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Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis stop in Cornelius on rainy Saturday

North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan stopped in Cornelius on Saturday to rally volunteers shortly after her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, cast his ballot in early voting at Cornelius Town Hall.

With the race for one of the country’s closest-watched Senate races winding down, both candidates were upbeat about their prospects, despite the wet and blustery weather.

On the final day of early voting in North Carolina, Tillis and his wife, Susan, who live in Huntersville, arrived at Cornelius Town Hall shortly before polls opened at 10 a.m.

As the North Carolina House speaker made his way to the back of a long line that already threaded through the hallway, some people yelled words of encouragement such as, “Good luck,” or, “Hang in there.”

Cameras flashed while Tillis inched along and chatted with other folks in line. Later, he said the talk wasn’t about politics but football and the importance of voting.

When he left the building, Tillis told those waiting in line, “Thanks for voting, no matter how you voted.”

Outside in the rain, Tillis said he was impressed that so many people came out for early voting despite the bad weather.

“I’m glad to see people are taking it (the election) so seriously,” he said.

Tillis said he put 800 miles on his truck Thursday and Friday while traveling to 18 locations around the state, thanking volunteers for their work.

With only three days left in a tight race, Tillis said, “I feel pretty good about where we are.”

His schedule for the rest of Saturday included visits to two Charlotte polling locations, the Balls Creek Republican Fish Fry in Catawba and a Lincoln County GOP rally in Lincolnton.

First-term Sen. Hagan, who is fighting for re-election, stopped by her campaign office shortly after noon to launch a canvass with volunteers committed to getting out the vote for her.

Hagan told the group of nearly 20 that there were 100 canvass sites all over North Carolina, including 17 in Mecklenburg County.

“Lets get to work, everybody,” she said.

A member of her campaign staff said Hagan cast an early vote on Oct. 24 in Greensboro, where she was headed later Saturday afternoon to launch another canvass.

Hagan felt confident.

“We’ve got the momentum,” she said. “We’ve got thousands of volunteers out on a rainy Saturday all across North Carolina.”

June Kimmel of Davidson planned to start knocking on doors in support of Hagan later Saturday afternoon.

“I want women to be elected,” said Kimmel, 83, retired regional director of the N.C. Council For Women. “I want women to run. And I want women to vote.”

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