Thom Tillis

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Thom Tillis
98 ThomTillis.jpg
U.S. Senate, North Carolina
Incumbent
In office
January 3, 2015 - Present
Term ends
January 3, 2021
Years in position 0
PartyRepublican
PredecessorKay Hagan (D)
Compensation
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Next generalNovember 3, 2020
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
North Carolina House of Representatives District 98
2007 - January 1, 2015
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Maryland
Personal
ProfessionManagement Consultant
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
Thom Tillis is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate, representing North Carolina. He was first elected to the Senate in 2014 and is currently serving his first term.

Tillis was previously the Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 98 from 2006 to January 1, 2015.

In 2014, Tillis chose to run for election to the U.S. Senate rather than seeking re-election to the North Carolina House of Representatives. Tillis defeated incumbent Kay Hagan (D) in the general election on November 4, 20114.[1][2]

Biography

Tillis went to high school in Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated at the age of 17. He did not immediately go to college, but instead got a job working for Provident Insurance, which partnered with Wang Laboratories to help transfer records to computers. He later managed a research and development team for Wang Laboratories. Tillis then went to work for Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and became a partner in six years. Shortly after, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland.[3]

After transferring to Cornelius, North Carolina, in 1998, Tillis fought for a local bike trail and ended up serving on the park board. In 2003, Tillis entered his first elected position, a two-year term as commissioner.[3]

Career

Below is an abbreviated outline of Tillis' academic, professional and political career:[4]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate

2015-2016

Tillis serves on the following committees:[5]

North Carolina House

2013-2014

At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Tillis was not appointed to a standing committee.

2011-2012

In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Tillis was not appointed to a standing committee.

2009-2010

In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Tillis served on the following committees:

Issues

National security

Letter to Iran

On March 9, 2015, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote a letter to Iran's leadership, warning them that signing a nuclear deal with the Obama administration without congressional approval was merely an "executive agreement." The letter also stated that "The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time." The letter was signed by 47 Republican members of the Senate. Tillis was one of the 47 who signed the letter. No Democrats signed it.[6]

The letter caused intense backlash from both the Obama administration and the public. Vice President Joe Biden said of the letter, "In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which senators wrote directly to advise another country — much less a longtime foreign adversary — that the president does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them."[7] On Twitter, the hashtag "47Traitors" became the top trending topic in the world, and a debate raged as to whether the 47 who signed the letter were traitors or patriots.[8]

Recognition

Tillis was listed as one of Governing Magazine's top 17 "GOP Legislators to Watch" in May 2011. Governing chose legislators who met specific criteria, including "leadership qualities," "ability to strike alliances across party lines" and "a compelling personal story."[9]

DOT Contingency Fund

Due to the lack of oversight and limits on its use, the North Carolina Department of Transportation Contingency Fund was identified as a slush fund and an example of cronyism by the John Locke Foundation. Reduced from $15 million to $12 million in 2010, Tillis controlled $4 million of this fund in his role as Speaker of the House. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and DOT Secretary Tony Tata also each controlled $4 million.[10]

Welfare comments

Tillis came under fire in mid-October 2011 following comments he made at a town meeting where he suggested the state "find a way to divide and conquer" citizens on welfare. Tillis responded, saying he made a "poor choice of words" but stood by other comments he made, including the possibility of drug-testing those receiving public assistance as well as all government workers.[11]

At the meeting in question, Tillis said that tight budgets necessitated difficult decisions. He went on to compare welfare for "a woman in a wheelchair" to that for an unmarried mother:

"At some point, we'll have to say, 'First kid, we'll give you a pass. Second, third or fourth kid, you're on your own. What we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance. We have to show respect for that woman who has cerebral palsy and had no choice in her condition that needs help and we should help.

