#NCSEN: Conservative write-in effort kicks into gear

rhodesIf all goes as one group of activists hopes, North Carolinians will have a FOURTH choice for US Senate this November.  Democrat Kay Hagan, Republican Thom Tillis, and Libertarian Sean Haugh already have places on the Senate ballot.  Activists led by some Charlotte-area Tea Partiers are seeking to qualify former Republican state legislator John Rhodes as a write-in candidate on the November ballot.   A web site (writeinrhodes.org) has been launched, and a video interview with Rhodes, himself, has been released.   The site includes downloadable forms for collecting signatures and instructions on what do with those signatures.  They must be collected and submitted by no later than July 22.

State law requires at least 500 signatures from duly registered North Carolina voters to ensure that a write-in’s votes are tallied on Election Day.  You can write in “Donald Duck,” but unless petitions have been submitted in support of Mr. Duck, those votes will simply be ignored at tally time. 

Long-time followers of North Carolina politics may remember Rhodes as a member of the long-suffering Republican minority in the state House.  Many saw him as the key — the catalyst — in the downfall and indictment of House speaker Jim Black.  Rhodes utilized his floor privileges, and the media, to call attention to the misdeeds of Black and his Republican ally Richard Morgan.

In 2005, Americans For Prosperity named Rhodes as its “Legislator of The Year.”  In 2006, the Charlotte political machine lined up former Cornelius town councilman Thom Tillis to primary Rhodes.  Rhodes was attacked for being too mean to Jim Black, not bringing home enough government pork to Charlotte, and for being found “ineffective” in a survey of lobbyists.  All that, coupled with a ton of special interest money, succeeded in toppling Rhodes and producing a little payback for Black and his cronies.

Rhodes is now unaffiliated — having left the GOP and politics altogether after his 2006 defeat.  In a written statement, Rhodes had this to say: thom sigh

” I harbor no political ambitions.  I did not seek this out.  But I have been approached by an incredible number of people asking me to agree to this.  The encouragement is certainly very flattering.  If the people of North Carolina decide to select me as their next United States senator, I will be honored and will serve them to the best of my ability.”

Rhodes said his time in Raleigh gave him some special insight into the seedier side of governing and politics:

[…] ”It is evident that simply a Republican or Democrat majority won’t fix Washington  — only changing the way Washington operates will help. When a politician is essentially owned by numerous corporate sponsors, in fair public disclosure, they really should wear a racing jumpsuit laden with logos similar to a stock car driver so we really know who is driving their decisions and funding their seats in our Legislature. Sadly, ‘corporate sponsors’ now own a majority of our elected officials.”  […]


48 thoughts on “#NCSEN: Conservative write-in effort kicks into gear

  1. Wouldn’t it have been easier to work for Brannon. I mean, hey, Brannon was on the ticket and everything. Working for Brannon would have prevented the need for a write-in campaign. Hopefully these people will work harder for Rhodes than they did Brannon.

    But good luck to them. It should be a real hoot.

    1. Brannon was the weakest and least-conservative candidate. Brannon opposed the Republican presidential ticket in 2012. He said that voting Republican for President in 2012 was voting for tyranny. So he wrote in Ron Paul’s name, one of the least conservative (thankfully now former!) members of Congress. (AFAIK, Brannon has never revealed whether he voted Republican in 2008.)

      Tillis was one of the most conservative candidates, and he’s certainly by far the most conservative candidate remaining in the race who has a chance to win.

      1. And you seem to be the most uninformed poster on this board. Anyone who can take the progressive record of Tillis and call him a conservative is out there in la-la land.

        Romney was no conservative, and even those of us who held our noses to vote for him because the alternative was so much worse, know that.

        What determines whether a candidate is conservative is his record of issues and policy, and Tillis flunks the test badly there.

      2. DB- You seem to have gotten the words progressive and conservative mixed up (reversed).

  2. Most conservative voters care more about issues and policy than about personalities. Tillis can hit some good licks in this General Assembly session to earn the support of conservative voters if he chooses to do so. We will see how that goes.

    The discussion is ongoing online and offline about what to do in the November election, such as here:


    Tillis needs to comprehend that actions speak louder than words if he wants to be successful in November. And he needs to avoid any more stubbing of his toe as he did in the Brawley witchhunt.

    1. I get the desire to give Tillis more opportunity to earn a vote, and the feeling of wishing vote could be a little more useful in the face of the godawful political situation we’ve got nowadays, and your comment got me thinking… I do really think it’s telling that we’ve seen so much of Tillis during his time in public life and people still dont like it, and want him to show us something better.

