After Peter Principling his way to fame and fortune, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis has taken to believing his own press. He's under the illusion he can compete statewide for the US Senate against Kay Hagan. I predict a fiery crash.
Tillis owns every piece of extremist legislation passed in the General Assembly this year. The draconian restrictions on abortion. The voter suppression agenda. The decimation of public schools. The war on teachers. He'll try mightily to distance himself from his own actions, it ain't gonna happen. The GOP General Assembly is too far out of the North Carolina mainstream. There's no closing the gap.
- Only one in five North Carolina voters approve of the job of the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Tillis is already collecting dirt that will be hard to wash off in a statewide race. There is no way to interpret his call to divide and conquer as anything other than a philosophy of that let's poor people suffer and die. On the fundraising front, he's raised more than a few eyebrows with his maneuvering as Speaker, prompting apt comparisons between himself and former Speaker Jim Black. Finally, most polls show Tillis trailing Hagan by a wide and growing margin. As people learn more about who Thom Tillis really is, his numbers will only decline.
Early in the season, before Tillis announced, before the Republicans shutdown the government, and before the full crush of Tillis' policies hit home, Hagan held modest leads against generic GOP candidates. Now that the race is real and Tillis is the candidate, poor Thom has nowhere to hide.
There will be great fortunes spent in the US Senate race, probably upwards of $70 million dollars. But no matter how much money Tillis spends, he can't spend enough to turn himself into a moderate, principled candidate. He is an extremist with a radical agenda.