Senator Tillis is “stuck in another political vise grip” — he has yet to win over enough of Trump’s supporters and is lagging behind the president, yet has not made inroads with independent voters across the state, according to a new report in the Washington Post.
Tillis is the most “obvious” example of this struggle, which has been thrown into a harsh spotlight by this week’s Republican National Convention. On Day 2 of the RNC, Senator Tillis again had to dismiss questions about being snubbed by the RNC and President Trump. Tillis still needs “to tack to the right to collect that group of Trump voters who question whether they are true presidential backers, without eroding more support among suburban voters.”
He hasn’t been walking this tightrope well. After he reversed course as he faced Trump’s wrath and a potential primary challenger after flip-flopping on the president’s emergency declaration, he’s “been obsequious” about Trump, refusing to stand up to him when he hurt North Carolina. New polling reflects that reality — Tillis is down 8 points and stuck at 39% as Republican voters say they are 15 points less likely to vote for Tillis than Trump.
“This week’s RNC has put a harsh spotlight on how weak Senator Tillis is less than 70 days out from an election,” NCDP spokesperson Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis is still stuck between a rock and a hard place because he’s a weak Washington politician who refuses to stand for North Carolina if it means crossing the president.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Washington Post: Senate GOP incumbents caught in a vise — not Trumpian enough for president’s backers, too loyal for other voters
By Paul Kane
August 26, 2020
- As Republicans head into the home stretch of their reelection bids, they are finding themselves in an increasingly difficult dance about how to handle their political relationship with the man at the top of the ticket.
- For nearly four years, these Republicans have been obsequious toward Trump, almost never criticizing him publicly and professing ignorance when questioned about an incendiary remark or tweet by the president. They operated in fear that any tough words would immediately draw the president’s wrath — and anger his MAGA followers.
- For several Republicans in key races, that strategy has left the incumbent in a curious position where they have yet to win over enough of Trump’s supporters in their races and are lagging behind the president, even in states where he is also struggling.
- Tillis and McSally are the most obvious examples of this struggle for Republicans.
- In an NBC News/Marist poll in late July, Biden led Trump, 51 percent to 44 percent in North Carolina, while Tillis trailed Democrat Cal Cunningham, 50 percent to 41 percent.
- According to a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, Trump is receiving 47 percent of the vote in North Carolina, while Tillis is stuck at 40 percent, and in Arizona the president is averaging 45 percent to McSally’s 42.3 percent.
- These Republicans are stuck between “the rock and a hard place,” according to J.B. Poersch, the president of Senate Majority PAC, which is closely aligned with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
- Tillis, McSally and some others need to tack to the right to collect that group of Trump voters who question whether they are true presidential backers, without eroding more support among suburban voters.
- And Tillis tried to create an independent brand in recent years first by sponsoring legislation to protect the special counsel investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign and then opposing the president’s national emergency declaration to take military money and spend it on a border wall with Mexico.
- Within days, Tillis reversed course as he faced Trump’s wrath and a potential primary challenger.
- Now, after navigating the primary, Tillis is stuck in another political vise grip.