      I get it… but just sayin’ – imho, I lean towards the idea that we kinda already know the nature of this particular beast, and empty rhetoric and a “strong” stance on something inconsequential a few months before an election is likely just deception and pandering – I dont think this leopard is gonna be changing his spots, or is capable of it.

      I think the core of that problem is, I think anyone who bothers to look can see “exactly” who Tillis is and what he believes in. *sigh*

  3. The GOP base simply despises the the Washington DC Republican Establishment which has completely sold out the conservatives on virtually every issue. If Tillis is perceived as the “establishment candidate,” he will go down in flames.

  4. Interesting effort, would be cool to see it work out.

    Speaking of write-in efforts, does anyone know if they even tally the number of write-ins at all? I get that they dont keep track of what the individual write-in names are, but I mean just a total number for “write-in votes cast”. Just curious… 🙂

    1. You can get a count of write-ins from the board of elections websites, but only those candidates who have filed will be broken out separately. Collecting the 500 signatures for Rhodes keeps his totals distinct from Mickey Mouse and Jesus, etc who get lumped into one bucket.

      1. So what you’re saying is the 500 signatures qualifies Rhodes votes to be recognized and counted.

  5. Wouldn’t it be great to see a strong conservative third party start in Mecklenburg County and spread across the country. Will there be an official sign-up at the next Lake Norman Conservatives meeting?

  6. There is nothing Thillis can now do that would earn him my vote. He has proven since 2005 that he is a big Govco, anti-liberty Repub, and going to Mordor on the Potomac will only emboldened him to continue with his “conservative” charade. The only difference between Kay and Thommy is the length of the hair.

    1. “The only difference between Kay and Thommy is the length of the hair.”

      I think Kay’s hair is a little too long and I think Thommy should let his grow out a bit. Both need to seek the middle ground as far as hair is concerned.

      Good hair is important is a close race.

    2. Thom has proven, over and over, that he’s a pro-liberty, pro-family, pro-life, small government conservative. Kay Hagan is a big government, anti-liberty, anti-life liberal.

      Anyone who can’t see that is delusional.

      What’s more, opposing Thom at this stage, after he has won the nomination, is working to keep Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Barbara Mikulski, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, Dianne Feinstein, Bernie Sanders and John D. Rockefeller IV in their leadership positions, and working to help Barack Hussein Obama continue to turn the United States of America into a bigger version of Belgium.

      1. I was a visitor to the 2013 NCGOP Exec Committee meeting, where I saw Thom encourage people to break quorum, rather than allow a vote against a HOT lanes resolution to take place. He had his chance to argue against it then pulled the rug out from everyone else.

        It changed my opinion of him fundamentally. Made me wonder what kinds of parliamentary skullduggery he engaged in at the legislature. Now I’m skeptical how he would behave as a US senator, who he would represent, and who his friends would be up there.

      2. If you want to see delusional, Dave, go look in a mirror.

        Was Tillis conservative when he told the NC Farm Bureau that he supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens? Was he conservative when he supported the green boondoggle of the renewable energy mandate? Was he conservative when he pushed a bill through the NC House to set up a state Obamacare exchange in NC? The list could go on.

        Tillis needs to take some strong acts to convince conservative voters he can be trusted in DC. He still has the time to do that, but the clock is ticking.

  7. Since Lake Norman Conservatives is not holding meetings this summer and we need signatures before July 22, I would go to the website http://www.writeinrhodes.org and access the petition sheet there. I may also see about setting up a Mix & Mingle in Huntersville (not a dating event — don’t worry) so that we can hand out petitions there. Check the Lake Norman Conservatives Facebook page for info on this gathering. In the meantime, print the form, the flyer on the website and start collecting those signatures. Rhodes is a great man and conservative!

    1. You won’t find any conservatives signing this petition to help Kay Hagan get reelected. Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Barbara Mikulski, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, Dianne Feinstein, Bernie Sanders and John D. Rockefeller IV thank you for helping them to keep their leadership positions in the Senate, and Barack Hussein Obama thanks you for helping him to turn the United States of America into a bigger version of Belgium.

      1. There is no difference between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. Both work for the same masters.

        1. Thom is doing the Lord’s work. Hagan is doing the enemy’s.

          If you can’t tell the difference between pro-life and pro-death, if you can’t tell the difference between pro-liberty and pro-government, if you can’t tell the difference between free enterprise and socialist, then please pray to the God of Truth to give you discernment.

