North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, declined to say whether he would support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) if they both win in November because he wants to be an “independent” senator for the state.
“I’m not going to look past the most important election and that’s the election in November,” Tillis said to Buzzfeed on Saturday. “I think there are a number of people in Republican caucus [sic] who would be great leaders and it would be great for them to be in that position.”
Tillis comments are notable given that he’s been considered one of the more establishment candidates in the North Carolina Senate race. He was mainstream Republicans’ preferred candidate in the divided Republican primary for U.S. Senate in the state. Tillis said he wants the Republican leadership to work with the minority if the GOP takes control of the Senate.
“I’ve met with probably 30 members of the sitting Republican senators over the last year and I never neglect to let them know that I’m going to expect our leadership to do things differently,” Tillis told supporters according to Buzzfeed. “I’m going to expect our leadership to respect the minority.”
The TPM Polltracker gives Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tillis’s opponent, a 1.1 point lead over Tillis.