Tillis, the president pro tempore of the North Carolina state House, presided over a legislative session that pushed through some controversial laws on taxes and abortion that triggered vocal protests and drew national media attention.
He has been in a tough spot as a candidate: Tillis spent the first month on the trail trying to balance a busy legislative session with his campaign's rollout. He was criticized by some in the local media for skipping out on a busy day in the legislature to attend some fundraisers in Washington, D.C. The laws have drawn plenty of attention locally, as well.
Blaming the media is a time-honored tradition for candidates coming off a rocky start — especially for Republicans who view the press as inherently biased against them.
Hagan is viewed as one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection, and Tillis is, at this point, the front-runner to face her next fall.