          1. Oh pu-lease! Give one a break. The Lord’s work?

            The Lord’s work. Tillis: My staff members are having affairs in my apartment (aka – The Tillis Legislative Sugar Shack) with their lobbyist sweeties, I won’t tell. Oops, dude’s got caught, now I’m going to reward them with a big bonus’s for sleeping with someone else’s spouse. The Lord would want it that way.

            The Lord’s work: Tillis: I have no interest in working with conservatives and want to destroy the Tea Party like my handlers Mitch Kickback McConnell and Karl Marx Rove instructed me to do. It’s doing the Lord’s work you know.

            Tillis: Lets increase lottery advertising so we can huckster a few more lottery players into losing their money. The Lord would want us to do that.

            Tillis: We must divide and conquer people on government assistance and turn one of them against the other. The Lord would want it that way.

            There’s a sucker born everyday and one that tries to sucker others under the guise of doing the Lord’s work.

            I’ll bet the Lord’s not too pleased about this attempt to mislead others, but we’ll be praying for you Dave.

            Don’t we wish we were all as smart as Dave. Goodness he knows everything except what a sucker he’s being played by sycophant Tillis.

            The Lord wanted me to tell you that Dave. You’re being suckered by a wicked evil person.

          2. What is the difference between Tillis’ pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens and that of Hagan? What is the difference between Tillis’ costly green boondoggles and those of Hagan?

      2. Dave, you would have a much stronger argument if someone other than Mitch ”Kentucky Kickback” McConnell was Republican leader in the Senate. He is more a Harry Reid lap puppy than a watchdog. And are Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Orrin Hatch, etc. that much better than the Democrats you mention? Republicans do better when we paint in bold colors, not pale pastels, as Reagan both told us and showed us.

        Conservatives know from his record that Tillis is not and never has been one of us. He does have some opportunities in this legislative session to do some things that might make conservatives come around to supporting him by demonstrating that he can stand up for conservative principles. I just hope he has the brains and gonads to do so, but I have my doubts. Talk alone is not going to get it, since Tillis has too long a history of talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    1. Well, conservatives have nothing to rejoice over, as we have no chance of electing a conservative in November. The only real prospects are two duds, although one of those duds still has the chance to show that he is worth conservatives holding their nose and voting for him as the lesser of two evils. He has a short time to be able to make that case while the legislature is in session.

    1. Dave, I did not know that was where your paycheck came from. I had always though Karl (Marx) Rove or the US Chamber of Corruption. . . err . . . Commerce were more likely suspects.

  8. As much as I dislike Thom Tillis, I dislike Kay Hagan and Harry Reid more. I will not be writing in someone’s name to assure Hagan is reelected. What the heck are you people thinking? You’re not!

  9. I think a successful write-in campaign that reelects Kay Hagan is the only way for the Tea Party to maintain relevance.

    Taking Tillis down would prove that the Tea Party still had some strength left.

    It will be hard work but whoever got anywhere without hard work.

    1. Yes, we must keep the Jim Black Richard Morgan legacy alive and elect Thom Tillis. Please keep up the smear and fear campaign going. If Tillis is not elected than our country, our very world will cease to exist. The universe hangs in the balance. Paul Shumaker won’t get a bonus, Jim Black will be heart broken that his boy didn’t get to Washington, and Richard Morgan will not be welcome back in the party. Karl Rove’s record will go 2 wins for 13 losses. The very universe hangs in the balance Oh my. Oh my what to do, what to do.

      1. I’ve heard that if Thom Tillis were to win, he’s going to appoint Richard Morgan to a position in DC just to break it off in conservatives. So disappointing. Go Hagan!

    2. Tillis is fighting against the Democrats “wink, wink” and against the conservatives. Who’ll be left to vote for the stiff.

  10. If you add a conservative candidate to the mix, you will insure Kay Hagan’s reelection.

    1. The issue is – how much real difference does that make? Tillis needs to show by actions in this legislative session that he gets the message that he needs to stand by conservative principles. If he continues playing footsie with the bi-partisan establishment, he is probably toast. It is up to Tillis to demonstrate by actions why conservatives should consider him in November, and the doubletalk that comes out of his mouth does not count.

    2. I’m a lifelong Republican, and what’s the problem again with Hagan being re-elected when the alternative is Terrible Thom Tillis?

