Tuesday, May 6th
Thom Tillis the Speaker of the North Carolina House won the GOP U.S. senate primary and hit the crucial 40% mark to avoid a runoff election.
Tillis won while fending off both Republican contenders and attack ads from Senator Reid’s PAC (Senate Majority PAC) that claimed he called Obamacare “a great idea.” His full quote called it “a great idea that can’t be paid for.”
Speaker Tillis was widely considered the most electable GOP candidate for both his more moderate posturing (e.g., second amendment limits for the mentally ill) and his tremendous fundraising advantage. Support from major organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, and Americans for Prosperity, went a long way in the victory. American Crossroads spent $1.5 million in ad support while Americans for Property contributed about $7 million. This PAC support was especially crucial in making a late push in the Charlotte and Raleigh media markets.
David Koch, the billionaire businessman and champion of economic liberty, is the chairman of Americans for Prosperity. As such, you can expect Senator Kay Hagan to attack the Koch brothers for their involvement in the election. Her campaign site already has some language around this and the Senate Majority PAC is running ads attacking Tillis and the Koch brothers for the donations. This will be one of the most hotly contested races in the nation and will surely receive a great deal of out-of-state attention (and money).
In his acceptance speech, Tillis turned his attention to Senator Hagan, calling her a rubber stamp for President Obama. During primary debates, he cited her voting record–falling in line with Harry Reid 96% of the time. Expect this to be a major part of GOP messaging moving forward, especially with the president garnering disapproval ratings of 54% in North Carolina.
For Democrats, this primary result is bad news. The outright win for Thom Tillis allows Republicans to avoid draining resources through a long runoff contest. They’ll now turn their attention to Kay Hagan, one of the most vulnerable incumbent senators in this election cycle. Thom Tillis says he has been in Raleigh cleaning up Kay Hagan’s mess and now plans to head to Washington where he’ll clean up Kay Hagan’s mess. How do you handicap this race?