For months now, and especially on the heels of his unexplainable op-ed flip flop in the Washington Post, there have been rumors and speculation that the incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis might face a primary challenger. Now, one has appeared in the form of Garland Tucker.
From the Greensboro News & Record:
RALEIGH — A retired North Carolina investment company executive has taken the first step toward challenging U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in next year’s Republican primary.
Garland Tucker of Raleigh filed on Monday candidate committee paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. Political adviser Carter Wrenn says people close to Tucker have been urging him to run, and that Tucker will make a formal statement later in the week.
Tucker is the former CEO of Triangle Capital Corp. While long involved in conservative politics, Tucker’s never run for elected office.
The biggest issue Tucker will have to reckon with is his opposition to President Trump prior to the election, at least until it became clear that the only options were Trump and Clinton. He went as far as penning an op-ed in the News & Observer to make the argument for electing Trump because it meant not electing Clinton.
Tucker is independently wealthy, and has deep ties to North Carolina’s conservative intelligentsia. He’s deeply involved with the John Locke Foundation and the Civitas Institute, and has written for National Review, The Daily Caller and other publications.
Tillis faces low approval within his own party; a recent Morning Consult poll showed him with 51% of Republicans approving of his job. A recent column on PoliticsNC outlined how those numbers might open the door to a primary opponent.
Tillis being the incumbent certainly makes him the favorite, but a well-funded conservative that has nothing to lose will be a thorn in his side as he seeks to remain North Carolina’s senator.
Kirk Kovach is a native North Carolinian interested in writing about politics, communication and culture.