And we need to get those folks to look down at those people who choose to get into a position that makes them dependent on the government and say at some point, 'You're on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies but we're not going to take care of you.'"[12]

Elections

2014

See also: United States Senate elections in North Carolina, 2014

Tillis won the 2014 U.S. Senate election in North Carolina, for the seat previously occupied by Democrat Kay Hagan.[1][2] Tillis announced on May 30, 2013, that he would run for the seat.[13] He won the Republican nomination in the primary on May 6, 2014.

U.S. Senate, North Carolina General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Kay Hagan Incumbent 47.3% 1,377,651
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngThom Tillis 48.8% 1,423,259
     Libertarian Sean Haugh 3.7% 109,100
     Write-in John Rhodes 0% 621
     Write-in David Waddell 0% 201
     Write-in Barry Gurney 0% 142
     Write-in Write-in (miscellaneous) 0.1% 4,307
Total Votes 2,915,281
Source: North Carolina State Board of Elections
U.S. Senate, North Carolina Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngThom Tillis 45.7% 223,174
Greg Brannon 27.1% 132,630
Mark Harris 17.5% 85,727
Heather Grant 4.7% 22,971
Jim Snyder 1.9% 9,414
Ted Alexander 1.9% 9,258
Alex Bradshaw 0.7% 3,528
Edward Kryn 0.4% 1,853
Total Votes 488,555
Source: Results via the North Carolina State Board of Elections

Impact of legislative session

As an active member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Tillis' time was divided between legislative session and the campaign trail, which had the potential to hurt him in the polls. The president of Public Policy Polling stated, "Kay Hagan’s lead over Thom Tillis has tended to grow whenever the legislature is in session."[14] This trend may have occurred due to voter dissatisfaction with the General Assembly, or it may have had more to do with Tillis having less time to spend campaigning. Tillis disagreed with the former, as he hypothesized, "I don’t believe it’s had any meaningful impact on where I am in polls, simply because most people don’t follow the legislature." Instead, Tillis attributed his slipping numbers in the polls to the numerous attack ads put out by Hagan and her supporters.[14]

General election debate: Hagan vs. Tillis

September 3, 2014, marked the first debate between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Tillis. Both candidates sought to appear moderate while accusing each other of being too radical. While Hagan accused Tillis of having a bad voting record on women's issues, Tillis argued in favor of making contraceptives more available to women, saying, "I actually agree with the American Medical Association that we should make contraception more widely available. I think over-the-counter oral contraception should be available without a prescription."[15] At the same time, Tillis attempted to associate Hagan with President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In response, Hagan distanced herself from both Democratic leaders, emphasizing that National Journal had ranked her as the most moderate senator and disagreeing with Obama on issues dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Hagan stated, "Action is needed. I believe that we need to work with the moderate Syrian rebels. … I want to see the president’s plans, and I’m ready to take action."[15]

Ethics complaints

Incumbent Kay Hagan (D) and Tillis filed ethics complaints against each other in the month leading up to the 2014 general election. Tillis accused Hagan of helping her husband's company, JDC Manufacturing, receive $390,000 in tax credits and grants. According to the complaint, Hagan voted for the 2009 stimulus law that provided the money to Chip Hagan's company. The Republican Party of North Carolina filed the complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee, asking that they investigate whether Hagan's actions constituted a conflict of interest. Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope wrote, "The Committee needs to investigate whether Senator Hagan steered taxpayer funds to her husband for her own personal gain in violation of the Senate Ethics rules and the public trust."[16] Hagan denied helping her husband's company receive the grants, and her spokeswoman added that Hagan "made sure that a respected ethics attorney was consulted to ensure that it was appropriate, and the attorney found that it was."[16]

Hagan retaliated by calling for another ethics investigation against Tillis, arguing that Tillis voted for Recovery Act tax credits out of personal self-interest. Tillis owned stock in Aquesta Bank, which benefited from over $1 million in tax credits from the program. Forward North Carolina, a pro-Democratic group, decided to file a complaint with the North Carolina's state ethics commission. Spokesman Ben Ray stated, "Speaker Tillis should come clean about his investments and his votes to benefit Aquesta Bank and his personal bottom line."[16]

