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Thu Sep 10, 2020, 02:48 AM


With Labor Day past and election day a mere eight weeks from today, itís time to check in on North Carolinaís US Senate race. No incumbent has struggled as much as Thom Tillis. Democrat Cal Cunningham has led most of the year, sometimes by eye-opening margins. Right now, Tillis trails Cunningham by four in the Real Clear Politics average.

Tillis has had difficulty consolidating his base. In other words, Republicans donít really like him. Heís been all over the map on his positions and heís changed his personae to fit whatever he believes is politically expedient. Voters see through his shallowness, but the GOP is starting to come home. The latest Monmouth poll has Tillis only trailing by one and garnering 90% support among Republicans.

Still, Tillis canít catch much of a break. This week, heís being dragged into a scandal of Post Master General Louis DeJoyís making. Apparently, DeJoy asked employees of his company to donate to GOP campaigns, including Tillisí 2014 Senate race, and then reimbursed them through bonuses. Thatís a violation of campaign finance laws and DeJoy is now under investigation.

illis also canít find a salient hit on Cunningham that resonates much with voters. He tried arguing that Cunningham continued to work for his company after he said he had left to run for Senate, or at least thatís what I heard, and that got a big shrug. Next, Tillis argued that Cunningham criticized the PPP corona relief program while is former employer took the money from the program. Again, that elicited a big yawn. Theyíre also complaining that Cunningham used tax breaks to make additions to his house, and while Cunningham did take advantage of an historic preservation program, who cares?

Tillis canít find anything substantive or sexy to use as an attack on Cunningham. When he first got into the race, some Democrats bemoaned that Cunningham was a boring candidate who wouldnít inspire voters. Heís also a squeaky clean candidate with little to criticize. In North Carolina, US Senator Richard Burr has built a solid career as a boring candidate, in part, because thereís not a lot to hate about him. Cunningham seems to have a similar profile.


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