NORTH CAROLINA -- The government shutdown is over, but the political fallout resulting from the impasse may not be.
- The budget fight takes center stage in a series of political ads released by Majority Forward, a Democratic nonprofit.
- Among them is North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis, who is up for re-election in November 2020.
- Throughout the shutdown fight, Tillis routinely defended the President. He also voted for the bill the president preferred to end the shutdown.
The budget fight takes center stage in a series of political ads released by Majority Forward, a Democratic nonprofit. The Washington Post reports the group launched the ads in the middle of the budget stalemate, targeting a handful of potentially vulnerable Republican senators.
Among them is North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis, who is up for re-election in November 2020.
“It’s the longest government shutdown in history,” the ad begins, with ominous music playing underneath. The ad then makes mention of the impact the shutdown may have had on natural disaster relief in North Carolina, before taking aim at the Tar Heel State’s junior senator by name.
“Where’s Thom Tillis?” the narrator says. “Instead of being independent, he sides with his party leaders, who refuse to even allow a vote to reopen the government.”
Todd Belt, a professor at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, says the ad highlights the “very difficult spot” Tillis is in ahead of 2020.
Belt says Tillis will have to balance shoring up the president’s conservative base while also appealing to moderates. Go too far in one direction, he says, and it could spell trouble.
“We’ll probably see a large turnout, especially if Democrats are dissatisfied with the Trump presidency and so that could put him in a vulnerable position,” Belt said.
Throughout the shutdown fight, Tillis routinely defended the President. He also voted for the bill the president preferred to end the shutdown, which included more than $5 billion dollars for the border wall. (The bill ultimately failed advance off the Senate floor.)
“I actually think the president recognizes right now a lot of the pressure is on him, which is why I appreciate him staying steadfast,” Tillis said in an interview in the middle of the shutdown impasse.
When asked to respond to the ad, which paints Tillis as toeing the party line, the senator instead labeled himself as a moderate. He emphasized his desire to see a deal on DACA, which was the focus of his recent op-ed in The Hill newspaper.
“All I really care about is the message I convey to the people of North Carolina, that I’m being reasonable, I’m trying to be centrist on issues that matter to North Carolinians,” Tillis said.
So will this shutdown’s toll be forgotten more than a year from now when people go to the polls?
“Maybe it will be old news,” Belt said. “But to the extent it can be brought up again, and people still feel sore about this issue, then it can be very influential.”