GOP Sen. Thom Tillis Gets Primary Challenger From The Right For Only Voting With Trump 95% Of Time

The Raleigh News & Observer reports:

Sen. Thom Tillis has drawn a Republican challenger in 2020. Garland Tucker III, the retired chairman and CEO of Triangle Capital Corporation and an author, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Committee to run in the Republican primary on Monday. Tucker wrote “Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Changed America — Jefferson to Reagan” and has served on the board of the John Locke Foundation and the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute.

Though he has voted reliably with President Donald Trump, 94.7 percent of the time, according to, Tillis has earned criticism from some conservatives for his position on immigration, protecting the special counsel and Trump’s national emergency declaration. Tillis wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post opposing Trump’s national emergency, but ultimately voted along with the president’s position — earning national attention for his change of heart.

North Carolina Politics reports:

The biggest issue Tucker will have to reckon with is his opposition to President Trump prior to the election, at least until it became clear that the only options were Trump and Clinton. He went as far as penning an op-ed in the News & Observer to make the argument for electing Trump because it meant not electing Clinton.

Tucker is independently wealthy, and has deep ties to North Carolina’s conservative intelligentsia. He’s deeply involved with the John Locke Foundation and the Civitas Institute, and has written for National Review, The Daily Caller and other publications.

Roll Call reports:

Tillis is making his first bid for re-election to the Senate. He endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president in February 2016. Tucker originally supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the primary. His final choice in the primary was Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He supported Trump in general. election.

Carter Wrenn, a longtime GOP operative in North Carolina who’s working for Tucker, explained on Monday that, like many North Carolina conservatives, Tucker hadn’t known Trump in 2016 and had been worried he wasn’t conservative enough. But, Wrenn said, Trump has proven to be conservative in office.

In reaction to today’s announcement, the Tillis camp has labeled Tucker as an “anti-Trump activist.” Yeah.