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Elusive Sen. Burr joins Republican establishment support of Tillis as primary heats up

by Hannah Hogewood

A piece published today by Politico focuses on Sen. Thom Tillis’s decision to stick close to President Trump, calling NC’s junior senator “Trump’s new best friend” facing the “stiffest GOP primary campaign of the 2020 cycle.” The Politico story also includes some revelations about the GOP establishment’s sudden circling of the wagons around Tillis.

Tillis, disliked by Republicans and Democrats alike for his flip-flopping stances and almost at-random lines in the stand, is suddenly enjoying support from establishment Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and longtime NCGOP icon Carolyn Justice.

In April a poll found that Tillis had less support from Republican base voters than almost all other Republican senators up for reelection in 2020. So, after Garland Tucker launched a primary challenge, Republican special interest groups rushed to Tillis’s rescue with six-figure ad buys.

Even NC’s other Senator, Richard Burr, who usually avoids speaking publicly (Burr once climbed out of an office window with his dry cleaning to avoid reporters), found strong words in opposition to Tillis’s primary challenger Garland Tucker. Politico reported that Burr said Tucker’s election campaign was nothing more than Conservative strategist and the late Sen. Jesse Helms aide Carter Wrenn’s “retirement fund.”

“This is Carter Wrenn’s retirement fund. That’s the only reason he’s got Garland running,” Burr said of the race. (Politico, 11/18/19)

Despite this challenge from the realm of the granddaddy of the modern conservative movement and NC’s Republican establishment, establishment Republicans in DC seem to have again made the often controversial Senator Tillis their chosen candidate in NC.