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NC Senate Debate Preview: Political experts say Supreme Court vacancy will be talking point

Tillis-Cunningham Debate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Ahead of the big NC Senate debate between incumbent Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, political experts FOX 46 spoke with say the Supreme Court will have to be one of the big topics.

“By this time, it’s registering voters and mobilizing voters. There’s not a lot of time between now and the election to persuade voters,” Susan Roberts, a political science professor at Davidson College.

That is exactly what the candidates will be working at tonight. Cunningham and Tillis are going for your vote.

The FOX 46/Emerson College poll on the Senate race found that around eight percent are undecided right now in the race, but Cunningham in the lead by a nearly six-point margin.

Now, however, numbers are likely facing a shake-up now with the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the ripple effects we’ve seen in the last few days in Washington.

“Any commentator is going to add questions about access to abortion and the Supreme Court,” Robins said.

Roberts has been paying attention to the race and says those topics will be watched with a close eye by voters, who have already been inundated with ads and messages on the candidates.

“It’s a make or break senate election for the nation, as a whole,” Catawba College political science professor J. Michael Bitzer said.

Political experts say this is the race to watch. A lot of money has gone into the senate election in North Carolina so far. But tonight, no ads, no filter and that could make the decision for those going to the polls.

“I think sometimes, people look at the debates and was there a gaffe?  Was there a wrong facial expression?  So there are ways, substance freeways, that they can look at the style of the debate, and I think we’ll look at it as much as anything else,” Roberts said.  

What could be asked could make the decision on your vote.

FOX 46 is your local election headquarters. Check back for updates and continuing coverage throughout the night on the debate.

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