#NCSEN: The fat man is singing! (Richard Morgan thells on Thom.)

morganfatMoore County’s Richard Morgan has evolved into one of the most polarizing figures ever in North Carolina politics.  Amazingly, during his time in the NC General Assembly, he was able to earn an equal amount of emnity from conservatives AND liberals. Morgan’s last few terms in office were marked by infighting with — and backstabbing of — fellow Republicans, collaboration with Jim Black and the Democrats, and an official rebuke from the NCGOP hierarchy. Morgan was knocked out of power in the 2006 GOP primary — thanks to the people of Moore County coming to their senses, and some help from GOP leaders across the state.  (Click here to read a pretty good archive of Richard Morgan’s political antics, courtesy of Thom Tillis supporter Dave Burton.)

One of Morgan’s trademarks while in office was his vindictiveness.  If you crossed him, he was going to make you pay. One of the top targets of Morgan’s wrath was Mecklenburg County legislator John Rhodes (R) – a solid conservative praised by groups like AFP.  Rhodes was a vocal critic of the collaboration between Morgan and Black.  The Mecklenburg Republican’s efforts focused enough attention on Black that it brought scrutiny from law enforcement to the Democrat speaker.

In the run-up to the 2004 elections, Morgan and his political strategist Paul Shumaker went public with their efforts to recruit a primary challenger to Rhodes.  An opponent was publicly named, but — for some reason — he never filed and Rhodes got a free pass for the 2004 election cycle.

ttshrug Things would be different in 2006. That year, former Cornelius town commissioner Thom Tillis surfaced as a challenger to Rhodes.  Candidate Tillis used a well-stocked campaign treasury to bludgeon Rhodes with accusations of ineffectiveness.  An unusual charge — given the fact that Rhodes had been completely unopposed in 2004. 

The Timeline.  Tillis has vehemently denied a relationship with Morgan.  In fact, he took to Facebook to claim that he did not meet Morgan until 2009.   Tillis’ Senate campaign spokesman told The N&O’s John Frank that Tillis did not meet Morgan until 2010. Morgan, when interviewed by Frank, remembered things very differently:

[…] In a recent interview, Morgan recalled his desire to see Rhodes defeated. “I talked to Thom in the early days,” Morgan said, “and offered my encouragement.”

Tillis won 1,805 votes to Rhodes’ 1,061 in a race in which Tillis painted Rhodes as an ineffectual ideologue.

“From that point on I thanked him profusely for getting rid of John Rhodes in the General Assembly, who was just a pain in the butt,” Morgan said. […] 

Hmmm.  The “early days.”  THAT would mean, at most, 2006.  According to my calendar, 2006 is earlier than 2009 and 2010.   

Recognizing the inconsistency, Theam Tillis attempted some spin / damage control:

Morgan “did not recruit Thom, he was not an ally and he was not involved at any level,” Tillis campaign manager Jordan Shaw said of the 2006 race.

Told of Morgan’s comments, Shaw later added: “Any encouragement that was given was not a factor in the speaker’s mind and certainly doesn’t constitute recruitment.”

Hmmm.  “Encouragement” vs. “Recruitment.”  That sounds a lot like Bill Clinton trying to debate the definition of “is.”  You “recruit” a young ball player to attend UNC.  You can also “encourage” a young ball player to attend UNC.

“Encouragement” from the then-speaker pro tem of the NC House had NO effect on Tillis’ decision to run?  I’m also *sure* that Tillis using the same political strategist as Morgan — Paul Shumaker — and allying himself closely with all of Morgan’s friends in the House — Brubaker, McComas, LaRoque, et. al. —  was also pure coincidence, as well.

So, we’ve got a connection with a foe of conservatives going back to 2006.  This year, the Tillis campaign is embracing Karl Rovewho has made no secret of his desire to finish off the Tea Party.  


12 thoughts on “#NCSEN: The fat man is singing! (Richard Morgan thells on Thom.)

  1. Tilli$ has also embraced Morgan’s vindictiveness against conservative legislators who would not be his sock puppets. Like Morgan, Tilli$ used redistricting to eliminate conservative legislators. Ask Glen Bradley and Bill Cook. Like Morgan, he went out to recruit primary opponents against conservatives he did not get with redistricting. Ask Larry Pittman and Robert Brawley. There were others like Mike Speciale that calls were being made to try to drum up opponents against where the Tilli$ mafia did not get any takers.

    Claudia Rodgers were very involved in the Rhodes vs. Tilli$ race, and she said clearly that Morgan was heavily involved with Tilli$ including recruiting him to run against Rhodes. She had lots of details to support that contention. Tilli$ is telling an Obama (a lie) when he denies it.

    Tilli$’ line should be ”if you like your conservative legislator, you can keep your conservative legislator”.

