Tillis places big ad buy as he faces wealthy GOP challenger

Greg Nash
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) will spend $2.2 million on television and radio advertisements before his state’s March 3 primary, an early hint that his campaign may be worried about his standing among Republican voters.
Tillis faces a challenge from Garland Tucker, a retired venture capitalist who has put at least $700,000 of his own money into his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission filings made in July. That amount has likely grown since the last reporting deadline.
{mosads}The Tillis campaign said Thursday it would begin running radio and cable television advertisements next week. A Tillis adviser said the campaign had made initial purchases of statewide broadcast airtime beginning in January.
“It was always our plan to begin the 2020 campaign in earnest after the special election concluded and freed up the airwaves. Starting our campaign now will give us an opportunity to draw an even sharper contrast between the radical, pro-impeachment challengers we could face in the general election, and Sen. Tillis’s ability to work with the President for the good of all North Carolinians,” said Andrew Romeo, Tillis’s campaign spokesman.
The advertisements, beginning more than a year before November’s election, are another sign that Tillis is among the most vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2020. 
The ad buy represents a substantial chunk of Tillis’s available cash — his campaign reported $4.3 million in the bank as of the end of June, the last time candidates were required to disclose their fundraising to the Federal Election Commission.
“With our special election behind us, it is now time to share with North Carolina voters Sen. Tillis’s record of working with President Trump to move the state forward,” Tillis adviser Paul Shumaker said in a statement. “Sen. Tillis’s election in 2014 was the most expensive Senate race in [the] history of the country at that point in time, and we expect 2020 to shatter all spending records for North Carolina, if not the nation.”
Tillis has tied himself closely to President Trump in recent months as he works to win over conservative primary voters.
“Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina has really stepped up to the plate. Thom is tough on Crime, Strong on the Border and fights hard against Illegal Immigration. He loves our Military, our Vets and our great Second Amendment. I give Thom my Full and Total Endorsement!” Trump tweeted in June. 
Tillis appeared at a rally with Trump this week in Fayetteville, N.C., the day before a special election that sent Rep.-elect Dan Bishop (R) to Washington. But, in a potential sign of his troubles ahead, some Republicans at the Trump rally booed when Tillis took the stage.
Updated at noon.
Tags Donald Trump Thom Tillis

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