Tillis challenges eventual Democratic rival to five debates

Tillis challenges eventual Democratic rival to five debates

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Campaign Report: What to watch for in Nevada Top GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate MORE (R-N.C.) issued a challenge to his eventual Democratic challenger to face him in five general election debates as he runs for reelection in one of the Senate’s biggest battleground states.

“Given the importance of this race when it comes to the future of our state and nation, it is critical that North Carolinians have numerous opportunities to hear directly from the candidates about where they stand on the issues that matter to them,” said Tillis.

“I’m proud of my record in the Senate of fighting to create jobs, combat sanctuary cities, confirm conservative judges, and support military families. I look forward to discussing these accomplishments early and often during the general election, and I hope whoever my Democratic opponent is will join me in participating in this robust debate schedule.”

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Tillis said Spectrum News has already agreed to host three out of the five debates in April, May and June and warned that he would not entertain additional debate requests until he receives responses from every Democratic candidate on his challenge.

Several Democrats are running for the chance to face off against Tillis, including state Sens. Cal Cunningham and Erica Smith, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller and Dr. Atul Goel. Cunningham is considered the front-runner of the pack, raking in millions of dollars in 2019 and earning the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Bring it on, Thom,” Cunningham responded.

Tillis is seen as one of the more vulnerable Senate Republicans. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the general election as “lean Republican."

President Obama won North Carolina in 2008, but the state went to Republicans in the presidential race in 2012 and 2016.