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In North Carolina, a midterm preview for nation

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BILL BARROW | May 7, 2014 03:45 PM EST | AP


ATLANTA (AP) — Establishment Republican Thom Tillis' victory in the Senate primary in North Carolina has spurred both sides to draw battle lines that could frame Senate races across the nation.

After dispatching several tea party and Christian-right rivals on Tuesday, Tillis quickly cast Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan as an acolyte of President Barack Obama. Hagan countered just as fast, painting the speaker of the North Carolina House as the face of Republican extremism.

It's a strategic model that could help determine who controls the Senate after November, with similar races playing out in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky.