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Democrats are no doubt playing in the GOP Senate primary, but some of the parallels being drawn may be exaggerated.
Rob Christensen compared Democrats’ strategy against Thom Tillis to what Democrats did in Missouri in 2012 to help re-elect Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. There, Republicans nominated a Tea Party nut who promptly lost to the otherwise-vulnerable incumbent.
Yes, Democrats are running ads targeting Tillis in the primary. Both the Hagan campaign and Senator Harry Reid’s PAC are playing that game.
But Tillis is going to be the Republican nominee. And while I’m no expert on Republican politics, Tillis should win on May 6 without a runoff.
The more plausible strategy is to damage Tillis now, when people are looking at the Republican candidates. And it’s working. The negatives against Tillis are adding up. As Carter noted, the Speaker hurt himself by using taxpayers’ money to pay off staffers who had affairs. Remember Pearce’s Law: the worst wounds in politics are self-inflicted.
Now, it would be sweet for Hagan if Tillis is forced into a runoff. He then has to spend more time and money, as well as take more hits. And he has to decide whether to remain Speaker during this year’s legislative session. If he does, House Democrats should beat him like a piñata.
What’s important is that Democrats are learning to play hardball.


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One comment on “Primary Meddling?

  1. Anonymous says:

    There likely is meddling here but of another sort, and the media is just feeding it. By attacking Tillis as if he is their main opponent, the Democrats and their media friends are trying to sucker Republicans into nominating him. The polls of voters show that Tillis is weaker against Hagan than most of the others in the GOP field and the straw polls show that the GOP rank and file has little enthusiasm for Tillis. Is the candidate of the GOP beltway establishment, but not of the party base. Off year elections are turnout elections, and for that a candidate who does not fire up the party base often turns our to be a loser. Karl Rove should know about that, as he has lost 10 of the 12 US Senate races he has been involved in.

    Missouri Democrats steered Republicans into nominating the opponent they wanted, Todd Akin, by attacking Akin. Harry Reid and Kay Hagan are saying to North Carolina Republicans ”please don’t throw us into that Tillis briar patch”, and trying to do exactly the same thing by attacking Tillis. It is also useful to remember that at the time of the GOP primary, Akin was also Karl Rove’s candidate, while Akin’s two primary opponents had Tea Party backing.

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