Thom Tillis reaches back to his paper boy roots

Posted March 6, 2014

House Speaker Thom Tillis

— Thom Tillis will begin running the second television advertisement of his U.S. Senate campaign next week, once again highlighting his business background.

Unlike his first ad, Tillis does not name Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in the spot. Rather, he references the "train wreck in Washington."

The 30-second spot is mainly biographical and does not reference the fact that Tillis is one of eight Republicans – or what party he belongs to – running for the chance to challenge Hagan. Tillis has been the GOP front-runner in early polling and fundraising but has not pulled far enough away from the field to make him a prohibitive favorite come May 6.

The most likely candidates to catch Tillis, or at least force a runoff, are Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary and Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte. 

Tillis will spend just over $1 million to put the ad on cable and on broadcast television in certain markets. 

Although this is in some respects a limited ad buy, none of the other Republican candidates have begun airing their own ads yet. However, on the same day Tillis announced his ad, Brannon did land an endorsement from Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Lee, like Brannon, is a favorite of the tea party wing of the Republican Party. 

As for Tillis, it's also worth noting that his commercial doesn't mention that he is in his second term as state House speaker, one of the two most influential legislative positions in the state. Rather, he mentions working as a short-order cook at 15 and the fact he put off college until later in life, eventually rising to become a partner at IBM.

Democrats pounced on the omission of his legislative service in their response to the ad Thursday.

"Tillis talks about opportunity, but his record in the General Assembly, on which he has promised he will run, and his policy positions tell a much different story," said Sadie Weiner, a spokeswoman for Hagan. 


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  • uBnice Mar 10, 2014

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    Thom Tillis graduated from the University of Maryland, a public university. Unless he came from a wealthy background (and he did not) then he took out government loans to attend school or he went on government-sponsored "scholarships". Do you think maybe his parents received Medicaid and Social Security?

    Most Republican stories of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps always leave out the part of all the government assistance they received along the way. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is also a perfect example.

  • Charlie Watkins Mar 10, 2014
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    Tillis would make a fine US Senator from North Carolina and would compliment our already outstanding Senator Richard Burr. With Tillis and Burr representing North Carolina we would be the envy of the entire United States. No one could match these two fine statesmen.

  • glarg Mar 8, 2014

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    He probably knows with his bootstrap background that a hard worker and a hustler isnt going to be at minimum wage very long.

    Of course Obama's solution is to wait for the government to give you a raise sense he sees everyone as supplicants of the government. The more practical way would be to get your hustle on and take extra duties. You'll get there much faster.

  • barryac Mar 7, 2014

    I would like to see an in depth ,investigative story on T. Tillis's membership in the ALEC group. The group who wrote all of the anti-education,anti-teacher,anti-people and on and on laws passed in N.C. by our caring Republican administrators.All of the ALEC members in N.C. are republican but one.

  • Alan Baker Mar 7, 2014
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    As I said to your previous comment, "Other people did it!" is not an adult defense for bad behavior, particularly when based on ignorance of what other people have and haven't done. If you can't address Tillis's strengths and weaknesses without building straw men out of the opposite side, you're adding nothing to the conversation. I don't expect anything different in your response but feel free to surprise me.

  • 12345_here Mar 7, 2014

    Tillis is everything that is wrong with America today. A backhanded political maven with a penchant for cronyism and bad legislation.

  • recontwice Mar 7, 2014

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    Funny that you would bring Obama into this when the republican mindset is that all the countrys problems started under Clinton who passed them to Obama and the 8 yrs in between never happened!Rare is the republican who admit how much of a setback bush was for the country!

  • uBnice Mar 7, 2014

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    NC voted out the Democrats for their bad behavior. Republicans whined loudly the entire time the Democrats were in office. So they whined for over 100 years. And they are still whining about the Democrats and the Democrats do no control the NC GA.

    Republicans really should stop whining so much.

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Mar 7, 2014

    You'd think someone with a bootstrap background would be for raising the minimum wage. What about it Tillis? Are you going to raise it to 10.10 / hr?

    Or are you one of those GOP who think there should be NO minimum wage.

  • caronia49 Mar 7, 2014

    Compared to Kay Hagan, Tillis is a Saint....