North Carolina Senate GOP nominee Thom Tillis opned Monday’s show and he reacted to the report that only this weekend the North Carolina Department of Energy and Natural Resources opened an investigation into Senator Kay Hagan’s family business receiving stimulus funds:
HH: We begin with the next senator from the state of North Carolina, Thom Tillis. Mr. Tillis, welcome back, Mr. Speaker, it’s great to have you. In studio with me today is Guy P. Benson, who is of course a Fox News contributor and editor of Townhall.com’s political coverage, so welcome, Mr. Speaker, good to have you.
TT: Thank you, Hugh. You opened up with that Game of Thrones theme, and it feels like we’ve been on an epic adventure for the last 18 months. We’re glad to see it come to a close tomorrow night.
HH: Well, it feels to me like you’re up against the Lanisters, because the Hagans are getting all the money from the bank of whatever they call that, Bankers Across The Sea. I have got to ask you, we’re going to follow up a story today that is breaking in the North Carolina news that the Department of Natural Resources investigating the Hagan family business for receiving stimulus funds. This is all over the place, but what is it doing breaking the day before an election?
TT: I’m not really sure, actually. I think that the media didn’t respond earlier. The first reports that I saw of this was probably back in the August and September time frame. And you know, it does raise serious questions about whether or not…there were two pieces. There was stimulus money that came directly from the stimulus program, and then if I understand it, a grant that came from our Department of Environment and Natural Resources that had restrictions on whether or not family members can receive it. But you know, honestly, it’s just, to me, it’s a distraction. What this race is about is Senator Hagan’s failed policies, voting with the President 96% of the time over her tenure, and 99% of the time over the last year after North Carolinians rejected the President’s policies in 2012 and voted for Mitt Romney.
HH: Now Thom Tillis, we’re on in Winston and Salem, and we’re on throughout Charlotte and all the southern tier because of our 94.5 blowtorch out of Columbia, South Carolina, 100,000 watts. So I have to stay on the Department of Natural Resources story at least one more, and I know Guy’s got a question as well, simply because people have been calling me all day about this, and they wonder, the Charlotte Observer put up a story, they took down a story. It just doesn’t seem right that voters aren’t getting a full look at this when yes, her voting with the President is a huge issue. But have the MSM in North Carolina been working hand in glove with Kay Hagan?
TT: Well, I’ll tell you, I think that the liberal media in Charlotte and in Raleigh have definitely handled her with care. You should have seen, I don’t know if you saw the endorsement that came from the Charlotte Observer, but they said we agree she hasn’t done anything for years, she hasn’t distinguished herself, and she really doesn’t deserve another chance, but we’re going to endorse her anyway. I mean, this story, it was up for a while, it was taken down, I don’t know why it was taken down. But I do believe after the election that there is some questions that have to be answered there. But you know, for us, we’re just thinking about the polls closing in about 25 hours, a little over 25 hours from now, and doing everything that we can to make sure that the people of North Carolina get out to vote. I’m very happy with how the early voting went. I’m optimistic that we’re going to win tomorrow, and I’m very, very optimistic that we’re going to have a majority in the U.S. Senate. Then we’ve got to get to governing.
GB: So let’s talk about that path to victory. You say you’re confident. Many candidates say they’re confident in the last day of an election. Most of the polling, almost every poll, Speaker Tillis, has had you trailing Senator Hagan by let’s say a point, two points, sometimes three points, very close, but that consistent, stubborn lead for your opponent, what are you seeing on the ground? What are you seeing in your internals? What are you understanding in terms of the data that makes you feel like here in the 4th quarter, I saw you quoted earlier today, you feel like this thing is coming down for a victory for your team?
TT: Well, I think first, you see a real deficit that existed back in August that was legitimately five points, I think, based on our internal polls. We started spending money. We started campaigning and countering the $63 million that had been spent against us. And we have each and every week, we’ve seen movement. What hasn’t moved, however, is Senator Hagan’s ceiling. I believe that she has a ceiling that she’s not, she’s not been able to demonstrate any ability to get past consistently in polls, in spite of the fact that they’ve spent $63 million dollars. And so now we are at a statistical dead heat. It really comes down to the ground game tomorrow. The early voting results resemble more or less what happened in 2012 when Governor Romney beat President Obama after President Obama won in 2008, by a slim margin. You know, in North Carolina, we have three million Democrats, two million Republicans, 1.8 million unaffiliated. So those statewide races are always close. But if you take a look at what I think is a threshold that Senator Hagan just cannot surpass. As a sitting U.S. Senator, she cannot consistently get over about 45%. And I think that that’s where she’s likely going to end up. We have the third party candidate. We’re not quite sure what he will take over tomorrow. We think it’s probably going to be less than 4%. And that’s how we actually stack the numbers up and get to a majority. It’ll be a thin majority, but I’m confident we’ll win it.
