First round to Tillis

From an editorial Friday in the Greensboro News & Record:

Sen. Kay Hagan defended her math skills in her debate with Speaker Thom Tillis Wednesday, but she failed to deflect other attacks as effectively.

The Democratic incumbent could have done so much better, but she let her Republican challenger get through the televised encounter with little damage.

The debate presented a chance for the candidates to connect directly with voters. Tillis made the most of it, touting accomplishments as speaker of the N.C. House and criticizing Hagan’s record. She missed openings to drive holes through his legislative record and to explain her own accomplishments.

Tillis faulted Hagan’s math skills when she charged he cut education spending by $500 million. He boasted of the average 7 percent pay raise provided for teachers this year. Both are right, with caveats.

Some critical math for both candidates is that there are 60 days until the election. Both have much work to do to win over voters. Tillis’ effort in the first debate was a little better than Hagan’s.