Experts say Tillis with growing lead in GOP senate race


Gov. Pat McCrory and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive will join Senate candidate Thom Tillis for a campaign announcement Tuesday morning in Raleigh.

The top four contenders in the Republican field will debate Monday night at UNC-TV. There will be 12 topics -- questions running the gamut -- and the big question going into it is will it move the needle on the other side?

GOP-hopeful and Charlotte pastor Mark Harris visited an early polling site in Raleigh Monday shaking hands and talking to voters. He made the same case he'll try to make Monday night -- that he's the right person for the job despite new polling that shows House Speaker Thom Tillis with a growing lead.

"I think you overcome it, though, by the quality of the campaign, and hopefully the quality of the candidate that you put out there, and the message: said Harris.

Monday night, each of the four candidates on stage will try to get their message across.

Tillis, who is up in the polls, will be challenged on his conservative credentials. He recently called the Affordable Care Act "a great idea that can't be paid for."  The ACA, will likely be front and center Monday night along with immigration, same sex marriage, and perhaps recent ads that cut to character and leadership.

Democratic pollster Tom Jensen says whatever happens Monday night, it may not make a difference on May 6 when primary votes are counted.

"It really is starting to look like Thom Tillis is going to win without a run-off election," said Jensen. "Whoever wins needs 40 percent of the vote or there's an automatic run-off, and for politicians of all stripes clean primary wins are the goal."

"It lets you have the chance to get unified as a party earlier in the year, start raising money for the general election," said Harris.

But that's later. Monday night, is the candidates last chance to talk about themselves, and don't be surprised to hear jabs like this.

"The problem I have is with the lack of consistency," said Harris about Tillis.

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