I count 37 North Carolina Republicans who want to go to Washington, or who want to remain in Washington -- Republicans who have filed for either the US Senate seat currently held by Thom Tillis and Republicans who have filed in one of our 13 Congressional districts (including seven Republican incumbents). I went looking to see which ones wrap themselves most theatrically around Donald Trump, and which ones keep a more antiseptic distance. This is a survey based on cursory evidence -- a quick tour of candidate websites and/or social media feeds.
We know Senator Thom Tillis as a conspicuous Trump toady, a lickspittle who's been trying to take back that one moment of independent thought he had about Trump's state of emergency at the southern border, but the one person you don't see on Tillis's website is Trump. Nor hear his name. However, the Tillis Twitter feed is a different story -- littered with little coos of @RealDonaldTrump and pictures of Dear Leader and links to articles about how deaf, blind, and dumb the Democrats are for failing to recognize the greatness of Trump. His Twitter feed looks like a burlesque act for an audience of one. He puts tassels on his tits and twirls them for Trump.
In the Republican primary for Congressional District 1 -- and the privilege of getting to lose to Democratic incumbent G.K. Butterfield -- Republican candidate Sandy Smith, who likes to refer to herself as the "Little Red Firecracker," is in a pro-Trump class all to herself. She had intended to run against Thom Tillis in the senatorial primary, but -- well, I'll let her explain:
Why not continue to primary Thom Tillis? I originally ran against Thom Tillis for the US Senate in order to defeat him for his horrible anti-Trump rhetoric, opposing the border wall, supporting gun control, among other liberal positions.
It was not long after I filed for Senate that he began to change his tune and passionately support President Trump. He even changed his vote in support of the border wall, even though he publicly said he would not support it previously.
Then, President Trump endorsed Thom Tillis for reelection. Like many of you, I am skeptical of Tillis’ “newly found support” and my entire reason for running was to hold Thom Tillis accountable for being a roadblock to the America-first agenda. Then last week President Trump reaffirmed his endorsement of Tillis. President Trump very clearly wants Thom Tillis to be reelected.
Thom Tillis now owes President Trump for helping him clear the field, and honestly, Tillis can’t win reelection against the Democrats without President Trump’s help. So I have a feeling he will remain a supporter of the president, at least until November. By 2020, there should be more conservative senators in office to counter Thom Tillis if he decides to go back to his old ways.
The Little Red Firecracker has some competition in the CD-01 primary from Michelle Nix, who says she's running against Butterfield because he voted to impeach Trump and brags that she was a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2016 and says she traveled the state on Trump's behalf. "Trump" is all over her issues page, along with his photograph.
Greg Murphy was only just elected to Congress in CD-03 last year, so I was curious how he would play Trump. He's a medical doctor, and what I see on his website looks like a quarantine to lessen infection. Under the heading "Greg Murphy on the issues," he headlines this: "SUPPORT PRESIDENT TRUMP." The wording of what follows is equivocal while ostensibly kissing ass:
President Trump is one of the few Presidents in recent memory who is attempting to do exactly what he said he was going to do on the campaign trail. If Senate Republicans had supported him, Obamacare would have been repealed. I will support the Trump agenda because it is the people’s agenda, especially Eastern North Carolina that voted so overwhelming in his favor."
Short version: When the people cease to support Trump, so will I.
For a celebrity hound who is famous for photo-bombing President Trump, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (CD-05) stays strictly separate from the Prez and never mentions his name on her website and social media accounts. Go figure. She's been photographed multiple times standing practically in his armpit.
David Rouzer in the CD-07 is adamant on his official website: "Rouzer Lays Out Case Against Impeachment Sham." On Facebook he has been a warrior against Democrats over impeachment, for which he sometimes suffers significant anti-Trump blow-back from his constituents. Rouzer is constantly defending Trump on his Twitter feed.
Big contrast on Trumpiness between Congressman Richard Hudson (CD-08) and newly installed Congressman Dan Bishop (NC-09). Bishop on his Twitter feed obviously feels his Trumpy oats, adding to the echo chamber that anyone who supports the impeachment is disloyal to America, while Hudson nowhere mentions Trump -- ever.
Congressman Patrick McHenry (CD-10) rivals Thom Tillis for coochee dancing for Trump's benefit on Twitter, though, like Foxx, he clearly doesn't have a use for Trump on his campaign website.
Here ends this survey, because there's only so much punishment a body can take in one morning, and I'm out of coffee.