The Republican frontrunner to challenge Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina released his first television advertisement of the midterm election cycle Thursday.
In the ad, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis attacks Hagan for her support of President Obama's signature health care law — hitting on a theme that will be popular among Republican candidates nationwide in 2014.
"Kay Hagan enabled President Obama's worst ideas," Tillis says in the ad. "She refuses to clean up his mess, so you and I have to clean up hers."
Tillis will likely face formidable competition in the Republican primary race from Greg Brannon, a physician endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Mark Harris, a Baptist pastor.
But national Republicans have coalesced around Tillis, giving him a financial and operational edge over his Republican opponents. Last month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., conferred his blessing on Tillis when he headlined a fundraiser for the candidate at a lobbyist's Capitol Hill home.
Hagan, meanwhile, is perceived by both parties to be one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the country. Public opinion polling shows her running neck-and-neck with her potential Republican challengers in a state that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney carried in 2012.