    This year we need to do to Tilli$ what he did to Rhodes. End his political career.

  2. I believe the fatman got a case of worms and is now the skinny man.He will try and run for something one of these days.Maybe soil and water, but he lives to get in a post to make others lives miserable.If not mistaken I believe the NC weasel Shumaker is working for Tillis.The last 2 weeks of the primary will see the nastiest attacks against Brannon since the days of Sen Helms races.Rove will concentrate his attacks on Brannon with salvo after salvo.I don’t think Brannon has the campaign team to understand nor combat.It will take a ground game second to none and that is very tough for newbies.

    1. Shumaker is very overrated as to competence and ability. A good example is the last time the 5th district opened up. Shumaker was the consultant for Eddie Broyhill, who had by far the best name recognition, substantially more money than the rest of the field, and started out way ahead in the polls. By primary day, Virginia Foxx, using Jack Hawke as a consultant caught Broyhill and beat him. When Shumaker took on that race, his candidate was way ahead, but Shumaker guided him to defeat. I suspect he may do the same for Tilli$, although Tilli$ started out only marginally ahead.

      I suspect we will see some outside conservative groups help eviscerate Tilli$ on his awful record on the issues, something that will get more traction with primary voters than the personal issues that a sewer rat like Shumaker is likely to use.

      1. Actually Vernon Robinson won the primary and was later defeated in a run off by Virginia Foxx.

      2. Shumaker will not be calling any shots.Rove will be directing the media firestorm and you can expect it to be vicious.The key for Brannon is the ground game.In a primary the key is organization and get the voters to the polls.Calling and ringing doorbells and drivers.ID’ing absentee voters and getting their votes for your man is essential.Sounds easy but is tough and the last election by Obama was the best I have ever seen and before that in the western part of NC the Faircloth primary campaign against Sue Myrick was the best organized ground game and beat her handily when she outspent him and had the established republican party against him in force.

        1. Conservatives are not afraid of that puffed up toad Rove. So far, Rove has lost 10 or the 12 Senate races he has gotten involved in. Tilli$ will make number 11 for that loser.

  3. Shumaker’s track record is terrible. He loses a lot. But now the gopher been exposed on a national level. The first question that should be asked of a candidate before any other: Who is your campaign consultant? Shumaker, the new litmus test for any candidates across the country. The whole Tillis/Shumaker episode, a very teachable moment. Video of Tillis’s response when he learned his BFF was singing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK9odsWwfIo

  4. The effectiveness ranking that you see referenced about John Rhodes is put out by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research — a left leaning pro Democrat organization flying under the auspices of being non-partisian.They are not. The ranking of lawmakers are set by the lobbyists, for the most part, with special interest before the legislature and they choose who they would like to be shown as being “effective” in return for the lawmaker’s willingness to manipulate the legislative process to the lobbyists and special interests benefit. The biggest offenders are given effective ratings, and the lawmakers who are trying to reform the legislative process in defense of the public are given a low or ineffective ranking. Put another way, the most effective legislators are the most likely to participate in unethical, illegal, and corrupt activity, the least effective are the reformers fighting against the tide of corruption and pay to play politics in state government. The legislative rankings system is used to eliminate honest lawmakers at election time, it is what Thom Tillis used to oust a sitting conservative Republican lawmaker. Jim Black who went to prison for corruption was consistently ranked the most effective or put another way, the most likely to participate in illegal activity in the legislature. It is a way to protect the players in the good old boys network in the legistlature and eliminate those who are not willing to compromise their oath of office at election time.That’s what the reference to the effectiveness ranking is about.

    1. That is 100% true. In 2011 this group comprised of 475 … lobbyists … ranked me last on this survey. Frankly I was proud of that. Lobbyists had no use for me whatever. 😀

  5. So Mr. Truth Matters.. let’s take a look at the effectiveness of our career politician Mr. Tillis and see how a CONSERVATIVE group graded him.



    He can clearly promise the moon to his rich crony capitalist pals and get them to donate millions for running slick campaign ads where he calls himself a Conservative, but when he was voting he was anything but a conservative.

    1. Ouch is right! It was a good golf score though (50 = F) which may buy him some points out at the country club as he tees up with Biff and Buffy but the F that the conservative organization gave him will surely not be very compelling to get Republican primary voters to get on board with “Slick Tilly”.

  6. I looked at the report at Civitas that ranks legislators credibility in as much as they will vote conservatively and Tillis has gotten progressively worse.


    Thom Tillis’ grades
    2008 C+
    2009 D
    2010 F
    2011 Did not vote on enough bills to rank. That’s when he started taking days off to go vacuum up campaign cash and not show up for work one supposes.

    You’re right! Arkansas had “Slick Willie” Bill Clinton
    North Carolina has “Slick Tilly” Thom Tillis.

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