#ncpol: Wheels falling off of Shumaker’s ‘Trump-hug’ strategy?

Uber-consultant Paul Shumaker is advising candidates in two of the state’s most-watched congressional primaries:  the GOP races in the 3rd and the 9th.

Indian casino lobbyist (and Shumaker client) Scott Dacey has been casting himself as the top Trump-booster and beating up incumbent Walter Jones for “opposing Trump” in the 3rd.  Meanwhile, there is little to no evidence that Dacey showed support for Trump until he filed for Congress and hired Shumaker.

Over in the 9th, Shumaker is trying the same ‘Trump-hug’ strategy with his client Robert Pittenger.  Let’s see how THAT is working:

If U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger has his way, the primary election for his seat will become a contest over loyalty to President Donald Trump.

Pittenger, a Republican from the Charlotte area, faces an opponent in Rev. Mark Harris, who came within 134 votes of beating him for the District 9 seat in June 2016.[…]

Harris has attempted to position himself to the right of Pittenger. So Pittenger recently released an ad that casts Harris as a critic of Trump, who carried the district with 54 percent of the vote in 2016.

In the ad, a newspaper headline appears on screen and reads, “Mark Harris worked to stop a Trump presidency.”

The ad’s narrator says, “Mark Harris worked to stop Trump from being president.”

In a news release accompanying the ad, Pittenger strategist Paul Shumaker said Harris “led the ‘Stop Trump’ campaign” before the GOP convention.

Harris, for his part, told The Charlotte Observer that there’s “no record whatsoever that I was part of a Stop Trump movement.”

PolitiFact contacted the Pittenger campaign about the claim. The campaign directed us to a WBT Radio clip from March 10, 2016, in which Harris talks about his support of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.


“He’s gonna be the next president of the United States,” Harris said of Cruz during the interview.

“It does seem that Donald Trump does have somewhat of a ceiling,” Harris said. “And in these close primaries, he loses most of the time. So I think that’s an interesting aspect. So I think coalescing behind Ted Cruz is a way to stop Donald Trump and go into the convention, get our nominee and come out and beat Hillary Clinton in the fall.

The radio host then asks Harris if he’d support Trump if Trump were to become the Republican nominee.

“That’s an interesting question,” Harris responds. “I think everyone is weighing that out and considering that.”

“To be honest, it’s a very concerning decision that will have to be made because we’re looking at one entire generation of Supreme Court justices being nominated that will affect us and I’m truly concerned most of all of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders having that ability to choose,” Harris continued. “I feel somewhat better about Donald Trump making those appointments but I can’t tell you I feel great about that by any stretch of the imagination.”


PolitiFact contacted the Harris campaign about the radio clip. Spokesman Andy Yates acknowledged in an email that Harris had concerns about Trump prior to his nomination.

But, Yates added, so did “the 60 percent of NC primary voters who voted for someone other than Donald Trump for president in the March primary, including Congressman Pittenger who was still supporting outspoken Trump opponent Marco Rubio.”

Marco Rubio ?????  *Gee, the ad didn’t say anything about THAT.*

(Or about Pittenger’s refusal to stop ObamaCare or his support for amnesty for illegals or …)


[…] The North Carolina primaries took place on March 15, 2016. That’s when Trump won a plurality of the votes, with 40 percent, and Cruz was the runner-up with 36 percent.

Yates provided a link to Pittenger’s Feb. 3 endorsement of Rubio and defended the “stop Trump” comment, pointing out that the radio interview took place four months prior to the Republican National Convention.

“Dr. Harris was fully supporting President Trump well before the convention and never engaged in any efforts to try to stop President Trump from receiving the nomination he had won,” Yates said.

[…] Certainly, campaigning for another candidate can be considered “working against” another. So how long did it take for Harris to support Trump?

Harris “switched his support to Trump when it became clear to him that Trump had secured the delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination,” Yates said. “Mark said that if he remembered correctly it was around the time of the California primary.”

