Tillis trails Democratic challenger by 7 points in North Carolina poll

Tillis trails Democratic challenger by 7 points in North Carolina poll
© Greg Nash

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Trump rules out total rollback of Chinese tariffs MORE (R-N.C.) trails one of his Democratic challengers by 7 points in North Carolina’s 2020 Senate race, according to a new poll.

Tillis, one of the more endangered Senate Republicans running for reelection, trails state Sen. Erica Smith (D) 46 percent to 39 percent in an Emerson College poll released Tuesday, while 15 percent of voters are undecided.

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Democrats view North Carolina’s Senate seat as a potential pickup opportunity in 2020 as the party seeks to chip away at the GOP’s 53-47 majority in the upper chamber.

Beyond Smith, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller has also jumped into the Democratic primary to challenge Tillis. Support for Fuller was not polled in the Emerson College survey.

In a sign Republicans across the ticket may face trouble in the Tar Heel State, President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE also trails multiple Democratic challengers, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudget official says he didn't know why military aid was delayed: report Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide READ: Foreign service officer Jennifer Williams' closed-door testimony from the House impeachment inquiry MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSinger Neil Young says that America's presidents haven't done enough address climate change New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide MORE (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE in the poll.

Trump won North Carolina in 2016 by 3.6 points, and the state has trended Republican in past presidential cycles, but Democrats view the state as a top battleground for the Senate and White House next year.

Tillis, a former North Carolina state House Speaker, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 when he unseated Democrat Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganDemocrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems shift strategy on impeachment vote Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan dies at 66 MORE. Rumors have mounted of a possible primary challenge against the first-term Republican over criticisms he’s made about the Trump White House. Businessman Garland Tucker has already declared he will challenge Tillis for the GOP nomination.

Beyond North Carolina, Democrats are eyeing Republican-held Senate seats in Maine, Colorado, Iowa and Arizona.

The Emerson College poll surveyed 932 registered voters between May 31 and June 3 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.