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2 Democrats challenge favored Hagan in NC primary

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

While many Republicans want to vote U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan out of office in November, other voters get the chance to affirm her as the Democratic Party's nominee with their votes in May.

Hagan will be on the May 6 primary ballot because she drew two Democratic challengers during the candidate filing period - Ernest Reeves of Greenville and Will Stewart of Hampstead.

Hagan is the overwhelming favorite to win the primary, which is open to registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters. She's focusing her attention on Republican candidates, in particular state House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Reeves returned to his native Greenville in 2006 not long after a 20-year military career that included stops at the Pentagon and the Middle East. He said he feels like he has a good of a chance to win the Senate seat. It "doesn't belong to Kay Hagan," Reeves said. "It belongs to the 10 million citizens of North Carolina."

If elected, Reeves said he would focus on national security, preserving the health care overhaul law while making some changes to it, and promoting equal pay for women.

Stewart, who operates a computer repair shop, said at the campaign's start he believed Hagan hasn't done enough for veterans and that voters are tired of conventional politics.

"I'm pretty sure that's going to work for my benefit," he said, adding that while challenging Hagan is like David going against Goliath, "Democrats will at least have another option."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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