Monday, May 19, 2014

Should Thom Tillis resign?

Like many North Carolina editorial boards, the folks at the Raleigh News & Observer wrote last week about what they'd like to see from the General Assembly's "short session" that began Wednesday. Tucked near the bottom of the editorial was this:

Meanwhile, this session will have another money problem. Though Thom Tillis is running for the U.S. Senate and raising money from special interests, the House speaker is going to remain in charge. He’ll be gone a lot on the campaign trail, and he’ll be milking special interest groups that might have proposals before the General Assembly for contributions.
While raising funds for a federal campaign while serving in the legislature is legal, it is not appropriate. Tillis should have resigned the speaker’s post long ago.

Read more here:
Naturally, this caught the eye of Sen. Kay Hagan's campaign, which emailed media this morning a link to the N&O editorial, declaring "Second major NC paper asks Tillis to resign."

Who was the first? Well, that would be us. In an editorial last July, we noted that Thom Tillis was missing important legislative debate while traveling to raise money for his U.S. Senate campaign against Hagan. His absence was also troubling on another level, we wrote:

Besides missing important House business, Tillis’ moonlighting has the look of the pay-to-play politics that Republicans decried among Democrats for so long. A superPAC for Tillis raised $70,000 from George A. Sywassink, R. Doyle Parrish and W.G. Champion Mitchell, newly released records show. Tillis’ House named all three to the UNC Board of Governors recently, including Sywassink after declaring there had been a vote-tallying error the first time around.

State law bars legislators from raising money from lobbyists during the legislative session, but the ban doesn’t apply to federal candidates like Tillis. So he can attend a fundraiser hosted by Royce Everette, a major consumer finance lender, days after the legislature approved a bill raising interest rates and fees for Everette’s industry.

Read more here:

All of which led us to go one step further than the N&O, which suggested that he resign the House Speaker's post. Tillis, we said, "should give up his Speaker's gavel, resign from his House seat and give his full energy to his Senate bid, unencumbered by such distractions as running the state."

(We should note, as we did in that 2013 editorial, that Hagan raised money for her 2008 Senate campaign even as she co-chaired the state Senate Appropriations Committee.)

We don't expect Tillis to resign for the good of his constituents and the General Assembly. But should he do so for his campaign against Hagan? It's no secret that Tillis alienated the N.C. moderates he needs with the far right agenda he helped pushed as House Speaker, especially in the past two years. If Republicans in Raleigh have more of the same in mind for the short session, Tillis will have a harder time finding his way back to the center in his campaign.

To that end, however, Tillis might be better off holding on to the Speaker's gavel and maintaining some control over the legislative agenda. That way he can keep his fellow Republicans somewhat in check - and perhaps even play the moderate on an issue or two.

We'll have to wait to find out. Tillis isn't in Raleigh for at least some of the first day of the first full week of the session. According to the N&O, he's in Washington raising money at the offices of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.

Peter St. Onge 


bozz man said...

Well, maybe, maybe not, although Hilliary did resign after she left four people to die in Benghazi.

WashuOtaku said...

Politicians do this all the time and its smart. What do people always say when looking for a new job: "You gotta have a job to look for a job." The politicians that resign and focus all their energy into a campaign don't typically succeed, just ask Bob Dole.

Bozz man, seriously? Could you kindly bash Hilliary when the O-pinion does commentary on her. I dislike it when someone comment on something else because of political dogma, regardless if it relates or not.

Wiley Coyote said...

Biden ran for Senate as he was running with Obama and Lieberman ran for Senate as he was running with Al Gore.

Must be a real slow new day at the Observer.

Jason said...

Going to have to go back and check to see if the Observer asked for John Edwards to resign or for Obama to resign since they did nothing but campaign for higher office while constantly being absent and missing votes.

Yep, that's what I thought. Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...


The article reads that you "noted" Hagan raised funds while holding a state Senate seat but "suggest" Tillis "resign". Can you clarify if you also suggested Hagan resign her state seat because the wording certainly is different.

Cornelia said...

Let's not forget that Anthony Foxx was NEVER engaged in Charlotte business once the site of the DNC was announced. He was running for EVERYTHING that could benefit the sly one. But, had time for NITHING that would benefit the taxpayers of Charlotte.

TheTigersense said...

Geez, this paper is becoming such a left wing hack. It is such a joke how the Observer has gone from being a left leaning paper to a MSNBC clone.

The editorials here have zero credibility to anybody from the center to right.

Larry said...

observer, have you not seen that your one sided stories on Bill James have not worked, so why would think your one sided stories on Thom would work?


Just seems like a huge conflict of interest to me and should be illegal regardless of political party.But then they are the ones who make the laws to benefit themselves not necessarily doing what is right. I find it disgusting that money comes first to them when they want to get elected but not when people need medicaid, raises for teachers, food stamps, etc. Oh sure they need the money and the heck with the rest of us.

Garth Vader said...


Should Roy Cooper resign?