Garland, we hardly knew ye.


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.


  1.  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.)



17 thoughts on “Garland, we hardly knew ye.

  1. I met Tucker at the NCGOP Convention this past June and spoke to him about several different issues at his campaign suite. While he seemed to have the right ideas on economics and immigration, he was fuzzy on foreign policy. He seemed to have no firm convictions about it one way or the other.

    Even on the issues where he was well-versed, he didn’t project any particular urgency or passion. He struck me as a well-intentioned, cerebral guy not possessed of any particular sense of urgency.

    Contrast this with the last guy to take on Tillis in a primary, Greg Brannon. Granted, Brannon lost, but he campaigned with an almost manic passion, and had a worldview that was consistent across any issue about which you cared to ask him. That kind of single-minded, consistent message is a bare minimum for taking on an entrenched incumbent. I never got the impression that Tucker had that.

    It seems that a lot of other people were underwhelmed by him, too, and he’s simply no longer willing to self-fund this campaign. It makes me wonder whether toying with the idea of primarying Tillis was his idea, or that of one of his consultants.

    1. Adam
      You are so right about Greg Brannon. I met him and really tried to help him. He is the real deal. A bright and pure shining star. When Karl Rove endorsed Thom Thom, I knew Rino money would put him in DC. He has put a foul stench in the Senate. Sandy Smith has to be our new star.

  2. I called his campaign a couple of times and did not get a response. Then I met Sandy Smith. She has my vote. She has a spunk that is needed in DC.

  3. I planned on voting for Garland Tucker. Well, so much for the Republicans. Constitution Party? What say ye?

  4. I was at the Trump rally in Fayetteville a few months that Anti-Tillis people love to boast about, and I can honestly say that not that many people “booed” Thom Tillis. Not even 25% of the crowd booed him when he spoke, and less than 10 people booed him when President Trump mentioned him (which they were quickly drowned out when Trump announced that Sen. Tillis had introduced new legislation to hold sanctuary cities and counties accountable.)

    I’ve done some research on Tucker’s voting record and discovered that he hasn’t even voted in most of the primary’s in the last 20 years, and I personally don’t see why he all of a sudden cares about a primary. Plus it didn’t help that he boasted about Conservative Review giving Sen. Tillis a 33% conservative rating when they have given some of their top ratings to Anti-Trump Republicans like Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, and Now-Independent Justin Amash.

    Garland Tucker struck me as someone who couldn’t be trusted, and Sandy Smith doesn’t have the funding to compete against Tillis.

    In the end, I think Thom Tillis will win re-election, easily in the primaries, but anywhere from 2-5% in the General.

    1. I too was at the Trump Rally in Fayetteville. The Boo’s for Tillis were loud and clear and significantly more than 25% of the crowd. Later when the President introduced him, I think out of respect for the President, people withheld their disdain.

  5. Well, I guess this may be the first time I ever vote democrat in my life. It would serve the GOP right to get some left-wing clown in that seat as punishment for the Thillis debacle.

  6. Unless she also gives up, my vote will go with Sandy ” Solar Subsidy” Smith. She’s better looking than Thom, and, she’s not Thom.

  7. Sandy Smith ? Seriosly? So very disappointed to see that GT was not serious. Screw him and the horse he rode in on! The NC GOP can’t stand prosperity.

    1. NC GOP is horrid. Why we have Burr & Tillis. Burr has been complicit with Warner (Va) in attempt to destroy Trump. And, for 5Y, Till was anti-Trump but has ‘now turned’, right? Smith, unsure she ever gets off the ground….

  8. Regarding Joshua’s take on the Fayetteville boo-fest, I have a slightly different memory. When Pence did his warm-up act, a lot of RINOs had not yet filtered into their reserved seating, but the stinky deplorables (myself among them) had stood there all day and Pence already understood how unpopular Tillis was among his audience. Maybe he watched the crowd’s response earlier, when Tillis addressed the crowd was roundly boo’ed. I pegged the number at around two-thirds but they were vocal, so you never know. I DO know that I even heard person yell, “get off the stage” during Tillis’ speech.
    At any rate, about 10-15 minutes after Tillis sat back down, Pence gave a “tell” while introducing all of the politicians who would be attending that night. After naming each politician, he would pause and let the audience respond; but when he got to Tillis, he paired him with a local Congressman, by saying, “Thom Tillis and Richard Hudson will be joining us.” This way, the polite folks didn’t want to boo Hudson, so they remained muted. I noticed it at that moment and even briefly considered posting the odd behavior on Fb. Anyway, maybe 30 minutes later, Trump did the EXACT same thing! He welcomed people like Mark Meadows and paused for the crowd to cheer. Then, Dan Bishop (pause for loud crowd cheers), and then Dan Forest (pause for even louder cheers), but when it came to Tillis, he added Hudson to the sentence before people could boo Tillis. Had he paused, for Tillis, I think it would have been bedlam and bad optics.
    My takeaway was that the ONLY way Tillis can win in November is if he and Trump can convince the public that control of the Senate hangs in the balance. Those same RINOs who declared themselves as “never-Trumpers” will have a hard time shaming conservatives to vote for Tillis.

  9. Thank you for all the posted comments. I was going to vote for Garland until I read about Sandy Smith, just now. My vote goes to her. I’m sorry I ever voted for Tillis. I pray Sandy will get the money and name recognition she deserves.
    My husband has never met Karl Rove but the first time he heard him, he said he didn’t trust him. Now I know why.

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