Created: Thu, 06 Feb 2014 01:15:09 EST
Updated: Thu, 06 Feb 2014 01:15:09 EST
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Conservative groups are spending more money in North Carolina than anywhere else in hopes of ousting a Democratic senator and moving closer to a GOP Senate majority.
First-term Sen. Kay Hagan is trying to stop a four-year Republican surge that turned the state's government sharply rightward and dealt President Barack Obama his only 2012 defeat in a fully contested state.
Republicans want to focus the campaign overwhelmingly on what they call "Obamacare."
The Republican establishment backs Thom Tillis. He's speaker of the North Carolina House.
But he faces feisty leaders of the tea party and conservative Christian movements in a crowded May 6 primary.
Democrats say Republicans overplayed their hand when they took full control of the government in 2012. They vow to hold Tillis and others GOP leaders accountable.