WASHINGTON, D.C. – Having the D.C. press on your side can go a long way toward curating coverage that fuels reelection. Senator Thom Tillis (RINO-NC) has been known to hold puppy costume contests and the like to get a nice fluffy relationship going with the press, and it has mostly worked. He gets coverage as ‘good Republican’ from liberal outlets (for all the wrong reasons), and makes headlines for his impassioned defense of Bojangles biscuits.
But those headlines have been changing, notably, for Tillis over the last several months: Starting in earnest with his notorious flip-flop on the border emergency, then a focus on falling approval numbers. Tillis earns a strong primary challenger; Tillis least popular Senator in country; Tillis to unload HALF of war chest for primary; Tillis BOOED at Trump rally in NC.
No, it’s not puppies and biscuits anymore for Tillis. It’s cold hard reality that his reelection is on the rocks, and even the insulated DC press knows it.
From the Hill:
So when he took the stage at one of Trump’s rallies in Fayetteville, N.C., last week, the boos from some in the audience weren’t necessarily how a first-term Republican senator facing a primary challenge would hope to be received. […]
A Morning Consult survey released in July showed him with the lowest approval rating of any sitting senator — just 33 percent — and multiple polls have him trailing his potential Democratic challengers, including state Sen. Erica Smith and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham.
At the same time, Tillis is facing a primary challenge from retired Raleigh businessman Garland Tucker, and there are signs that he’s already beginning to take the contest seriously. He unveiled a $2.2 million television and radio ad buy on Monday touting his work with Trump. That ad campaign is slated to run through North Carolina’s March 3 primary.
Tillis’s critics say the ad campaign is a sign of growing concern about his standing among the state’s conservative primary voters. […]”
Ya think? After dismissing conservative Raleigh businessman Garland Tucker as a charlatan, the Tillis campaign plans to spend half of their entire campaign fund reserves between January and March of 2020 – the primary.
There is a lot of chatter, naturally, about all the Democrats licking their chops and raising big money to take back the senate seat for the Left. Tillis and his allies too are projecting to the general election match ups and tailwinds.
“[…] “Ultimately Republican voters come home,” one Republican operative familiar with Senate races told The Hill. “These people are going to turn out in very high intensity for the president and they’re going to vote for Thom Tillis.”
During an appearance on a radio show hosted by McCrory on Tuesday, Tillis said that North Carolina is “ground zero” for the GOP’s efforts to hold on to its Senate majority and the White House.
“North Carolina is at the center of the bullseye because the Democrats know that if they defeat me, if they defeat the president, then we’ll have a Democrat president, we’ll have a Democrat majority in the Senate and they will take this country in a direction the likes of which we’ve never seen,” Tillis said. […]”
But, at this point, any worrying about his match up with Democrats in the general election is a luxury Tillis may not be able to afford. All of theses ‘warning signs’ as the Hill puts it are just as much a drag during the primary as in the general, and all the 2020 MAGA enthusiasm may not be as supportive as Tillis would like, Trump’s endorsement notwithstanding. After all, at his latest MAGA appearance he got booed.
Read a comprehensive looks at the race among Democrats and Republicans targeting Tillis here.