Tucker Over Tillis: Former Tillis Donors Now Backing Challenger

RALEIGH – If you’re going to compete with an established incumbent, you’d better have your fundraising game up to snuff. In addition to pledging to contribute $1 million of his own money to a U.S. Senate campaign, Tillis primary challenger Garland Tucker is soaking up a lot of Tillis’ donors as well.

From the Charlotte Observer:

“Steve Zelnak, the former CEO and chairman of the board at Raleigh-based Martin Marietta Materials, donated $5,000 to Sen. Thom Tillis in February. The donations weren’t shocking: He’d given to Tillis in 2014 and 2018.

On Wednesday night, however, Zelnak and his wife Judy will serve as chairmen for the first fundraiser for Tillis’ 2020 Republican challenger — Garland Tucker. It costs $5,600 per couple to be listed as a chairman for the event at the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh, according to an invitation obtained by McClatchy.

Of the 17 individuals or couples listed as chairmen for the event, at least five have donated to Tillis in the past, according to campaign finance records. Tucker himself donated $2,600 to Tillis in 2014.

Bob and Maria Luddy donated $7,800 to Tillis in 2014 during his first run for the U.S. Senate. Tillis, the speaker of the N.C. House at the time, emerged from an eight-way Republican primary and then defeated incumbent Kay Hagan in the general election.

But the Luddys, too, are listed as chairmen for Tucker’s event. Bob Luddy is the founder and chairman of the Raleigh-based CaptiveAire Systems. Luddy said his dissatisfaction with Tillis comes from the federal government’s spending and increasing debt and deficit. […]”

The list of reasons many big Republican donors have cooled on Tillis has got to be long, especially for those more conservative Republicans. That is exactly the fuel to burn if Tucker is going to send Tillis packing on primary day.

Read more about how Tucker is eating Tillis’ lunch from the Charlotte Observer here.

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