June 10, 2019/Press

NCGOP Convention Reveals Support “Split” Between Tillis & Primary Challenger Tucker

Raleigh – North Carolina Republicans elected a new party chairman this weekend after a bribery scandal brought down the previous chairman, but behind the scenes, Senator Thom Tillis was experiencing his own heartburn with Republican activists and voters.

First, the Charlotte Observer reported that wealthy conservative businessman and Republican primary challenger Garland Tucker “has been working delegates today,” and that support between Tucker and Senator Tillis was “split.”

Then, WXII reported that the “interparty squabble for the U.S. Senate seat held now by Thom Tillis” was “getting a lot of buzz here at the party convention.” WXII then interviewed Rep. Mark Walker, who refused to rule out running against Senator Tillis. (Rep. Walker reportedly was also running digital ads this weekend targeted to the county that hosted the party’s convention.)

The North Carolina Republican Party is “at a low point” – reeling from a bribery scandal that brought down the former state party chairman, an electoral fraud scandal that revealed a coordinated Republican attempt to steal a congressional election, and a string of high-profile electoral defeats.

Now, the GOP “faces a potentially divisive Senate race” that threatens to splinter Republican voters while the state party’s own apparatus is “in disarray.”


WXII: Congressman Walker doesn’t rule out challenging Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate
By Bill O’Neil
June 7, 2019

Charlotte Observer: After a rocky few months, NC Republicans look for a new start at convention
By Jim Morrill
June 6, 2019

Key Points:

  • Its chairman was indicted for bribery.


  • A congressional hopeful was entangled in alleged election fraud.


  • And after losing the governorship, legislative supermajorities and control of the state Supreme Court, it now faces a potentially divisive Senate race.


  • For the North Carolina Republican Party, it’s been a tough go.


  • “To say the North Carolina Republican Party is at a low point would be an understatement,” Raleigh conservative Jeff Moore recently wrote on his blog. “It’s not necessarily a good look when the party chairman gets indicted by a federal grand jury for bribery.”


  • “There’s no question that we have an image problem,” said Dan Barry, a former Union County GOP chair.


  • But Jim Womack, a former Lee County commissioner who’s also running, said “the optics of the party are very poor right now.” “The faith and confidence in the Republican Party is not where it needs to be,” he said, “especially with the general public.”


  • “You certainly don’t want to go into a competitive presidential, Senate and governor’s race and see the party organization in disarray,” [Michael Bitzer of Catawba College] said.


  • North Carolina is expected to again be a swing state in the presidential race. And the Senate race could decide whether Republicans maintain control of that chamber.