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Last week, businessman Garland Tucker ended his bid against Senator Thom Tillis after challenging Tillis’ conservative credentials and forcing Tillis to spend $700,000 to defend himself against Tucker on air.
While the damage of Tucker’s challenge is done, he isn’t going away quietly, and it underscores the deep wariness in Senator Tillis that has left him under water with the GOP base and distrusted by “voters of all ideological stripes.”
On Friday in an interview with WFAE, “Tucker would not yet endorse Tillis. He said he will support the ‘most conservative candidate in the race.’ That person could be…Republican Congressman Mark Walker.”
Tucker told WFAE of Walker, who is again flirting with a primary challenge against Tillis, “If [Walker] jumps in the race I would consider supporting him, and from what I know now, he is the most conservative candidate in the race.”
As the Charlotte Observer put it last week, it is unclear which Thom Tillis is real — “the Thom Tillis who pretends to be a moderate, or the Thom Tillis who pretends to be a conservative.” They noted Tillis is “uncommonly bad at” the dance between appealing to his party’s base and appealing to independent voters.
By Steve Harrison – December 6, 2019
Garland Tucker’s bid to defeat Thom Tillis is over after the Raleigh businessman dropped out of the race earlier this week.
Tucker criticized Tillis for not fully supporting President Trump, and his entrance into the primary pushed the first-term senator to the right. It also caused him to set aside $2.2 million on television ads.
But in an interview this week, Tucker would not yet endorse Tillis. He said he will support the “most conservative candidate in the race.” That person could be…Republican Congressman Mark Walker.
And Tucker seems to think Walker would be a great person to replace him against Tillis.
Q: You said you are going to support the most conservative candidate in the race, and that would presumably be Senator Tillis (against whoever is the Democratic primary winner).
A: Well, I don’t know, I’d say let’s wait and see what happens. The filing period is still open, but somebody more conservative may jump in. Who knows?
Q: OK, there has been talk that Congressman Mark Walker may run in the GOP primary. Would you support him over Senator Tillis?
A: I’ve heard some talk about that. From what I know at this point, I think he’s more conservative than Thom Tillis.
Q: When was the last time you and Mark Walker talked?
A: I won’t get into that. Any conversation I have had with him is private. That’s between Mark Walker and me. But if he jumps in the race I would consider supporting him, and from what I know now, he is the most conservative candidate in the race.