Cleveland — While Gov. Pat McCrory is skipping the Republican National Convention and has been less than effusive in his support of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis said Wednesday that they will gladly campaign with Trump this fall.
"North Carolina needs to send a message that we don't want someone like Hillary Clinton in the White House," Tillis told North Carolina's convention delegation.
Tillis, who was a pledged delegate to Marco Rubio at the convention, has jumped on the Trump bandwagon. Because Tillis was elected to a six-year term in 2014, he doesn't have to run on the same ballot as Trump, but he said he doesn't believe the brash billionaire's controversial persona will hurt down-ballot Republican candidates.
"We know how many states are going to go, but I think there are seven or eight that he can tip the scales in most of them," Tillis said.
Fifth District Congresswoman Virginia Foxx said she believes Trump reflects a conservative electorate.
"I think he's going to be a big help for North Carolina, and I actually think he's going to do well all across the country," said Foxx, who initially backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for president.
"I think this is going to be an election that's a choice between the status quo and change, and what I see in America is an outpouring of support for change," said Burr, who, like Foxx, will be on the ballot with Trump in November.
Burr also confirmed for the delegates what he's said in interviews for a few months: He has no plans to run for a fourth term in 2022.
"I am convinced that this is the most important election in my lifetime, and I will tell you that it is the last election where I will ever run for office," he said.
Later, the 60-year-old senator said he wants to shift to the private sector after more than two decades on Capitol Hill, while opening the door to a new generation of public servants.
"It’s really an easy decision. When I look six years out at this point, I’ll be at an age which really sends me back into the private sector, which has always been a goal of mine," he said. "It also recognizes that the next generation has a lot to contribute, and I need to get out of the way and let them do that."
Burr said he can't wait for the day he can refer to Tillis as North Carolina's senior senator, adding that Tillis already "looks older" than him.