Back in July, we wrote about the NCSEN race possibly being off the critical path in the contest for a Republican majority in the US Senate. National pundit Larry Sabato had said as much in his Crystal Ball newsletter when he failed to list North Carolina in his listing of the 6 most likely Republican pickups.
Much of Sabato's analysis had to do with the widening of the playing field to include Iowa. State Senator Joni Earnst had made that an unexpected possibility for the GOP by running a spirited campaign as a conservative in that state's primary and winning handilly.
Over the last two months things have not improved for Team Tillis here in North Carolina and only gotten better for Team Earnst in Iowa. A look at the recent polls for the two races at RealClearPolitics.com tells the whole story. Tillis's numbers have been going the wrong way and Earnst is definitely gaining momentum. This past week Sabato actually moved NC to leans Democrat.
The one thing that can turn this type of situation around is money and apparently that is now in short supply as well. If you are on Republican email lists, you have no doubt recently received the panicky emails from the NRSC begging for money.
How may of those emails do you think received responses like #remebermississippi? How much money has the NRSC's and Karl Rove's war conservatives this election cycle cost the party and individual candidates?
The number has to be in the many millions of dollars.
So now, the NRSC and it's establishment allies are facing a choice. They can pour more money from their limited resources into a state like North Carolina in the hopes they can buy the general election for Thom Tillis like they did the Republican primary here, or they can use those limited resources to support a candidate like Earnst in Iowa - the type of candidate they have spent this whole election cycle trying to beat.
There is much to think about in the poetic justice of that choice.