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Thom Tillis is walking the same tightrope that Jim Hunt walked in his U.S. Senate race 30 years ago. But Tillis’ balance is even more precarious.
 
Tillis today, like Hunt then, has to appeal to the broad November electorate and also pacify an extreme faction in his own party.
 
Hunt’s problems came from the then-ascendant left wing of the Democratic Party, symbolized by Walter Mondale, Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson. For Tillis, it’s the Tea Party.
 
Unlike Tillis, Hunt didn’t have to run a primary gauntlet. Tillis wants to avoid it, so he’s avoiding debates and joint appearances with his opponents. He saw what happened to Mitt Romney when Romney tried to appease the Fox News crowd in 2012.
 
Tillis is also resorting to the last resort of political scoundrels: the argument that he is more “electable.” That’s code for “not a nut.” His campaign is busily warning other Republicans, especially legislators, that they will be endangered species in November if the GOP nominates one of Tillis’ opponents.
 
Tillis hopes to avoid proving the old adage that the only things in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead possums.
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Reaganite
# Reaganite
Monday, January 20, 2014 2:51 PM
This post is so off base that it is laughable. You Democrats really do want to run against Tillis as you know he is the weakest. You want to follow what your Missouri cohorts did to do everything possible to help Akin in the primary for the same reason. Tillis has as much baggage as the left luggage office of JFK airport.

In fact, Tillis is the one whom the rest of the ticket should be VERY afraid of having at the top of the ballot. The reason is simple - the leftwing ''Blueprint'' plan to smear the legislature by distorting its record. Thanks to the incompetent GOP pushback from Robin Hayes' inept GOP headquarters, Blueprint and its trashing of the legislature has unfortunately taken root. So what happens if Tillis is the Senate nominee? Big bucks get pumped in by unions, liberal groups, and Democrat groups attacking Tillis by attacking the legislature in a massive wave of TV ads. They are already rubbing their hands in glee at this prospect. That hurts the entire GOP ticket, which will not have the funds to counter it. Especially hurt will be our legislative candidates. There may be variations like blasting the outlandish raises he gave his own staff and tie that to the Democrats' ''blueprinting'' McCrory over the same issue.

None of the other Senate candidates are in the legislature, much less in legislative leadership, and NONE of them would be susceptible to this type of attack.

When Tillis appears before various special interest groups, but not before Republican voters, he is showing exactly who he would really represent in DC, and many Republican activists are ready to puke at that type of elected official.

Then there is Tillis' mishandling the sex and influence scandal in his office, which led to, among others, his roommate and chief of staff. Did any of the other Republicans have a sex and influence scandal in their office? I didn't think so!

The term ''electability'' is one usually bestowed by Big Media on a wimpy Republican candidate who is, in fact, not electable. Romney and McCain are two good recent examples. Tillis is actually the candidate most likely to turn off the GOP base voters, which are critical in an off year. Many remember with disgust, Tillis' origin from the opportunistic Richard Morgan winglet of the party which allied with Jim Black. Turning off the base can destroy a candidate, like it did with Romney. Sean Trende, co-author of Alamanc of American Politics, did an excellent analysis showing that over three million white Republican voters who had come out for McCain, stayed home for Romney. Tillis is the one candidate in the Senate primary with huge potential to cause a significant part of the GOP base to either stay home or at least skip that race. Again, I can see exactly why Democrats would want to promote him.

Off year elections are about turning out your base. Tillis will not turn out the base; he will turn OFF the base.

Well, Gary, you were close on the quote Jesse Helms used to use frequently, but the correct version is ''the only thinks you find in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead SKUNKS''. As to you calling the Tea Party extreme, it is amazing how you socialists think that freedom is extreme.

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