Just like the month of March, the rich guy from Raleigh came onto the scene like a lion, but left quietly like a lamb. Garland Tucker had quite a story to tell — a successful businessman not unlike our current president. A background untouched — until now — by political campaigning. He was a vessel for all the hopes and dreams of millions of North Carolinians who HELL HATE Thom Tillis. (We’re talking pure hatred. You can simply post his face on social media, and the vile, hateful comments come rolling in by the hundreds. No one outside of Mecklenburg County invites him to campaign.)
Tucker had a personal fortune that he could use to help finance this endeavor.
Then came the first day of filing. And the surprise announcement that all of this going-through-the-motions was for naught. What happened? Well, I have my theories. And I also have some background from some sources close to the campaign.
- The advisory team. Granted, Carter Wrenn and Dick Morris — no slouches when it comes to campaigns — were in the house. But the rest of the organization was loaded with the same 20-somethings and 30-somethings who helped turn Wake County into a one-party county (DEMOCRAT). Campaign manager Charles Hellwig reportedly auditioned for the NCGOP executive director’s position by promising to do “everything in his power to get Thom Tillis reelected.”
The NCGOP is overloaded with recent college graduates who have hung out shingles and passed out business cards proclaiming themselves “political consultants.” And this same crowd manages to screw up campaign after campaign.
2. Marketing & Messaging. The campaign did a terrible job of introducing Tucker to us. They came right out attacking Tillis. Granted, that’s important. A lot of people are ready to buy into a Tillis opponent. They just need to know some more about him (or her). After some soft ads introducing Tucker, some hard-hitting ones would be appropriate. You could hit Tillis on his Tucker Carlson show appearance where he ridiculed the idea of a border wall. You could attack Tillis for abandoning a North Carolina judicial nominee in favor of one put forth by a South Carolina senator. You could even talk about how Tillis edited out all of the boos at that rally where Trump praised him.
3. The Barbara Jackson treatment. Remember how the NCGOP abandoned incumbent Supreme Court justice Barbara Jackson because ONE POLL showed her down to Anita Earls? It can be easily argued that Tucker got the same treatment. His “advisors” found a poll that apparently showed “his” issues are no longer at the tops of everyone’s minds. Impeachment is. (I don’t know who they’re talking to. I bump into people all the time furious about the border and the lack of immigration controls. ) It’s usually a candidate’s job to make “his” or “her” issues the top item of the agenda. Failing to do so puts a lot of blame on the campaign staff (and some on the candidate).
Conservative groups like The Club For Growth stood ready to help Tucker.
It is now so late in the game that — to take Tillis now — would involve a candidate already with high name ID and access to a lot of cash. George Holding and Mark Walker got screwed royally in redistricting. This could provide an opportunity for them to get promoted and stay in Washington. (Though, there still is that ‘Public Official A’ thing.)