The California primary in 2016 was held on June 7. By June 27 of that year, The Charlotte Observer wrote a story casting Harris as a defender of Trump’s.

“There’s more than just a four-year term for a president at stake,” Harris said, referring to Trump’s critics. “I think there’s a 40-year generation at stake. Decisions will be made by the next president that will affect us for 40 years.”

Pittenger, for his part, shifted his support to Trump that May. Shaheen forwarded an email that Pittenger sent to the Charlotte Observer on May 4. Pittenger was then quoted as supporting Trump in the Charlotte Agenda later that month.

By the time November rolled around, the Daily Beast wrote a story that referred to Harris as “part of Trump’s North Carolina spiritual advisory group.” Yates said Harris ultimately traveled to six states to support Trump and that he endorsed Trump from the pulpit at Charlotte First Baptist, where he was a pastor.


PolitiFact North Carolina ruling

Pittenger’s ad said, “Mark Harris worked to stop Trump from being president.” Pittenger has a point that Harris supported Ted Cruz for president until Trump became the Republican nominee. But he left out the important context that Pittenger also supported another candidate.

It’s disingenuous to cast Harris as someone who tried to sabotage Trump without providing context that Harris not only supported Trump after he became the nominee, but was reported to be among his spiritual advisers. We rate this claim Mostly False.

8 thoughts on “#ncpol: Wheels falling off of Shumaker’s ‘Trump-hug’ strategy?

  1. Typical lying Shumaker.

    RINO Pittenger, who is pro-amnesty for illegal aliens, endorsed amnesty Gang of 8 member Rubio. Harris endorsed anti-amnesty conservative Ted Cruz. Neither endorsed Trump in the primary, but both got behind him before the convention.

    It is crap like this that makes me allergic to any candidate who uses Shumaker. Same with Dee Stewart. Both are lying scoundrels who twist and distort facts..

  2. Most of meck delegates were for Rubio at the 2016 county convention there were 10 or 15 for cruz and at that time only like 2 for Trump this is coming from memory but I think my memory is correct

    And yea lots of people were worried about Trumps supreme court picks so much that they released the list of potential picks to put people’s minds at easy

    1. It is 100% true that most of the Meck delegates were for Rubio at the 2016 county convention. I had to sneak away with my Trump signs with people staring.I still can’t figure out why everyone thought Rubio was so wonderful.

      1. Because as seen saturday at the Meck GOP convention to them Republican means liberal and afraid to take a stand for goodness else they might offend other liberals they are reaching trying to reach out too

        Maybe then it is good that convention lost 50% of its turnout from 2017 at 110 to this year 55 delegates or maybe the leadership is just the worst the county hasn had in years well other then the leader forced to resign a short while ago that the haymaker reported on

  3. Do you really think it will make a nickles difference which one of these men is elected? They will both vote exactly the way Trump wants them to vote. The key is keeping Congress in GOP hands. The real problem in NC is all the liberals from other states moving here coupled with the ultra liberal colleges and out of control bureaucracies from the county to the state level.
    The establishment weasels in NC are well entrenched and coupled with the rise in libs,leftist and illegals having babies by the bundle the state will be true Blue pretty soon. The “Southern Strategy” will be a thing of the past, and Trumps strategy of taking back the Midwest states is the only hope now.

    1. True, Mecklenberg has become a dumping ground damn liberal northerner who want to get the hell out of where they are then change Meck into where they just came from!! Total bullcrap!! Go home!!

      1. Yep people moving to the city have turned it into a cesspool if you do not believe me you can stream the police department dispatch on broadcastify any weekend night and I dare you not to agree

    2. Pittenger is a pro-amnesty fake Republican who needs to go. At least Harris might listen on amnesty.

      Pittenger is part of the swamp. Harris at least for now is not.

      We need someone who will stand up to Paul Ryan’s big government nonsense. Pittenger is a Ryan yes-man. Harris, at least for now, is not.

      Those are big differences.

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