Burr to headline fundraiser for Tillis

Posted September 16, 2013
Updated September 17, 2013

House Speaker Thom Tillis gaveled the 2013 legislative session to a close just before noon on Friday.

— U.S. Sen. Richard Burr will appear at a fundraiser for state House Speaker Thom Tillis' U.S. Senate campaign later this month. 

A source close to Burr confirmed he would headline the event on Sept. 24, which will also feature Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Barrasso of Wyoming. The appearance, which was first reported by The Hill newspaper, the source said, does not constitute an endorsement.

However, it will almost certainly be read as good news by backers of the Mecklenburg Republican. The speaker is the best known, but not the only member, of the Republican field lining up to challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. Already, the Rev. Mark Harris, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Charlotte, has declared he will run with the support of former North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes. In addition, Cary obstetrician Dr. Greg Brannon has announced a bid and has won support from a national tea party group. 

As well, state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger is weighing a bid and has said he'd likely make an announcement this month. If he does get into the race, the state's top legislative leaders and two of North Carolina's most powerful Republicans would face off against one another in what almost certainly would be a high-dollar and hard-fought primary. 

Burr's participation in a fundraiser could be read as a tentative step toward Tillis becoming the consensus GOP establishment candidate. 

"It's nice to be able to have some sort of recognition that Sen. Burr is at least interested in having Thom Tillis as his colleague in the U.S. Senate," said Andrew Taylor, a professor of political science at North Carolina State University. Burr, Taylor said, is unlikely to hold a fundraiser for someone who would reflect poorly on the GOP. 

That said, Taylor cautioned not to read too much into the appearance. Appearing at a fundraiser for a fellow politician of the same political party is standard operating procedure in Washington, D.C., and while the $500-per-individual requested donation is a lot of money for everyday people, it's not a large dollar donation in a world when donors can give $2,600 per candidate toward the primary election alone. 

Paul Shumaker, a consultant for the Tillis campaign, also confirmed the fundraiser.

"The Speaker has been to Washington and has had a series of meetings with a lot of senators," Shumaker said. "We appreciate they're willing to put their names on an invitation," he said, adding that those types of fundraisers were a necessary part of any U.S. Senate campaign.


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  • mrday69 Sep 23, 2013

    NC needs Brannon over Hagan...that would be a great way to shake up the Senate. Then we can turn our attention to the Establishment GOP Burr...you're next buddy.

  • nailman5204 Sep 18, 2013

    Tillis may be okay, but it's time for Burr to go. I don't trust him any longer, he seems to be leaning a lot to the Left lately. I have voted for him 2 times, but never again.

  • Wlfpacker Sep 18, 2013

    I love the comments from the tea party about the Republican party. Why don't those crazies get their own party and leave the GOP for those that care about this country.

    Just what is it about the TEA party that you have a problem with, assuming you are a registered republican (as am I)?

  • 12345_here Sep 18, 2013

    I love the comments from the tea party about the Republican party. Why don't those crazies get their own party and leave the GOP for those that care about this country.

  • Wlfpacker Sep 18, 2013

    Thom Tillis is NOT considered a TEA party candidate. He is as establishment as they come. And as for Burr "staining" his reputation with Tillis, he has already done a pretty good job of that on his own when he declared that not funding obamacare is "stupid." He lost a lot of TEA party people with that statement. He has voted for NDAA (indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at the discretion of the President") as well.

  • tracmister Sep 17, 2013

    Really! Burr doesn't need to stain his reputation with the likes of Tillis.

  • 12345_here Sep 17, 2013

    Don't know why Burr is wasting his time.
    Tillis wasn't even competent enough to stay in town and help stop the bad laws or write a better op-ed than Berger after the whole fiasco of bad bills.

    Tillis is not capable of getting a senate job.

  • jackjones2nc Sep 17, 2013

    Thom "ALEC" Tillis will stain Sen Burr. None of his questionable legislation passed the "smell test" with citizens. This association and endorsement could be a bad idea.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Sep 17, 2013

    If Burr wants to associate his own good name with a Tea Party character like Tillis, that's his privilege.

    But I would hope that all thinking independent voters will consider exactly what that says about Burr, and keep it in mind when they enter the voting booth again.

    Tillis shepherded a lot of very destructive legislation through the General Assembly this year. Think about some of the bills they passed. Why would you want to associate yourself with that?

  • dwntwnboy2 Sep 17, 2013

    " The appearance.... does not constitute an endorsement"- suuure it doesn't. LOL I got a lovely bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya as well.