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WASHINGTON-- Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., raised $2.8 million for her re-election campaign in the first quarter of this year, Federal Election Commission filings show, and now has $8.5 million cash to spend on a closely watched battle that could help determine which party controls the Senate.

Hagan, a Greensboro resident who is seeking her second term, has raised a total of $12.7 million in this campaign cycle, with $3 million coming from special-interest political action committees and $8.7 million contributed by individuals.

The North Carolina race is one of the most combative Senate contests in the country, and key to Republicans' goal of picking up at least six seats to regain control of the Senate. An April 8 poll by Public Policy Polling showed Hagan trailing most of her potential Republican opponents by margins of 4 points or less. A barrage of television advertising paid for by conservative groups has attacked her for supporting President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

The three leading GOP candidates are Thom Tillis of Cornelius and Mark Harris and Greg Brannon, both of Raleigh

Harris, a Baptist preacher, raised $397,580 in the first quarter and has $408,298 to spend. His campaign said that represents a near doubling of his cash on hand since Jan. 1. He has raised $803,736 overall, with only $2,400 coming from PACs.

"We aren't spending 90 cents to make a dollar," Harris said in a statement. "We are running a focused and disciplined effort that has allowed us to enter the final stages with the resources necessary to carry us past May 6th (the date of the North Carolina primary)."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Paul C. Barton at pbarton@gannett.comFollow on Twitter @PaulCBarton

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