    3. And if you don’t add a conservative candidate to the mix you also ensure Kay Hagan’s reelection. Why should conservatives turn out when there’s no conservative to vote for?

      1. Tillis has proven his conservative credentials by his strong performance in the NCGA. Listen to the words of Rep. Paul Stam (pasted from his web site):


        Why I Endorsed Thom Tillis For The U.S. Senate
        April 10th, 2014

        In 2011 hardly a day went by without some reporter or pundit decrying the “abrupt turn to the right” of the North Carolina House and Senate. These cries of alarm were multiplied in 2013 when, for the first time in 144 years, a Republican Governor met a Republican legislative majority upon his inauguration. When newspaper commentators talked about an “abrupt turn to the right” what they meant was sound conservative government. They were right.

        In 2010, Republicans, including myself as House Minority Leader and Thom Tillis as House Minority Whip, campaigned all over the state telling voters what we would do if we obtained a majority. We obtained that majority and we accomplished almost everything on our agenda. What did we do?

        The Democrats budgeted by continually increasing tax rates before and during the recession. We stopped that. We repealed the temporary sales tax and the temporary income tax surcharge to the tune of $1 billion per year. Then in 2013, with Gov. McCrory’s support, we passed real tax reform lowering income tax rates for everybody – EVERYBODY – while eliminating dozens of loopholes. Our overall tax burden went from 6th worst in the country to 17th best. We are much more competitive now and the jobless rates and job gains reflect it.

        We started on regulatory reform in 2011 as much as we could with Governor Perdue in the way. We took more huge strides in 2013. Squeals from the left were deafening. Long-overdue election reform elicited howls from Democratic leaders even though most of their voters approved.

        In 2011 we started a major expansion of educational opportunities. This continued in 2013 after Governor Perdue lost her veto pen. In 2011 we passed scholarships for children with special needs who needed to attend private schools. We continued that in 2013 with opportunity scholarships for others. Public education reform featured Read to Achieve – a major effort designed to make sure that third graders would be taught to read so that by the time they were in fourth grade they could read to learn.

        What does Thom Tillis have to do with all of this? For those who know how Raleigh works, nothing passes the House or Senate without the blessing of the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate. While the Governor has an official veto it can be overridden and has been. The Speaker and the President Pro Tem cannot be overridden in any practical way.

        A word about Thom Tillis’ competition. During his term as President of the State Baptist Convention, Mark Harris was an integral part of the referendum campaign to pass the Marriage Amendment. It passed with 61% of the vote. He should be thanked for that effort. But how did the marriage amendment get on the ballot in 2012? We had been trying without success for 8 years. Jim Black and Joe Hackney would not allow a vote. In 2011/2012 there were not 72 Republican members in the House (only 68) and not every Republican was actually in support of putting this on the ballot. It was Speaker Tillis who worked with enough Democrats to put us over the top and worked with some nervous Republicans to make sure that we had the votes and the right legislative strategy and language. Look at the actual tasks of a U.S. Senator. Which role is appropriate to consider in deciding who will effectively defend marriage in Washington?

        I respect and thank Dr. Greg Brannon for testifying in favor of the Woman’s Right to Know Act and for reviewing its language along with four other physicians. In general the organized OB/GYN Community is hostile to prolife legislation. But what did Speaker Tillis do for the prolife cause? In 2011 we did not have enough Republicans to pass anything over the veto of Governor Perdue. The Woman’s Right to Know Act passed over her veto without one vote to spare. It was up to the Speaker to make the arrangements necessary to get those final votes from four Democrats and to calm the nerves of several Republicans who would have rather not voted. He also had to clear the legislative hurdles to get it through the House, the Senate and the override of Governor Perdue. Less remarked that session was the end to state funding of Planned Parenthood, the end of state funding of abortion through the State Health Plan and the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

        In 2013, under the leadership of Speaker Tillis, we were able to pass an end to city and county employee abortions, a prohibition on abortion coverage through policies sold in North Carolina through the federal exchange, an end to sex election abortion, and an expansion of conscience rights for healthcare providers. Speaker Tillis’ knowledge and commitment was indispensible in getting this landmark legislation through the maze. In my considered opinion these measures, taken together, will reduce the abortion rate about 30% in North Carolina. The current decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court do not allow us to stop many more than that. We will make further progress in the next Session. Because of his efforts, Speaker Tillis has been endorsed by the National Right to Life committee.

