NC-Sen: The Daily Beast, “Thom Tillis Went Full Trump. Now He’s D.C.’s Most Vulnerable Republican”
So U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R. NC) is facing a tough re-election bid against Cal Cunningham (D. NC) so he’s trying to re-introduce himself to the voters:
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is out with a new six-figure television ad buy highlighting his working-class background as he ramps up spending ahead of his November reelection bid.
The ad, titled “Pay Day,” was shared first with The Hill. It features Tillis walking through what appears to be a restaurant kitchen while he reminisces on his experience as a short-order cook who earned his college degree through night classes.
“Monday afternoon: that’s payday in the restaurant business. I know because that used to be me — a short-order cook,” Tillis says in the 30-second spot. “Instead of college, I went to work, got my degree at night, worked my way up to partner at IBM.”
“Today, 1 million North Carolinians are out of work, most of them living paycheck to paycheck and forgotten by our politics,” he continues. “I’m Thom Tillis. My job is fighting for your job. That’s exactly what I’ll do.”
Tillis’s campaign is spending $510,000 on the ad spot, which will begin airing on television and digital platforms across the Raleigh and Charlotte media markets Tuesday. The ad buy comes two weeks after the first-term GOP senator dropped $750,000 on another spot highlighting his childhood in a family living “paycheck to paycheck.”
With the latest ad spot, Tillis has now spent more than $1.2 million on general election advertising in the past few weeks alone. He’s among the top targets for Democrats looking to recapture a majority in the Senate in November and the fight for his seat is expected to be among the most expensive of the election cycle.
But as Eleanor Clift from The Daily Beast points out, he’s just bull shitting the voters so they can be duped into re-electing him:
Forgotten by whose politics? Control of the U.S. Senate is at stake, and Tillis is one of the most vulnerable senators. He’s perhaps best known for getting lots of money from big pharma, big oil, big banks and payday lenders, and for pushing their preferred policies. A Morning Consult poll last year had him with the lowest approval rating of any senator, at 34 percent.
His biographical ads are a belated attempt to get voters to like him. But which voters? He’s had a troubled relationship with President Trump, and was twice booed at a Trump rally, most recently in March of this year.
He had to go full Trump to win his primary on Super Tuesday, and now he’s trying to boost rural turnout by convincing those voters that he’s one of them.
As Trump’s numbers tank, Tillis is keeping his head down, not taking sides between the governor and the president over holding the GOP Convention in Charlotte, even praising Democratic Governor Roy Cooper for his go-slow approach to opening up the economy. But Tillis can’t escape from his past—or from his present—as an anti-Obamacare Republican who bragged that he “stopped Medicaid cold” when he was speaker of the North Carolina legislature.
“When he talks about humble roots and where he comes from, he’s taken more money from the pharmaceutical industry than any other member of Congress,” Morgan Jackson told The Daily Beast, repeating “than any other member of Congress,” and pointing out the implications of that financial backing for where his interests might lie, for example, on lowering the cost of prescription drugs, a major issue for voters, or treating opioid addiction.
As an up-and-coming Republican before Trump, Tillis boasted he was a RINO, recasting the label as Republicans In Need of Outcomes. His outcomes generally favor the well-heeled and corporate interests. Only 7 percent of his first quarter campaign contributions this year came from small donations. He worked to get “struggling” pharmaceutical companies access to taxpayer funds in the CARES Act program, which was meant for small businesses.
When oil prices dropped, Tillis wrote a letter to the administration urging there be no “oil and gas bias” when distributing economic relief funds. After a White House summit with the industry on April 3, Tillis received over $60,000 in corporate PAC checks from companies that had attended the summit.
Payday lenders have been a pet project of Tillis’ going back to his days as a state lawmaker. As speaker of the North Carolina House in 2013, he received more than $30,000 from the industry, the most of any legislator in the state. Once in Washington, he continued his alliance with this industry which is always under fire because of its usurious interest rates. In a March 10 Senate Banking committee hearing, Tillis fended off allegations that payday lenders might prey on people hard hit by the coronavirus. “As a kid who grew up on 90-day notes with my dad,” Tillis warned against “overreach” or “painting with a broad brush” an industry he regards as a lifeline. Within days of the hearing, he had received more than $20,000 from four major payday lenders.
The problem is Tillis also has a problem showing any courage in bucking Trump. Here’s a great example:
A Senate plan to remove names of Confederate leaders on military assets has sharply divided Republicans — and has now put a GOP-led panel at odds with the White House at a time of a wide-ranging re-examination of race in the United States.The amendment, offered by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calls for the removal of names of Confederate leaders from all military assets — whether it's a base, installation, facility, aircraft, ship, plane or type of equipment — within three years. The plan was adopted behind closed doors by voice vote with the support of some Republicans, even as President Donald Trump condemned any action to remove Confederate leaders' names from military bases — and the White House vowed to veto any such legislative effort.“There is always a history that we don't want to forget,” Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said when asked about the plan, which he supports. “With regard to that I agree with the President that we don't want to forget our history. … But at the same time that doesn't mean that we should continue with those bases with the names of individuals who fought against our country.”The amendment comes at a precarious time for Trump, who has struggled to win support within the black community and has seen his poll numbers drop sharply amid his handling of both the coronavirus pandemic and the deep racial unrest caused by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed while in Minneapolis police custody.
A new push to remove the names of Confederate generals from U.S. military installations, including Fayetteville’s Fort Bragg Army base, advanced in a U.S. Senate committee over the objections of Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
The Republican-led Senate Armed Service Committee approved an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would require the renaming of those bases within three years, according to reports. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, proposed the amendment.
Tillis, a Republican, voted against the amendment in a committee voice vote, meaning no recorded tally.
“Senator Tillis has made it clear he opposes Senator Warren’s amendment and he opposes renaming Fort Bragg,” Tillis spokesman Daniel Keylin said in an emailed statement.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) must still pass the whole Senate and the House and be signed by President Donald Trump, who said Wednesday he is against renaming the military bases.
“My administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military institutions. Our history as the greatest nation in the world will not be tampered with. Respect our military!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Let’s flip North Carolina big time. Click below to donate and get involved with Cunningham, Joe Biden and their fellow North Carolina Democrats campaigns: