WASHINGTON, D.C. — This year, the senatorial races will decide the trajectory of politics for at least the next two years. Currently, the 113th Congress is split fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans: 53 Democratic seats and 45 Republican seats. However, the midterm elections could result in a Republican dominated Senate.
For most states, the electorate leans either Republican or Democratic, but for five states, based on Politico data, the polling suggests the electorate is split evenly. These states are North Carolina, Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas and Iowa. For the candidates in these states, every vote counts.
The race for North Carolina senate is between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. Kay Hagan, the incumbent, is a Democrat. According to polling from June 18 to 22, 49 percent of likely voters plan to vote for Hagan. Thom Tillis, a Republican, opposes her in the race. He currently holds 45 percent of potential voters. Six percent remain undecided.
Whatever the election results are, these candidates could be the deciding factor in whether or not to keep funding for international aid. Currently, $30 billion, only 1 percent of the national budget, goes to foreign assistance. This percent, as compared to other developed nations, is relatively small. Each of the candidate’s policies, though, reflects the importance of foreign aid and a focus on reducing global poverty.
Kay Hagan (D)
Hagan served as a State representative before her first term in Senate, which will end this year. Hagan’s foreign policy stance was reflected in her votes while Senate was in session.
In 2012, Hagan voted for The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This would have limited discrimination against disabled people in family life, education, health care, social programs and employment. Oftentimes, poor living conditions result in malnutrition or diseases that cause disabilities. Those who are disabled face high levels of discrimination and do not receive a fair opportunity for employment, education and healthcare. This traps many into the cycle of poverty.
In 2011, Hagan, along with Senator John McCain, introduced the Foreign Earnings and Reinvestment Act. Though it failed to pass, the act would have lowered the tax rate on foreign earnings for American companies. This increases the incentive for American companies to expand abroad and employ individuals who could potentially be experiencing the consequences of poverty.
More recently, Hagan voted for S 744, Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernzation Act, which required that the U.S. Agency for International Development ensure the safe return of illegal immigrants to their country of residence. These countries often battle high poverty rates, so this would allow for U.S. contribution to these nations.
Thom Tillis (R)
Thoms Tillis previously represented District 98 in the State House of Representatives. In terms of immigration, he believes the borders should be secured but has not expressed an opinion on immigration reform.
Tillis is primarily concerned with the success of American business. He opposes government intervention or regulation in business and wishes to “create an environment where business can flourish and create jobs.” This stance is conducive to foreign investment, as foreign investment, especially in developing nations with high rates of poverty, often leads to business expansion and greater employment for Americans.
Further, Tillis wishes to reduce the national deficit by the “Cut, Cap and Balance” approach, which translates to cutting spending now and reducing it in the future. Greater employment in the United States due to reductions in global poverty could result in reductions in entitlement spending, one of the biggest components of the federal budget.
– Tara Wilson