GB: And Speaker Tillis, you mentioned the third party candidate. He’s a libertarian. It’s sort of the X factor in the race, part of the reason, perhaps, that Kay Hagan’s ceiling is in the mid-40s. If you have people who are considering voting for Sean Haugh right now in the North Carolina electorate listening to this program right now, libertarians claims to support, you know, smaller government. That’s their raison d’etre. What’s your pitch to those votes saying you know what, it really needs to be a vote for Thom Tillis tomorrow?
TT: Well, I mean, if people believe in smaller government, they should look at the fact that each of the last four years I’ve presided over the House, and we have only implemented budgets and spending that’s below Tabor limits for government spending, in pace with inflation and population growth. If they’re 2nd Amendment advocates, they should look at what the NRA considers to be one of the most successful legislative sessions over the last four years. I’ve got an A-Plus rating with the NRA. If they’re spending hawks, then they should look at the billion dollars in real spending that we cut. They should look at us being the only state that has gotten government out of unemployment. We’ve done unemployment reform, the only state in the nation that didn’t extend long term unemployment benefits, took our unemployment rate from 10.4 to 6.4 in five quarters, from one of the fourth highest down to approaching the national average. Our tax rate’s gone from 44th to 16th. So I mean, if libertarians who are really about protecting 2nd Amendment rights, about smaller government, about spending restraint, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything over the last four years that’s not consistent with that limited government federalist agenda, which is something I whole-heartedly support. And I think that most libertarians are beginning to see that.
HH: This is Hugh again. Let me play for you, because you’re in a military state and I want to make sure I play this. This is Vice President Joe Biden just an hour ago on The Lead with Jake Tapper talking to Gloria Borger about ISIS and Ebola. Here’s what the Vice President said, cut number 9:
JB: Fewer than five cases of Ebola in the entire United States of America. The American public’s gaining confidence in the fact in the way this is being handled, that science does matter. You look at what’s happening with ISIS. ISIS is not an existential threat to something happening to someone in the United States of America. It’s a serious problem overseas, but it’s confusing and frightening, and it’s totally understandable. We’ve got to figure out, we, the President and I, have to figure out how to better communicate exactly what’s being done. That’s part of the problem. That’s part of the dilemma.
HH: So Thom Tillis, there’s only five cases of Ebola, ISIS isn’t an existential threat. What are your guys at Fort Bragg thinking about that?
TT: I think well, we’re going to see the men and women in uniform, whether they’re the brass or the rank and file send a very clear message to this president, and what I consider to be an incompetent vice president, that their policies are failing. Look, the black flag of ISIS is flying over territory in Iraq that American men and women fought and died for. And if the Vice President and the President think that a strategy is bombing installations for ISIS and not coming up with a comprehensive strategy just really demonstrates how inept that they are. And then you move over to Ebola. Look, I don’t necessarily think that there will be a mass outbreak of Ebola in the United States, but there is a mass outbreak of incompetence in this administration. They can’t do something as basic as have the CDC know that when a nurse calls you up and she says I have traveled out of state, I have a fever, I treated Mr. Duncan who passed away from Ebola, I was in that medical facility where another nurse is actually being treated for Ebola, a competent administration would have had people on the line telling that nurse not to get back on a plane that ended up flying five more segments. It’s just that time and time again, this administration, this vice president, this president, Harry Reid and Senator Hagan have not demonstrated that they can secure our safety, they can’t secure our border, they’re not, they’re losing ground in ISIS. Senator McCain thinks it’s one of the most incompetent foreign policy strategies he’s ever seen. He was in the state just last week. I don’t know when this ends. And I think the American people are finally saying look, our safety and security is at risk and we’ve got to do things differently.
HH: Good luck, Thom Tillis. Follow Speaker Tillis and soon-to-be Senator Tillis @ThomTillis.
End of interview.