RALEIGH – Garland Tucker ran out of gas, Mark Walker declined, and Sandy Smith switched races before it looked as if Tillis could head into the primary uncontested. Of all the people offended by the thought of such a thing, two decided to step into the ring themselves, not content to let the most unpopular senator in the nation go unchallenged.
Paul Wright and Larry Holmquist, both having run for office in the past, filed before the deadline Friday to give Republican primary voters a choice. For so many of those voters, ANY alternative just about will do.
Wright, of Mount Olive, has run for several offices before; governor, congress, and now U.S. Senate. In those races he has not contended in any way on a fundraising or campaigning front, making a statewide big money race against Tillis a heavy lift.
Holmquist, of Greensboro, has also run for U.S. Senate before, challenging Sen. Richard Burr in 2016. He filed just under the wire, making his case to the grassroots on conservative NC blogs to kick off the campaign:
“You asked for a “serious alternative” to Thom Tillis. I’m not saying I’m necessarily the “best alternative” to Tillis, but since those who had said they would run against him chose not to, I accepted your challenge. I filed to run against him yesterday.
Although this was a sudden decision, it was not made without prayer and serious consideration. Seventy-two hours ago, I wasn’t planning on running again, but I also wasn’t about to let this disappointing man go unchallenged in the primary. Republicans, and especially Conservatives, in our state deserve better. I simply ask for their prayers and patience as I get my campaign up-to-speed.
In return, I promise the good people of North Carolina that I will be the “Consistent Conservative” Thom Tillis is not. He vacillates between “liberal” and “conservative” way too much for my taste, and I’m guessing the taste of most readers on this website. When I’m serving the citizens of North Carolina in the U.S. Senate, you’ll always know the way I’ll vote on every issue–in the most conservative manner possible!”
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Another late decision with little chance of matching the Tillis reelection machine which is fueled by a Trump endorsement. Still, it gives primary voters an avenue to register their displeasure and, who knows, Tillis IS the least popular senator in the nation. Crazier things have happened.