In a huge defeat for both Democrats and advocates of reproductive justice, the Democratic incumbent senator in North Carolina, Kay Hagan, has lost re-election to far-right Republican Thom Tillis.
Widely seen as the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history—spending has surpassed $100 million—the Southern Senatorial race, forecast as neck-and-neck, was a last hope for Democrats to hold onto a Senate majority before 2016.
Tillis, who had the support of Tea Party Republicans including Rand Paul, is an extreme anti-abortion advocate. Tillis supports “personhood” initiatives, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, forced ultrasounds, and at least two omnibus anti-abortion bills in North Carolina.
The soon-to-be governor has also made several racist comments about welfare, including one which equated public benefit programs to reparations for slavery.
Hagan, a pro-choice advocate, was a cosponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and supported the Paycheck Fairness Act. Hagan introduced a bill to reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, and support policies that increase access to reproductive health care. She was also a supporter of the Violence Against Women Act.