The Ironic Tillis Primary History
Growing up, I had a grand vision of what a politician was. As a Reagan baby, I saw the Presidency, and by extension any elected office holder, as a true and honest leader. Politicians were men who forsook personal riches and fame to serve the betterment of society. Like our founders, the politician was a selfless beacon of what was right. A moral and philosophical leader.
My oh my how times have changed.
I’m not quite sure if it’s simply that I’ve woken up or if people have really changed so much in my short thirty (ahem) years of life.
In recent days we’ve witnessed some truly ugly politics.
You may have seen this video in which Cabarrus County Representative Larry Pittman addressed some issues before the General Assembly and points out some issues that he had with Speaker Thom Tillis.
I watched the video and nothing seemed over the top on Pittman’s behalf. The disagreements were respectful.
For whatever reason, just days later, Pittman issued an apology, but specified the apology was over the way in which the disagreement was handled, not for the substance of the disagreements.
While Tillis made sure via Facebook comments that anyone who had posted the original Pittman video was made aware of the apology, it seems the apology had little sway in deterring the wrath of challenged leadership.
At the Mecklenburg County GOP Executive meeting last week, recently elected vice-chair Jonathan Sink resigned his position and made it clear that his intention was to move to Cabarrus County and offer a primary challenge to Pittman.
What horrible timing, given the recent row between the legislators. There is no concrete proof that Tillis is behind this, but anyone paying attention can connect the dots.
In his phone calls to local Cabarrus GOP Party officials, Sink attempted to make it clear that his intentions were not motivated by animosity, but that residents simply “deserved a choice”.
Conservatives are constantly berated when offering primary challenges against moderate to liberal Republicans. The calls for “unity” can be deafening. Interesting how when the other side wants to primary a conservative, suddenly it’s just “offering a choice”.
(On a personal note, I like Sink and supported his acquisition of the Vice-Chair position in Mecklenburg. However, I think this move is damaging to both his reputation and the GOP as a whole. If he wishes to comment, I will be more than happy to post in full and without commentary his response.)
Running with the assumption that this primary challenge is orchestrated by leadership against someone who dared to challenge the status quo, it’s a little like history repeating itself.
In 2006, Speaker Tillis was in a primary of his own against incumbent (and 2005 Americans for Prosperity Legislator of the Year) John Rhodes. Rhodes had made a name for himself by challenging the leadership of then Speaker Jim Black and Speaker Pro tem Richard Morgan. Tillis was “hired” to rid the state of the nuisance of Rhodes.
Now, let’s enter the wayback machine and point out what’s really funny about that race.
One of Tillis’ main targets against Rhodes was roads.
That’s right, in at least two political mail pieces, Tillis criticized Rhodes failing to “ease traffic congestion”.
You heard it.
Thom Tillis, the same elected official seemingly head over heals in love with the proposed HOT lanes on I-77 (or at least not doing a darn thing to fight them) once criticized his opponent in a GOP primary for “blocking the way to better roads”.
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, when you run on a platform “to ease traffic congestion”, and then stand aside and allow a private company to take over our highways via HOT lanes which are admittedly not an alleviator of congestion and more expensive than general purpose lanes…you have some explaining to do.
It’s no secret that the Speaker will be vacating his seat and running for US Senate in 2014.
The question is, does he really want to run as the candidate who was elected under false pretenses and now dishes out the same sort of “political justice” that his democrat (and felon) predecessor did?
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