RALEIGH – Senator Thom Tillis sports the title of ‘Least Popular Senator in the Nation.’ Naturally, then, Republican and Democratic primary candidates are taking aim. On the Left, the top two contenders are trying to elbow each other out of the way by raising concerns over out of state backers and anointment from on high.
Cal Cunningham, a former state senator, is presumed the front runner, not least of which for his establishment backing and fundraising connections. That is exactly what his primary opponent, current N.C. Senator Erica Smith, is hanging around his neck.
From the North State Journal (NSJ):
“[…] Cunningham was a 2020 candidate for N.C. lieutenant governor until, according to Smith, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a national Democratic group led by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, asked Cunningham to leave that race and join the Senate primary.
Smith, an African American, said, while speaking at a church in January, 2020, that the DSCC endorsed Cunningham because, “Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina.”
She said, not only did they give Cunningham an endorsement, but lots of funding from outside the state, including “55 of [Schumer’s] wealthy donors, who are New York billionaires.” […]”
Smith fails to point out that establishment Democrats are apparently quite fond of earning support in New York City in order to win office in North Carolina. After all, Governor Roy Cooper launched his reelection campaign in the Big Apple.
Cunningham fits the mold of an establishment Democratic political candidate. He’s got a laudable military record, a successful private sector career, and strong jawline. As such he’s wrapped up enough support o put him nearly 20 points ahead of Smith in polls.
To close the gap, Smith, who represents portions of north eastern North Carolina in the N.C. Senate, is getting help from…a Republican PAC?
“[…] But Smith is now receiving support from an unusual source — Republican-linked PAC Faith and Power. As of Feb. 11, this group has dedicated over $2.4 million to ad buys in favor of Smith around the state. Little is known about their motive or leadership.
Cunningham denounced these ads on social media, saying, “Washington Republicans know Senator Tillis is weak, and apparently they don’t like his chances against me in November. Now they’re resorting to shady tactics to meddle in our election—and it’s disrespectful to North Carolina voters.”
Erica Smith, also responded to this development, but disagreed with Cunningham that it showed he was the stronger candidate.
“To those pondering the rumor that Republicans are supporting me because Thom Tillis thinks he has a better chance of beating me in the General, I have just one question: when was the last time Thom Tillis was right about anything?” Smith said in a letter released to the media.
She continued, “We have been astronomically outraised by our primary opponent who has attempted to clear the field of this race with DC influence and a Corporate funded SuperPAC.” […]”
So, do the Republican powers in D.C. interested in saving Tillis think Smith an easier to overcome opponent than Cunningham? Most definitely.
Republican PACs running ads lauding the progressive chops and Bernie Sanders support of a Democratic primary candidate, as opposed to a Democrat who is much harder to stick such labels on. It seems pretty straightforward. Smith has ‘disavowed’ the ad buys from the PAC, but our guess is she’ll gladly take the votes the ads may send her way. The recent early primary elections in other states show how popular Bernie Sanders and socialism is among Democrats around the country. It’d be nice to think Democrats in North Carolina are a little less crazy in terms of desired policy, but the Left’s actions and rhetoric in the Old North State have suggested otherwise.
With less than three weeks to go until primary day, we’ll find out soon enough. In the mean time, expect to see a lot more competing ads for Smith and Cunningham as Tillis nervously awaits to see which he’ll face should he advance to the general election in November.