Local Politics

Hagan reflects on Senate win, looks to Washington

Posted November 5, 2008 4:46 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2008 9:24 p.m. EST

— After a Senate race that took a negative turn in its last week, U.S. Sen.-elect Kay Hagan said she is looking forward to “working closely” with opponent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Hagan described the congratulatory call she received from Dole late Tuesday as “gracious.”

“She said she would certainly help me in this transition period and I said, ‘I certainly look forward to that,’” Hagan said.

Dole is the first woman to hold a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina. Hagan has become the first Democrat to hold the seat since Sen. Jesse Helms took it for the GOP in 1972.

The bitter race heated up in the final days leading up to the election when Dole debuted an ad questioning why Hagan went to a fund-raiser at the home of a Boston man who advises the Godless Americans Political Action Committee, an atheist advocacy group.

In response, Hagan rolled out a television ad in which she told voters "I believe in God" and cited the Bible's Ninth Commandment against bearing false witness to decry her rival's tactics.

“Nobody wants their character attacked. Nobody wants personal attacks against them. Certainly that shouldn’t be in the political fray that goes on, and I think the people of North Carolina have spoken in volumes,” Hagan said Wednesday.

Hagan said she felt Dole got in the way of the change that was sweeping the country.

“People are demanding change and they want it to start right now. We’ve had eight years and so many people … losing their jobs, their incomes have gone down, houses are being foreclosed on. People are hurting,” Hagan said.

Hagan described Dole as “ineffective.”

“I couldn’t tell you what she had done for North Carolina. That’s why I got into this race. Those are the issues I campaigned on – the issues I didn’t think she was working on for working families in North Carolina. And that’s why we won,” Hagan said.

Hagan said she is putting together her legislative team. Sen. Richard Burr has offered to help Hagan make the transition to Washington. The Senator-elect will travel there later this month for an orientation for new senators.