This week, the media have weakened two assumptions about Thom Tillis. On Monday he reported anemic fundraising numbers. Tuesday’s “Capital Tonight” highlighted the reality that his record will stunt, not expand, the appeal of his campaign. Together these stories should increase Democratic confidence heading into 2014.
Six months ago, Tillis appeared to boast at least one major advantage, fundraising. Although he lagged behind Berger, the future speaker had drummed up ample funds for his party’s 2010 victories. Since taking control, he pursued corporate-shilling agenda that business liked so much he was named ALEC Legislator of the Year. His continued slew of bribes scored him flashy fundraising coups, which most of us thought would continue.
Now, Tillis’s money problems reduce his campaign’s competitiveness. It was plausible that he could’ve blown the competition away with one blast of visibility-raising. Jim Neal supporters remember how Hagan sealed her victory this way. But with Brannon* wowing the lunatic fringe, it’s clear that Tillis can’t win via others’ anonymity. And disappointing finances essentially finish the “Shock and Awe” tactic off.
Also, the visibility argument assumes Tilli’s support will rise with his name recognition. On Tuesday’s “Capital Tonight,” a pro-Tillis pundit helped undermine the case. He said, “the Republicans cannot nominate someone who cannot win a general election,” and “Thom Tillis is the only candidate who will be able to appeal to the middle-of-the-road voters….” Like all Republicans, the way for Tillis to strengthen his appeal is to “keep showing why we support the policies we support.” I don’t care that Tillis wears nice suits, I don’t care that he lives in Charlotte, I don’t care that he’s clearly lying about his social conservatism; moderates don’t want guns in bars.
Therein lies Tillis’s problem. He approved every scary bill that passed last session. Especially if he lacks the money to lie about it, Hagan will define him–accurately–as an agent of extremism. So yes, let’s raise Tillis’s name recognition and watch his campaign die a swift and well earned death.