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