Endorsements

Tillis was endorsed by the following:

Media

  • The Senate Majority PAC spent $850,000 to run an attack ad on Tillis over a span of two weeks. They recorded the narrator of the ad at Tillis' own victory party after winning the Republican primary.[27]

Senate Majority PAC ad attacking Tillis

2012

See also: North Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2012

Tillis ran for re-election in 2012. He ran unopposed in the May 8, 2012, Republican primary and was unchallenged in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[28][29]

North Carolina House of Representatives, District 98, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngThom Tillis Incumbent 100% 27,971
Total Votes 27,971

2010

See also: North Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2010

On November 2, 2010, Tillis won election to the North Carolina House of Representatives. He was initially challenged by Jacquelyn Smith (D) in the general election but she withdrew.[30][31]

North Carolina House of Representatives, General Election Results, District 98 (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Thom Tillis (R) 23,540 100%

2008

See also: North Carolina House of Representatives elections, 2008

On November 4, 2008, Tillis won re-election to the North Carolina House of Representatives.[32] $43,050 was raised for this campaign.[33] He ran unopposed.

North Carolina House of Representatives, District 98
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Thom Tillis (R) 38,875

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Tillis is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Tillis raised a total of $2,244,703 during that time period. This information was last updated on September 3, 2013.[34]

Thom Tillis's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 North Carolina House of Representatives, District 98 Won $1,654,609
2010 North Carolina House of Representatives, District 98 Won $397,340
2008 North Carolina House of Representatives, District 98 Won $43,050
2006 North Carolina House of Representatives, District 98 Won $149,704
Grand Total Raised $2,244,703

2014

Tillis won election to the U.S. Senate in 2014. During that election cycle, Tillis's campaign committee raised a total of $11,000,378 and spent $10,513,963.[35] This is less than the average $10.6 million spent by Senate winners in 2014.[36]

Cost per vote

Tillis spent $7.39 per general election vote received in 2014.

U.S. Senate, North Carolina, 2014 - Thom Tillis Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $11,000,378
Total Spent $10,513,963
Total Raised by Election Runner-up $24,849,812
Total Spent by Election Runner-up $24,851,013
Top contributors to Thom Tillis's campaign committee
Elliott Management$126,300
Susan B Anthony List$54,794
New Breed Inc$54,100
Kleinberg, Kaplan et al$53,049
Citizens for Prosperity in America Today$44,980
Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee
Retired$1,291,214
Real Estate$540,359
Securities & Investment$529,700
Lawyers/Law Firms$363,775
Leadership PACs$362,175

Candidates for Congress were required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Tillis' reports.[37]

2012

Tillis won re-election to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Tillis raised a total of $1,654,609.

2010

Tillis won re-election to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Tillis raised a total of $397,340.

Scorecards

See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in North Carolina

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of North Carolina scorecards, email suggestions to scorecards@ballotpedia.org.

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.

2013-2014

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly was in session from January 9 to July 26. In 2014, the North Carolina General Assembly will be in session from May 14 through a date to be determined by the legislature.

  • Legislators are scored on their votes on environment and conservation issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on environment and conservation issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key conservative issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key conservative issues and ideals.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key environmental issues.
  • Environment North Carolina: 2014 Legislative Scorecard
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on 20 bills picked by the organization that they consider the worst of the session.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on bills relating to pro-family and Biblical values.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on bills relating to animal welfare, sponsoring animal welfare bills, completing the NCVAW survey and responsiveness to animal advocates constituents.

2011–2012

In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly was in session from January 26 to June 18. A special session dealing with redistricting began July 13 and ended July 28. In 2012, the North Carolina General Assembly was in session from May 16 to July 3.

  • Legislators are scored on their votes on environment and conservation issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on environment and conservation issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key conservative issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key conservative issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key environmental issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key environmental issues.