        Back to the beginning. There has been a decided turn toward sound conservative government for the last 3 years. Speaker Tillis has been the chief architect of that turn. Those who attack him for lack of conservative credentials are disconnected from reality. I will vote early for Speaker Tillis on April 24, 2014 and encourage you to join me through the final Election Day on May 6.


        Rep. Paul Stam
        Apex, NC
        Tel: 919-362-8873

        1. Skip Stam? Don’t make me laugh! If you believe he is a conservative, you probably also believe that Lindsay Graham is as well. Stam is an unguided missile when he gets outside his one issue turf of RTL.

          How about a genuine small government conservative in the legislature like say Robert Brawley or Glen Bradley, those who know a thing or two about issues other than RTL.

          The there is the National Association for Gun Rights which ranks Tillis a D- on 2nd amendment issues.

        2. Paul Stam a conservative? Are you kidding. An establishment hack for sure but no conservative.

  11. I am not one to vote for rhinos. A bad Republican is the same as a good democrat. Quite frankly if tillis looses by an rial number of write ins a strong message will be sent and that is what we need to happen. That and the hope that conservatives in other states get elected. I consider it like the nj race. Your gonna loose so pick another and maybe a difference can be Made there.

    1. The only RINO in this race was, thankfully, defeated in the primary. He came in a distant second.

      It was reasonable to argue over whether Tillis, Harris, Grant or Alexander was the best choice for conservatives, during the primary. But nobody sane can believe that Tillis is not the most conservative candidate of the two remaining in the race, now.

      1. Look at Tillis’ ratings on the Civitas Conservative Effectiveness Rating. They are D’s and F’s and that is NOT conservative.

        Can the Leopard change his spots?

        1. Why did Civitas take down the ratings? Does anyone have a link that is valid. Unfortunatly its not up any longer. Gosh I thought Civitas was fair and honest. Tillis did score an F on multiple occasions for ranking the most un-conservative member of the House an F Epic FAIL http://www.civitasaction.org/house/Thom%20Tillis/2010/


          How would Republican primary voters feel about a prominent supporter of gay marriage holding a fundraiser for Thom Tillis in New York City?

          That would be Paul Singer, a hedge-fund CEO whom the Washington Post calls “the money man behind pro-gay marriage Republicans.”

          The Post reported that, “Last week, Singer and other donors threw two fundraisers for Republican candidates in New York City. The first one supported Thom Tillis, the House speaker in the North Carolina state legislature….The event raised about $280,000.”

          The Post calls Singer “one of the foremost backers of LGBT rights on the right. Since 2010, Singer has spent more than $10 million trying to get states to legalize gay marriage and get Republicans to join the battle.”


          But it is not surprising. Thom Tillis has never been a conservative. Look at his ratings on the Civitas Conservative Effectiveness ratings, where he got D’s and F’s. That is a progressive, not a conservative.

  12. In 2010 Hagan voted against the Dream Act that Ellmers, Tillis and Pittenger would have supported had Cantor won.

    Id probably support Tillis but the immigration issue actually favors Hagan. Tillis expanded immigration when he got the chance.

    1. Tillis also supported giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens and gutting e-Verify in NC, and he told the NC Farm Bureau that he supports a ”pathway to citizenship” (amnesty) for illegal aliens. He is also bought and paid for by the stridently pro-amnesty US Chamber of Commerce.

      This is an important policy area where at the present time Tillis’ record causes very serious concern for conservative voters, and one he badly needs to address in a conservative fashion if he wants to win conservative votes.

    2. Tillis is going to have to ”come to Jesus” on the immigration issue if he expects conservatives to consider his candidacy. Just saying he is ”against amnesty” will not cut it since many establish types want to define ”amnesty” in bizarre ways, like Marco Rubio saying the Gang of 8 bill is ”not amnesty” or Renee Ellmers saying ”it isn’t amnesty because they pay a fine”.

      Tillis needs to define what ”amnesty” means to him. For conservatives that is going to need to include opposing any pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens who are in this country illegally, and it is going to have to include refusing any special priveleges to illegal aliens that gives them an advantage over those who apply properly and remain in their home countries like they are supposed to do. And he is going to have to do something to make us believe he means it. He also needs to show that he will stand up to his bankrollers at the US Chamber of Commerce on this issue, and represent his constituents rather than his contributors.

      With the current crisis at the border, Tillis really does need to speak out on immigration. His silence is deafening at this juncture.

      Amnesty is a third rail issue in Republican politics and Tillis needs to get right with the base on it, if he expects the support of the base against Hagan.

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