PINEHURST, N.C. — The North Carolina Republican Senate primary, less than a month away, has been an unusually low-key affair, with state House Speaker Thom Tillis working aggressively to avoid a runoff against seven lesser-known challengers.
But one of his leading challengers, Rev. Mark Harris, is hoping to stir things up and is planning to repeatedly criticize Tillis’s decision to remain as House Republican leader while running for the Senate. Tillis is able to raise money for his Senate campaign from lobbyists with interests before the state’s General Assembly, but it’s illegal to raise such funds for his state legislative campaigns.
Framing the speaker’s conduct as “pay to play,” Harris suggested the activity was unethical.
“It would have been better judgment for him to step down as speaker. It opens the door for questions of ethics to be raised,” Harris told National Journal, arguing that it could become a glaring vulnerability if Tillis wins the GOP nomination against Sen. Kay Hagan. “If I had one thing to do differently [in the campaign], I would have demanded he step down as speaker in October.”
Tillis has been touting himself as the most electable candidate at Republican events, including a Monday forum at the Pinehurst Resort — home of the 2014 U.S. Open — sponsored by the Moore (County) Republican Women. At the forum, Tillis announced his support today from National Right to Life, a major rebuke to Harris, who is running as the race’s leading social conservative.
If Tillis doesn’t win 40 percent of the vote in the May 6 primary, he will be forced into a runoff, one that would coincide with the next session of the General Assembly, which begins May 14.
“It’s disappointing that instead of uniting conservatives, some campaigns are trying to use desperate and divisive tactics against other Republicans,” said Tillis campaign manager Jordan Shaw. “Thom Tillis will remain focused on uniting conservatives and defeating Kay Hagan, and we are confident that that message will resonate with voters across North Carolina.”
Harris also confirmed to NJ that his campaign would start airing ads this week — his first major ad buy of the campaign.
What We're Following See More »
According to a new CNN poll, "37% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, 57% disapprove—virtually identical to his marks in late September. But the percentage who say things in the country are going well has fallen from 53% in August to 46% now."
After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."
In the wake of Sunday's blockbuster 60 Minutes/Washington Post report on opioid regulation and enforcement, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced legislation that "would repeal a 2016 law that hampered the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioid distributors it suspects of misconduct." In a statement, McCaskill said: “Media reports indicate that this law has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities."
"The United States military said on Monday that it would practice evacuating noncombatant Americans out of South Korea in the event of war and other emergencies, as the two allies began a joint naval exercise amid heightened tensions with North Korea. The evacuation drill, known as Courageous Channel, is scheduled from next Monday through Friday and is aimed at preparing American 'service members and their families to respond to a wide range of crisis management events such as noncombatant evacuation and natural or man-made disasters,' the United States military said in a statement."