"I want to go back for another six years to continue the good work that we've accomplished under President Trump," Tillis proclaimed Monday as he filed for the 2020 election at the State Board of Elections office in Raleigh. "President Trump has endorsed me because he knows on the matters that matter most I've been with him more than anyone in the North Carolina delegation and anyone in the U.S. Senate."
Tillis, a former Speaker of the House in the North Carolina General Assembly, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 after defeating the late Kay Hagan. Democrats in North Carolina and nationally are hoping to defeat Tillis and flip the seat after being unable to defeat Richard Burr, the senior senator, in 2016.
"More people working, wages increasing, increased spending for defense," Tillis said. "Those are the things general election voters are going to respond to and that's why I believe President Trump will be reelected."
NEW: @SenThomTillis declares he’s a “definite no” on #impeachment barring “new evidence we haven’t seen.” Adds he sees no problem with @realDonaldTrump and has more problems with whistleblower. @ABCPolitics @ABC11_WTVD @JTHVerhovek #ncpol pic.twitter.com/e6exYVfgwG— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) December 9, 2019
Tillis' recent affinity for Trump is a contrast to some earlier moments in the Trump presidency, including critiquing Trump's firing of FBI Director Jim Comey.
He was also one of the first Republicans to vocally oppose the president's Emergency Declaration that rerouted money from military projects to constructing the border wall. Facing immense political pressure, Tillis eventually switched sides and supported the President.
"(The President) called me on Tuesday right after he landed at the NATO summit when he heard the news our primary opponent was not going to file, then he called me again Friday night to say, 'Tell me what I can do to help,'" Tillis said. "We're going to do everything we can to get this president re-elected."
.@SenThomTillis: I’ve got the backing of @POTUS @realDonaldTrump “because he understands I’m committed” to his agenda. Brushes of potential challenge by @RepMarkWalker, who may lose his seat because of new congressional maps. @ABCPolitics @ABC11_WTVD #ncpol pic.twitter.com/OvK4XfyaGC— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) December 9, 2019
Raleigh businessman Garland Tucker recently dropped his bid to primary Tillis, but there's growing speculation Rep. Mark Walker could launch a bid. Walker, a Republican congressman representing areas in and around Greensboro, is likely to face an uphill battle for reelection because of new congressional voting maps.
For the Democrats, Cal Cunningham, a former state senator and Army veteran, was recently endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Also running for the nomination is Erica Smith, a member of the N.C. House of Representatives, and Trevor Fuller, a Mecklenberg County Commissioner.