Tillis vs. Hagan: A U.S. Senate race about the General Assembly?

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Imagine a great Republican candidate to go against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan this fall. H/she is a business owner. Or a doctor. Self-made, anyway. A diplomat would be great — whatever happened to Jim Cain?

The point is, you want a Republican candidate who personifies national issues — the economy, jobs, trade, the cost of health care — and can tell you what's wrong with Wall Street. Best case, your candidate's been to Libya and visited Benghazi. (I'm joking about Libya — I think.)

At any rate, h/she's conservative, but in a non-threatening way that says "sensible," not a nut or an ass. And with no voting record, please.

Now consider Thom Tillis. The N.C. House speaker defeated seven opponents — well, two, plus five other candidates who got almost no votes among them — to win the Republican Senate nomination outright with 46 percent of the vote.

Nothing about Tillis says national. Or business. No, he's a state-level pol whose record is all about cuts to public school funding, the UNC system and teachers' pay. It's about tax cuts for corporations whether they create jobs in North Carolina or not. And about cutting off unemployment benefits for people who've lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and keeping Medicaid away from the working poor.

In short, it's about the General Assembly's crazy record of refusing to do at the state level the very things that Republicans oppose at the federal level because they're supposed to be state prerogatives.

American Bridge detailed the negatives against Tillis tonight in a mere 6,464 words. Read 'em and, if you're a Republican, remind yourself why Tillis is your guy?

Sen. Hagan might've been challenged by a Republican questioning her support of Obama initiatives in Washington. Instead, she'll face a Republican who'll be forced to defend his legislature's record of undermining, and underfunding, the state's economy and institutions.

Instead of being on defense, in other words, Hagan can go on offense against the General Assembly's extremely unpopular record.

Sure, she'd rather have run against a right-wing whacker like Greg Brannon, who finished a not very close second to Tillis. But running against Tillis is almost as good for her, given what the GOP might've served up instead — but didn't.

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