave Hagan a 19 percentage-point advantage over Tillis among likely women voters. Among single women expected to vote, Hagan led 65 percent to 18 percent for Tillis.

She again blamed Tillis for declining to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people through Obama’s signature health care law. More than half of the new enrollees would be women, she said.

Hagan also said Tillis supported policies that limit access to birth control and hit him hard again on a Democratic bill that died in the state House last year that would have required employers to pay the same to employees of both genders with the same job for the same work.

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