November 22, 2019/Press

WATCH: “Tillis Is in the Fight of His Political Life” Because “He Pleases Nobody”

Raleigh – new in-state report notes that Tillis is “one of the most vulnerable Senators up for reelection next year” and “is in the fight of his political life,” facing a self-funding primary challenge from conservative businessman Garland Tucker, running from “not good” favorability numbers, and boasting “an image problem with voters.”


In Rolling Stone, nonpartisan elections analyst Jennifer Duffy explains why: “He pleases nobody. Conservatives aren’t happy with him. Democrats aren’t happy with him.” That earned Tillis a “primary challenge on his right from millionaire businessman Garland Tucker,” who has forced Tillis to spend “large on TV ads tying himself to Trump.”

Tillis is in a “unique position” as the only Senate Republican spending millions on a back-and-forth because he’s a weak politician who repeatedly “has abandoned the state he represents for the president he thinks he needs.”

WCNC: Political experts weigh in on Tillis senate race
By Rad Berky
November 21, 2019

Key Points:

  • Senator Thom Tillis has been called one of the most vulnerable senators up for re-election next year.
  • While some vulnerable Republicans have tried to hold President Trump at arm’s length, Tillis boasts of Trump’s endorsement for the 2020 elections.
  • A poll out this month shows 31% of respondents approve of the way Tillis is handling his job. 35% disapproved. 34% didn’t have an opinion one way or another.
  • Tillis is being challenged by conservative businessman Garland Tucker for the GOP nomination. Cal Cunningham is the presumptive Democrat in the race.
  • The new nonpartisan analysis from Politico rates the Tillis race a toss-up.
  • Earlier, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the race from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” — saying Tillis’ “personal favorability numbers are not good.”
  • Inside Elections move the race to “toss-up” — saying Tillis had an image problem with voters.
  • “It really will be one of the most competitive races in the United States Senate races,” Bitzer said.
  • Tucker said Tillis has strayed from following President Trump’s agenda. Tillis has countered by praising the president whenever he can.
  • “He has decided to attach his wagon, going to try and ride the President’s coattails. The question becomes, if the President’s numbers slip, do his numbers slip as well?” said Bitzer.
  • Tillis is already running political ads and looking for a lot more of them as next year’s March 3rd primary date draws closer.

Rolling Stone: The Battle for the Senate
By Tim Dickinson
November 22, 2019

Key Points:

  • The fight to dislodge Donald Trump from the presidency has sparked unprecedented interest in the 2020 Democratic primary, drawing dozens of candidates, including no fewer than seven sitting senators. But the fight to wrest the Senate from Republican control — and oust Mitch McConnell as majority leader — is arguably just as important. Take it from Amy McGrath, the former Marine fighter pilot aiming to win McConnell’s Kentucky Senate seat, who sees curbing McConnell’s power as essential to healing our republic. “He’s the epitome of Washington dysfunction, everything we hate about politics,” she says. “You cannot drain the swamp until you get rid of Mitch McConnell.”
  • Still, nonpartisan analysts like Democratic chances. “The Senate’s in play,” says Nathan Gonzales, editor of Inside Elections, which handicaps federal races. “Democrats have enough takeover opportunities to get there without having to win everything on the table.”
  • North Carolina leans less blue than Colorado, but Sen. Thom Tillis finds himself in the same fix as Gardner. “He pleases nobody,” says Duffy. “Conservatives aren’t happy with him. Democrats aren’t happy with him.” In February, he published a Washington Post op-ed opposing the “executive overreach” of Trump’s emergency declaration to build the Wall. But just weeks later, Tillis voted to steer military funds to the border.
  • Tillis has a primary challenge on his right from millionaire businessman Garland Tucker, who touts himself as a conservative with “backbone.” So Tillis is spending large on TV ads tying himself to Trump.