Thom Tillis is a lot like Mitt Romney, and he learned one big thing from Romney’s 2012 campaign: Don’t get on the same stage and same page with the nuts in his party.
So Tillis may be making the right strategic decision by ducking the WRAL debate. It’s better to look chicken than to be a punching bag or, even worse, look like you’re as far-right as some of your opponents.
Besides, Tillis may be up against two candidates who believe they were called by God to run. Greg Brannon says God spoke to him while he was running on the beach on Good Friday. (He works in mysterious ways!) I don’t want to put words into Mark Harris’ mouth, but he is a minister, so he might feel called from on high too.
It’s hard to debate with people called by God.
This reminds me of a little-known opponent Governor Jim Hunt had long ago. Hunt sat down with the man to discuss the race and, he hoped, persuade him not to make the race. But the man told Hunt that God had told him to run.
Hunt said later that he thought to himself, “Well, God didn’t tell me to run, but if He told you, I can understand you running.”
As it turned out, God might have told the fellow to run, but He didn’t tell him he’d win. He finished far back in the pack.