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Thom Tillis attends a debate between the four top-polling Republican candidates in North Carolina for the U.S. Senate, at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina April 22, 2014. Picture taken April 22, 2014. To match USA-NORTHCAROLINA-SENATE REUTERS/Davis Turner &nbsp;(UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS HEADSHOT) - RTR3MNGY
Thom Tillis
Thom Tillis is what passes for an establishment-friendly, non-fringe Republican Senate candidate in North Carolina, and, as of Tuesday night, he is his party's nominee to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan. As speaker of the state House, Tillis has a record to run on ... but is it one he wants to run on?
Among the stances and accomplishments of which he’s most proud: Denying federally funded Medicaid to a half-million North Carolinians; helping pass a discriminatory constitutional amendment that was instantly on shaky legal ground; passing one of the most voter-unfriendly laws in the nation; and cutting taxes by more than $2 billion while giving teachers not a penny in raises.

His House passed a bill to let people carry guns in bars and another that put tough restrictions on legal abortions. He said at an Observer debate last month that climate change was not a fact, there should be no federal minimum wage and the Department of Education should be abolished.

He's also being evasive about the state minimum wage and, oh yeah, there's that whole "divide and conquer" thing, with Tillis explicitly looking to make some poor people look down on other poor people.

All that might be great for a candidate looking to avoid being outflanked on the right by even more extremist candidates, but now Tillis is in a general election where he'll need to appeal to voters other than the Republican base if he's going to win. So what's he going to do? Is his refusal to give a straight answer on whether the North Carolina minimum wage should be raised a sign that we can expect constant evasions from him going forward? Will he, as a Charlotte Observer editorial fears, simply scream "Kay Hagan! Obamacare!" over and over? Or will Tillis have the nerve to be honest about his far-right positions, backed as he will be by millions in outside spending?

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Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE and Daily Kos.

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