Boy, this establishment crowd is starting to make us look quite prescient.
Speaker senator (spenator?) Thom Tillis has hired consultant Paul Shumaker to run his campaign for the 2014 GOP nomination for US senator. Shumaker is the top strategist for US Senator Richard Burr — having run his two successful election campaigns.
Tillis is a big fish in Charlotte and Raleigh. But in DC, he’s a small fry. When the stories — and video — started popping up about Tillis trolling for campaign dollars in DC, we began detecting Shumaker and Burr’s fingerprints on the whole affair. (A number of our Inside The Beltway loyal readers began confirming our suspicions for us.)
Now comes word that our state’s senior senator is stepping out in front for the “gentleman from Cornelius”:
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) will headline a fundraiser to boost North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis’s (R) 2014 Senate bid, according to an invitation obtained by The Hill.
Burr will join Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) for the Sept. 24 fundraiser in Washington, D.C., a sign establishment Republicans are rallying around Tillis even as others get into the primary against him.Burr’s support is especially important; along with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R), he’s the state’s highest-profile Republican.
A source close to Burr, however, says the fundraiser is “not an official endorsement” of Tillis.
“He’ll help any North Carolina Republican who wants to come to D.C. to raise money,” the source says.
Tillis is considered the GOP front-runner to face Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), a top GOP target. But he faces an expanding field of opponents, which could force him to run to the right and spend resources he’d prefer to save for the general election.
Tea Party candidate Greg Brannon (R) has been in the race for months, and Baptist minister Mark Harris (R) told supporters last week that he’ll run. North Carolina state Senate President Phil Berger (R) has also kept his name in the mix.
According to a Public Policy Polling survey last week, 43 percent of Republicans are unsure whom to support in the GOP primary. Berger had 13 percent support, while Tillis had 12 percent.
But the support from Burr and other high-profile Republicans gives Tillis a major fundraising boost that could help him avoid a tough primary in the swing state.
According to PPP, Hagan leads Tillis by 15 percentage points — 51 percent to 36 percent — in a hypothetical general election match-up.
Donations are set at $1,000 per political action committee and $500 per person to attend the Tillis fundraiser.
Just think. All of you folks in the Charlotte area COULD afford a ticket to attend this thing — if you weren’t having to save all of your nickels and dimes in preparation for Speaker Thom’s toll roads.