July 16, 2020/Press

“Flat Fundraising” Signals “Trouble” As Tillis Becomes Poster Child for Weak Republican Candidates

Senator Thom Tillis was outraised by “nearly 3-to-1” — or nearly $5 million — in the second quarter, an embarrassing miss that “indicates trouble,” signals a “more precarious reelection bid,” and leaves Senator Tillis as the poster child for “Republican money struggles vs. Democrats in NC.”

The “flat fundraising” — Tillis barely raised more than he did last quarter — left Tillis raising less than any other Republican in a “toss up” race. (NCDems also predicted Tillis’ weak quarter the day before.)

But it’s not just Tillis’ fundraising that’s sinking his embarrassing reelection bid, according to AP.

It’s how he has been a wishy-washy weather vane who “took every opportunity to hitch his wagon to Trump’s” before he “pulled back” as Trump’s approval rating dropped.

It’s his constant attacks on North Carolinians’ health care, including when he “blocked expansion of Medicaid that could have allowed hundreds of thousands of people to have coverage now.”

And it’s his campaign message that people will remember how life was in February — and not Republicans’ bungled handling of the coronavirus crisis — a bizarre claim analysts panned as “not a winning message” and “the most severe form of political wishful thinking” anyone’s ever seen.

No wonder Tillis says he’s “desperate” and “going to lose.


Associated Press: Democrat’s big cash haul signals perilous Tillis reelect bid
By Gary Robertson
July 16, 2020

Key Points:

  • North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis was outraised nearly 3-to-1 by his Democratic challenger in the last quarter, according to campaign reports that signal a more precarious reelection bid for the Republican in the presidential battleground state.
  • The flat fundraising for Tillis — slightly more than what he collected in the first quarter — contrasts with Cunningham, whose campaign said he took in the largest quarterly haul ever raised by a North Carolina Senate candidate.
  • The money chase indicates trouble for Tillis, who is one of a handful of Senate Republicans considered vulnerable this fall. The Democrats need to net four additional seats — or three seats while winning the presidency — to take back control of the Senate.
  • “If you thought things couldn’t get worse for Senator Tillis, they just did,” Cunningham campaign manager Devan Barber said in a news release while crowing about the fundraising advantage. She predicted that after November ”Tillis will be quickly forgotten following a failed Senate career and unbelievably weak candidacy.”
  • This time, Tillis is running as the incumbent during a presidential election year in which President Donald Trump’s approval numbers have dropped during a pandemic and unrest. Trump last year endorsed Tillis, who then became one of the president’s strongest defenders during his impeachment trial and took every opportunity to hitch his wagon to Trump’s.
  • Cunningham has blasted Tillis for failing to get enough federal COVID-19 aid and resources to North Carolina residents.
  • He’s returned consistently to health care. On a conference call last week, Cunningham reiterated that Tillis helped pass a law while state House speaker that blocked expansion of Medicaid that could have allowed hundreds of thousands of people to have coverage now. North Carolina remains one of a dozen states that hasn’t accepted expansion.
  • “I know we’re going to win because people remember how good their lives were in February,” Tillis said at last week’s virtual state GOP convention.

News & Observer: Tillis’ fundraising numbers highlight Republican money struggles vs. Democrats in NC
By Brian Murphy and Will Doran
July 15, 2020

Key Points:

  • Democrats in many of North Carolina’s top statewide races far out-raised their Republican opponents over the past few months.
  • Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham raised $7.4 million in the second quarter of 2020, a record-breaking amount for a quarter for a Senate candidate. Incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican, raised $2.6 million from April through June, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.
  • Tillis reported having $6.8 million cash on hand for the November election as of July 1. Cunningham, who has trailed Tillis throughout the campaign cycle in cash on hand, had $6.6 million on July 1.
  • Cunningham out-raised Tillis $4.4 million to $2.1 million in the first three months of 2020, prompting Tillis’ campaign manager to signal concern about the “need to ramp up our fundraising in order to keep pace.”
  • The Senate race is considered a toss-up by national outlets, though Cunningham has led in seven of the last nine polls conducted in the race since the beginning of June. One had the race tied.