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In Second Debate, Tillis Ducked, Dodged, Flipped and Flopped On Health Care, SCOTUS And COVID-19 Relief

Undecided Voters: “Cunningham Did A Better Job,” “I Can’t Trust” Tillis

RALEIGH, NC — In the second North Carolina U.S. Senate Debate last night, Cal Cunningham laid out a clear vision for expanding access to affordable health care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, securing critical COVID-19 relief and advocating for the state’s HBCUs. On the other side of the stage, Sen. Tillis showed up empty-handed on plans to address the important issues facing the state, ranging from his hypocritical promise to support President Trump’s Supreme Court pick that has yet to be announced to his clear lack of a plan to get more North Carolinians health insurance.

The contrast between the two candidates was clearest when asked about a specific proposal to reduce the number of uninsured North Carolinians, Cal “has been consistent in saying he wants to expand the Affordable Care Act” as Tillis “voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and offered no credible replacement.”

On the Supreme Court vacancy, Tillis was once again a “profile in compliance” as the moderators questioned Tillis about his latest reversal with voting in North Carolina already under way. The first question of the debate was about Tillis’ position as a rubber stamp to President Trump’s yet-to-be-announced nominee after he said in 2016 that voters should have their say: “Mr. Tillis, is this a flip-flop?” 

As the News and Observer noted, Cal also took Tillis to task over large donations from Big Pharma, especially in light of recent WBTV reporting on Tillis accepting $20,000 from pharmaceutical company PACs just weeks after introducing a bill they were in favor of. “What they’ve been getting from him is his opposition to bipartisan legislation that would bring down the cost of prescription drugs,” Cunningham said. “This is just another example of Senator Tillis working for them, caving into those corporate donors rather than working for us.” 

AP writes about Cal’s strong debate performance“The Iraq War veteran and Raleigh attorney accused Tillis of failing to come through in his first term on solutions,” while WFAE noted that Tillis “pivoted away” from questions or even “didn’t answer.” 

Following the debate, undecided voters praised Cal’s performance, saying: “Cunningham did a better job for me.” The same undecided voters noted Tillis’ lack of positions on several important issues, saying: “I very much doubt him because I can’t trust [you] if you can’t answer a question straight up.”

It’s clear North Carolinians are ready for a change of leadership, as polls this week from Fox 8 and Civitas continue to show Cal with a consistent lead over Tillis.

Read more about last night’s debate: 

  • Associated Press: “The Iraq War veteran and Raleigh attorney accused Tillis of failing to come through in his first term on solutions to the immigration system and to the national debt. He said Tillis wrongly accused him of supporting Medicare for All, saying he actually supports building upon Obama’s 2010 federal health care law. Tillis, meanwhile, has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and offered no credible replacement.”

  • News and Observer: “Cunningham attacked Tillis for North Carolina’s election legislation that a federal court struck down for targeting African-Americans with what it said was ‘surgical precision’ and for not working to reauthorize the federal Voting Rights Act.”

  • CBS 17: “With North Carolina being home to 10 historically black colleges and universities, the candidates were asked if they would support help with funding HBCUs. Cunningham said HBCUs are important to North Carolina and said he would join the HBCU Caucus if he gets to Washington. He said he intends to be an advocate for HBCUs.”

  • Fox 46: ‘“I think Cunningham took more of a stance on issues and he hit Tillis where Tillis is weak and that’s his hypocrisy between 2016 and now.”’

  • WFAE: “When talking about health care, Tillis also said incorrectly that Cunningham is for “Medicare for all.” Cunningham has been consistent in saying he wants to expand the Affordable Care Act instead.”

Watch more here: 



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