#NCSEN: Inside the Tillis fundraising juggernaut

moneycountI had an interesting conversation a couple of nights ago with an old friend of mine who lives on the North Carolina coast.  He’s a successful businessman with a BIG bank account —  a fact which attracts a lot of groveling and butt-kissing from non-profits and politicians. 

One question he asked me in the middle of our conversation:  Have you heard of this Thom Tillis fellow? What do you think of him?  (Obviously, he hasn’t been reading this blog very closely.  Probably too busy being a good capitalist.)

I asked why that question came up.  He told me that his local Republican state House member came to see him at his office.  My friend was friendly with this person before they got elected to the House, and has remained a close ally. My friend says this legislator hit him with a pretty aggressive, passionate pitch to donate to the Thom Tillis US Senate campaign.

Of course, my friend couldn’t ID Tillis in a police lineup — or if he bumped into him on the street.  He did cut a check to the Tillis campaign based on his friendship with this particular legislator.  That check doesn’t necessarily signify a vote for Tillis.  It was really not much more than a wealthy man doing a favor for a friend.  

The establishment and mainstream media have been cooing over the size of Thom’s campaign bank account.  I am sure this incident I just described didn’t happen in a vacuum.  I am sure things like this are happening in just about every GOP-held legislative district in the state.  Fundraising is important — but what you do with those dollars is even more important.

If the size of the campaign account was the deciding factor, we would have had GOP presidential nominee John Connally in 1980, GOP congressional nominee Bernie Reeves in the 13th congressional district in 2010, and a reelected Elizabeth Dole in 2008.  (Dole outraised Hagan by $2 million in the 2008 race.  John Connally, the former governor of Texas, spent $11 million running for president in 1980 and earned only ONE convention delegate.)