March 3, 2020/Media

Thom Tillis is Ending the GOP Primary Like He Started It: Getting Booed at Trump Rallies, “Strikingly Unpopular,” and “Under Fire” from Fellow Republicans

A “telling crowd reaction” as Tillis booed for a THIRD time at a Trump rally one day before the general election begins

Ahead of primary, conservative opponent says he’s “disgusted by Thom Tillis’ flip-flopping and inconsistency on issues”

Senator Tillis is closing out the North Carolina Republican Senate primary the same way he started it: being booed at Trump rallies, “strikingly unpopular,” and “under fire” from fellow Republicans.

A year ago, Senator Tillis announced his opposition to the president’s emergency declaration – and faced a swift and immediate backlash from in-state conservatives, creating a major rift between Republican voters and Senator Tillis that — according to the boos at yesterday’s Trump rally — still hasn’t healed.

“Senator Tillis is limping into the general election, under fire from conservatives and with fractured support in his own party because he’s a weak, self-serving politician whom no one trusts,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said.

Take a look at Tillis’ disastrous year with base Republicans:

  • June 2019: “Survival”: National commentators lay out in painstaking detail how Tillis has caved on his principles to shore up his support with GOP voters.
  • August 2019: Polling confirms that Tillis continues to be underwater with GOP voters.
  • September 2019: Tillis again met with “a chorus of boos” at yet another GOP rally, as voters say he’s “wishy-washy” and “a fair-weather friend.”
  • October 2019: One after another after another after another nonpartisan experts shift NC-Sen in the Democrats’ direction, citing Tillis’ “self-inflicted wounds,” his “image problem,” and how his “personal favorability numbers are not good,” and observing that “voters of all ideological stripes simply don’t trust Tillis.”
  • December 2019: Tillis fails to earn the backing of his former primary challenger after sinking $700,000 into primary ads to defend himself from the right.
  • January 2020: “Be careful; you saw what happened to Tillis”: Tillis becomes the poster child for vulnerable GOP incumbents too spineless to break with the president.
  • February 2020: Pre-primary polling shows Tillis unpopular and underwater with key groups, including independents, women, suburban women, and military households; Tillis trails Trump’s approval rating with base Republicans by 28 points (92% – 64%).

Now, as the primary closes, Tillis is still “under fire” from North Carolina conservatives and, in a “telling crowd reaction,” is still facing boos at a Trump rally (now for the third time). One challenger said he is “disgusted by Thom Tillis’ flip-flopping and inconsistency on issues that are critical to conservatives,” while another said that Tillis has “totally ignored his constituents,” including on a controversial local transportation project.

Fayetteville Observer: Thom Tillis under fire by fellow Republicans in NC Senate primary
By John Henderson
February 27, 2020

Key Points:

  • Republican candidates challenging incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis in the March 3 primary argue that he has not done enough to represent the conservative base and support President Donald Trump.
  • Larry Holmquist of Greensboro, one of three Republicans challenging Tillis, said he is “disgusted by Thom Tillis’ flip-flopping and inconsistency on issues that are critical to conservatives.”
  • “In my opinion, Sen Tillis is a very ‘iffy’ or inconsistent conservative,” Holmquist said. “He does not support the president the way I think he should at times, and frankly, I think he betrays conservatives with his votes.”
  • Sharon Hudson, a small business owner from north Mecklenburg County also running for the GOP nomination, said Tillis is out of touch with his constituents.
  • She said, for example, that Tillis supported a toll-road project on Interstate 77 that Charlotte area residents clearly did not want.
  • In 2014, when Tillis was speaker of the N.C. House and running for the Senate seat, residents opposed to the planned I-77 toll lanes protested outside Tillis’ north Mecklenburg campaign headquarters. Tillis had said he supported toll lanes as the only way to relieve traffic congestion.
  • “Tillis pushed that through, and he totally ignored his constituents,” Hudson said. “We did everything we could to fight it.”