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Southern Political Report, "North Carolina: GOPers Circling Around Hagan," accessed May 23, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Politico, "North Carolina Senate Election Results," accessed November 5, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 News Observer, "The rise of Thom Tillis," February 2, 2011
  4. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Thom Tillis," accessed January 28, 2015
  5. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments of the 114th Congress," accessed February 17, 2015
  6. The Wall Street Journal, "Text of GOP Senators’ Letter to Iran’s Leaders on Nuclear Talks," March 9, 2015
  7. Fox News, "Firestorm erupts over GOP letter challenging Obama's power to approve Iran nuclear deal," March 10, 2015
  8. Ut San Diego, "Traitors or patriots? Senator's letter to Iran creates firestorm," March 11, 2015
  9. Governing, "GOP Legislators to Watch," May 24, 2011
  10. John Locke Foundation, "Carolina Cronyism: Introduction, Overview, and Reform," July 2012
  11. Miami Herald, "North Carolina politician under fire for comments on welfare recipients," October 13, 2011 (dead link)
  12. Charlotte Observer, "Rep. Tillis criticized for drug test idea," October 13, 2011
  13. Associated Press, "APNewsBreak: Tillis says he'll run for US Senate," accessed June 3, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 Charlotte Observer, "Session stalemate no help to Tillis campaign," accessed July 3, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 Politico, "Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis spar in first debate," accessed September 4, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Politico, "Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis file rival ethics complaints," accessed October 7, 2014
  17. The Hill, "Jeb Bush to endorse Tillis in North Carolina," accessed April 30, 2014
  18. ABC Local, "Governor Pat McCrory endorses Thom Tillis in Senate race," accessed April 30, 2014
  19. WNCT, "US Chamber of Commerce backs Tillis in NC race," accessed April 30, 2014
  20. National Right to Life News, "NRL Endorses House Speaker Thom Tillis, early voting in North Carolina has begun," accessed April 30, 2014
  21. Charlotte Observer, "NRA endorses U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis," accessed May 1, 2014
  22. Washington Post, "North Carolina is central to the fight for Senate control," accessed May 1, 2014
  23. News Observer, "Utah Sen. Mike Lee endorses Greg Brannon in contested Senate primary," accessed May 1, 2014
  24. Newsmax, "McConnell Headlines Fundraiser for NC Senate Hopeful Tillis," accessed May 1, 2014
  25. Washington Times, "Harris, Tillis gets endorsement in NC Senate race," accessed May 1, 2014
  26. The Huffington Post, "Mitt Romney Endorses Thom Tillis In Critical GOP Primary," accessed May 6, 2014
  27. Political Ticker, "Democrats record anti-GOP ad at GOP victory celebration," accessed May 13, 2014
  28. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2012 Primary Election Results," accessed June 12, 2014
  29. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2012 General Election Results," accessed June 12, 2014
  30. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2010 Primary Election Results," accessed June 12, 2014
  31. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Official North Carolina General Election Results- November 2, 2010," accessed June 12, 2014
  32. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2008 General Election Results," accessed August 14, 2014
  33. Follow the Money, "2008 campaign contributions," accessed August 14, 2014
  34. Follow the Money, "Tillis, Thom," accessed September 3, 2013
  35. Open Secrets, "Thom Tillis 2014 Election Cycle," accessed April 14, 2015
  36. Open Secrets, "Winning vs. Spending," accessed April 14, 2015
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis Summary Report," accessed May 8, 2014
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis July Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  39. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  40. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis Year-End," accessed May 8, 2014
  41. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis April Quarterly," accessed May 8, 2014
  42. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis Pre-Primary," accessed November 25, 2014
  43. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis July Quarterly," accessed November 25, 2014
  44. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis October Quarterly," accessed November 25, 2014
  45. Federal Election Commission, "Thom Tillis Pre-General," accessed November 25, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Kay Hagan (D)
United States Senate - North Carolina
2015-Present
Succeeded by
-
Preceded by
-
North Carolina House - District 98
2011–January 1, 2015
Succeeded by
John R. Bradford III (R)