Election 2020

Thom Tillis Takes a Tumble in the Tar Heel State, While Garland Tucker Garners Votes

Incumbent senator in North Carolina faces a primary challenge in March 2020 from a conservative businessman and entrepreneur

Image Credit: Screenshot, YouTube

Conservatives are considering a change in the state of North Carolina.

That’s evidenced by a recent survey conducted by polling group Diversified Research, the results of which show a dramatic drop in approval for incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) (shown above right) and a swell of voter support for conservative primary challenger Garland Tucker (above left), who announced his candidacy in May.

The July poll results, shared with LifeZette this week, reveal that Tillis plunged by 46-plus points. He wound up with only 40 percent of Republican primary voters’ support — a marginal number for an incumbent senator, to be sure.

Tillis now leads Garland Tucker by a close 10 points, with 30 percent of voters still undecided.

A North Carolina businessman, author and entrepreneur, Tucker formally announced in May on Sean Hannity’s radio show that he’s running against Tillis for the Senate. He said in a statement at that time, “This campaign will be a debate between Sen. Tillis and me about issues and what is best for North Carolinians. The people of this state deserve a conservative who represents their views, not the elites in Washington. They also deserve a senator who stands with President Trump on issues like immigration, cutting spending, and foreign policy, and is not tied to the entrenched interests who benefit from the status quo.”

Tillis, as The Hill noted in a recent piece, is seen as one of “the more vulnerable Republicans” in the Senate — “making Democrats hopeful they can make inroads in the Tar Heel State.” But President Donald Trump, of course, won the state of North Carolina in 2016. (Former President Barack Obama won it in 2008; Mitt Romney won it in 2012 by a narrow margin.)

Tillis previously had been voted one of the least liked senators in the Senate; the July poll results of North Carolinians may be reflecting that sentiment as well. (See this April Morning Consult polling and article about Tillis and his recent drop in support.)

Tillis has flip-flopped on immigration policy, which sharply contrasts with Tucker’s steadfast support of the Trump administration’s strict immigration reform.

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Most interestingly, a growing number of voters now seem to view Tillis as more liberal-leaning or moderate than before; that has increased from the previous 30 percent to a high 47 percent of voters who consider his policies to be moderate.

Tillis has flip-flopped on immigration policy, which sharply contrasts with Tucker’s steadfast support of the Trump administration’s strict immigration reform.

With almost half of conservative voters viewing Tillis as a liberal sympathizer, residents of the red state of North Carolina may be looking to Tucker to represent them in the upcoming state GOP primary.

At a recent Trump re-election rally held in Greenville, North Carolina, Tillis was actually booed by some of his own constituents when Trump mentioned him to the crowd — a signal that those outside Washington, D.C., and some even within his own state aren’t happy with his decision-making.

The upcoming primary should be interesting, as Tucker’s campaign continues to gain more traction and party support.

And yes, the primary season will be upon us very soon: The Iowa caucuses, which kick things off, are in early February 2020.

North Carolina will hold its GOP primary election on March 3, 2020.

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