#ncsen: What the Tillis camp is thinking riiiiiiiiight NOW

tillis listenNational Review’s Jim Geraghty has talked with a source of his who he says is a consultant “plugged in” to the GOP’s efforts in the Colorado and North Carolina US Senate races.  Here’s what his source has to say about our race:

In North Carolina, the outlook for Thom Tillis brightened somewhat. After consistently trailing by about three points through most of September and early October, Tillis and incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan are tied in the latest NBC News/Marist poll and the latest Survey USA poll.

This consultant thinks that the ads from liberal outside groups in favor of Hagan may actually be backfiring. A key part of Hagan’s message for this reelection bid is to emphasize — or at least claim — her centrism, her independence, her willingness to defy the liberal party line. Then the airwaves are suddenly full of ads touting Hagan and attacking Tillis from the political action funds of . . . Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters, and union groups.

“That’s the comparison we wanted!” the consultant chuckles. “Conservative vs. liberal is a better split for us than Republican vs. Democrat. ‘Conservative senator’ is the runaway favorite in what voters wanted, and Hagan had been trying to insist she’s a conservative. And now all these liberal groups are coming in [trying to reelect Hagan]. They don’t realize that it’s a dog whistle to independent voters.”

This consultant does have one or two variables keeping him up at night.
“We definitely need our ground game to work,” he says. “It’s been reinvented a lot since 2012. If they can turn out more low-propensity Democrats than they did in 2010, then we need to turn out more low-propensity Republicans this cycle than we did in 2010. There’s a really big opportunity here to win a lot of Senate seats. To do that, it doesn’t have to be a climate like 2010, but it needs to be close to that.”

Overall, this consultant suggests that the disappointing early-vote numbers for Democrats in other states reflect that there are “a few” members of that party who are now begrudgingly recognizing that the Obama approach hasn’t worked. “It’s hard to generate enthusiasm for something that isn’t working,” he says, listing the Islamic State, Ebola, and the border crisis as “new and fresh reminders no one is running the shop.” Throw in the VA and the awful launch of Obamacare, and voters are concluding, “Maybe these people just aren’t good at government.”[…] 

9 comments for “#ncsen: What the Tillis camp is thinking riiiiiiiiight NOW

  1. Tim
    October 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    This so-called “consultant” seems out of touch to me. Why wasn’t Tillis drawing the conservative-liberal distinction much earlier in the campaign? Why wait for Hagan’s liberal ads to do it? Also, this consultant seems ignorant of the fact that the NC GOP has no ground game in this election. The boots on the ground are always the conservative activists who have been ridiculed and slandered by the GOP Establishment for the past two years. No surprise that this year there are a lot fewer boots.

    • J Bink
      October 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      The Tillis campaign and the NCGOP thinks they can get the disengaged voter through $50,000,000 in TV ads in the same way that the Romney campaign won NC. They don’t need Conservative or grass roots activists anymore since they have big PACs and donors paying for ads.

  2. Delegate Z
    October 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    The early voting demographics are looking very bad for Tillis. About 33% GOP and high turnout by women who will probably tilt towards Hagan. I doubt Tillis will pull the 60% or so of unaffiliateds that traditionally can be captured.

    I think there is a real possibility of Hagan getting over 50% and Tillis low 40s. This election is reminding me of the Scottish independence referendum – the news hypes it as very close, they want the eyeballs – but in the end, it won’t be close at all.

  3. Art Bradshaw
    October 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    We all see how well you “hard cases” have done electing Brannon and taking over the republican party.You are just a bunch of disgruntled nabobs who are sore losers.Demographics are against any republican if the democrats get their voters to the polls.All the GOP have left is white men.If the democrats get women,blacks and Hispanics to the polls in great numbers republicans are toast.It will not be long in North Carolina when the Triangle,Triad and Charlotte wag the dog and turn North Carolina Blue.Large cities are always liberal democrat strongholds,poorly run and North Carolina will be no different.You want to send a message to the GOP and write in a candidate and possibly elect Hagen.We hear the message.You are nuts.

    • Raphael
      October 30, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Keep whistling past that graveyard. If the GOP establishment keeps pushing the same wimpy policies that do not address issues, they will end up with the same result that David Cameron did by doing that in the UK’s Conservative Party. Now they are facing a big challenge on their right flank from the upstarts of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which is on course for yet another victory over Cameron’s Conservative Party in the upcoming Parliamentary special election in Rochester and Strood, where the latest poll shows UKIP now up 13% over the Conservative Party:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2813402/Cameron-admitted-defeat-Ukip-crunch-election-says-Tories-PM-announced-vote-European-Arrest-Warrant-held-polling-day.html

      The GOP establishment needs to understand that taking a party leftward has this result. The GOP will have a watershed. Either it returns to principle, so it can win, or it will go the way of the Whigs, and American conservatives will have their own UKIP moment.

  4. Tim
    October 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Delegate Z is right. Early voting reports are disastrous for the GOP and Tillis. The dems have a ground game because they are passionate about their liberalism. There is no passion in the Republican establishment for conservatism and it is showing in early voting. Some very good conservative candidates down ballot may lose because of the dead weight at the top of the ticket and in the governor’s office.

    • Raphael
      October 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      What the Tillis debacle does to the rest of the ticket is my big concern, especially the judges. Off year elections are about turning out the base. Hagan has been running a campaign to turn out her base, while Tillis has been running a campaign to turn OFF the GOP base.

      Votes are driven by issues. Tillis in running a largely issueless campaign has let Hagan set the agenda there, and that is really stupid and self defeating thing to do in politics. Hagan has dealt with issues that are largely not Senate issues, but Tillis has let her get away with that.

      Even Mitch McConnell, for all his faults figured out he had to run an issue campaign this time, and from reports actually seems to have done it competently. Moderate Scott Brown has used an issue campaign, including against illegal immigration to pull himself into a very close race in New Hampshire which is more liberal than NC. Why didn’t Tillis’ campaign team have the brains to do that?

      To win an issue campaign you need to find issues that play to your base to motivate them and also play to the independents, and that resonate with voters. Polling found that John East had only one issue that did that which was the Panama Canal give away, so he beat Robert Morgan’s brains out with it, and won what many had considered a hopeless race.

      In this election, Obamacare should do that, but with Tillis’ record and his recent statements, he has no credibility on that issue. He is in the same position Romney was. A different candidate could have used that issue with a lot more impact against Hagan. The other issue is illegal immigration, which Tillis is again very tainted on and cannot use effectively. Polling has shown that is the number one issue this election with the GOP base, and the Washington Post poll also showing it is a winning issue for Republicans with independents and moderates. Among both moderates and independents that poll showed a candidate opposing a pathway to citizenship for illegals had an 11 point advantage over a candidate supporting such a pathway to citizenship.

      Tillis has been wrongly positioned to effectively use our best issues, and that is why he is losing. Tillis also has the Blueprint tarbaby sticking to him, which would not have been a problem for a non-legislator candidate. Nominating Tillis was a death wish for the GOP.

      • Kathy
        October 29, 2014 at 2:25 am

        I could not agree more. I would also ask why Reince Preibus came out today and said Republicans would shut down Obama’s executive amnesty if they take the Senate? REALLY? Why has the GOP waited until the early voting period to make such a claim? Is early voting by Republicans looking that bad that they now suddenly are making pleas to their base?

        • October 29, 2014 at 5:43 am

          Desperate they are! I received an email from Karl Rove two days ago headlined “Concerned and Scared” with, among others, the names of Dr. Ben Carson and Mike Lee mentioned in a positive way.
          Looked like an appeal to the Tea Party for help!

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