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In a new article from Rolling Stone, North Carolina was highlighted as a top pick-up opportunity for Democrats in 2020 on the road to taking back the Senate. With Tillis “spending large on TV” just to stay competitive in his own primary, Rolling Stone cited his broken promise to stand up to the White House as one reason for his deep unpopularity with both Democrats and Republicans in North Carolina.
Jennifer Duffy of Cook Political Report described Tillis’ terrible standing with North Carolinians simply, saying “He pleases nobody…Conservatives aren’t happy with him. Democrats aren’t happy with him.”
Cal told Rolling Stone in an interview: “When it is a choice between representing our state and taking care of his own political interests, he puts his own political interests first.” Rolling Stone named Cal as the “front-runner for the Democratic nomination.”
In case you missed it, see all the recent reports showing Tillis in deep trouble in North Carolina.
Rolling Stone: The Battle for the Senate
North Carolina leans less blue than Colorado, but Sen. Thom Tillis finds himself in the same fix as [Cory] 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.
“He capitulated to the president,” says Cal Cunningham, front-runner for the Democratic nomination. “When it is a choice between representing our state and taking care of his own political interests, he puts his own political interests first.”
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 — a political gift to Cunningham, a former state senator and decorated military lawyer.
Cunningham has matched Tillis in fundraising, and a September poll had him leading the incumbent by two points.
WCNC Charlotte: Political Experts Weigh In On Tillis Senate Race
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.
“Thom Tillis certainly has a lot of support within the Republican Party but outside of his base it’s very tight,” said Dr. Michael Bitzer with Catawba College.
Tillis is being challenged by conservative businessman Garland Tucker for the GOP nomination. Cal Cunningham is the presumptive Democrat in the race.
Sen. Thom Tillis began the Trump era by negotiating with Democrats on immigration and co-authoring legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller. He even briefly opposed President Donald Trump’s national emergency to build a border wall.
But now, the North Carolina Republican’s independent streak is fading. He’s deploying the president as a shield against a conservative primary challenger and he’s hugging Trump tightly.
It’s a shrewd political strategy amid a well-funded primary challenge from Garland Tucker, a conservative businessman who paints Tillis as an enemy of the Trump agenda.
Standing behind Tucker is potential Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham, an establishment-backed military veteran eager to cast Tillis as a lackey who “married himself to Donald Trump.”
Most immediate, however, is surviving perhaps the toughest primary battle facing any Republican senator this cycle.
The wealthy Tucker is spending heavily on ads highlighting Tillis’ “flip-flop” on the border — Tillis’ most infamous episode as a senator — when he voted to uphold the national emergency after announcing his opposition in a Washington Post op-ed.
GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, facing a self-funding primary challenger, is embracing President Donald Trump after getting crosswise with the president over Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern border.
Associated Press: N Carolina Senator Has Latched On To Trump. Will He Hold On?
Once labeled as a business-friendly moderate, and facing questions from some about his conservative credentials, the mild-mannered, former IBM consultant has dismissed the Democrats’ impeachment probe as politically motivated, backed the president’s border wall and said he would give Trump the “benefit of the doubt” for now on pulling U.S. troops from Syria.
That may have immediate political benefit as he fends off a March primary challenge from a substantially self-funded candidate. But it also comes with general election risks in North Carolina
“I don’t like Thom Tillis, he’s wishy-washy,” said Diane Ezzell of Marshville, before entering a September rally featuring Trump in Fayetteville, where scattered boos greeted Tillis. “We’ll vote for a conservative, but it probably won’t be him.”
Tillis’ support for Trump is raising hopes among the Democratic primary field.
“He appears to be trying to save his political skin,” said Cal Cunningham, who’s received the official endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “I think we will continue to see him take his cue from the White House about where he’s going to stand on the issues.”
Cunningham nearly matched Tillis’ third-quarter fundraising, although Tillis continues to have more cash than any candidate.