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Sen. Tillis widens Republican primary lead

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) has a wide lead over Republican primary challenger Sandy Smith, of Winterville, NC, according to the latest poll from the conservative-leaning Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based think tank.

Businessman Garland Tucker recently announced the end of his candidacy, citing the impeachment inquiry and Sen., “Tillis’ role as one of [the President’s] defenders in the Senate” as a factor in his decision.

A November Fox News poll showed Tillis with the support of 54 percent of primary voters to Tucker's 11 percent.

Registered likely voters were asked, “If the Republican primary election were held today, and the candidates were, Thom Tillis and Sandy Smith, who would you vote for?”

Tillis             63%

Smith            11%

Undecided    25%

In addition, those surveyed were also asked who they would vote for in several council of state races, with the most prominent being the gubernatorial primary.

Former governor Pat McCrory, who has not indicated much interest in a re-match with Gov. Roy Cooper (D), received 42 percent support, with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in second at 31 percent, and Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover) with 3 percent.

According to the survey, 25 percent of likely Republican primary voters remain undecided.

“It is difficult to compete with the recognition that comes with being chief executive of the state, and this poll bears that out,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “In this poll, former Gov. McCrory maintains a lead across most key demographics, including women, seniors, and high propensity voters.”

Likely Republican primary voters were also asked a variety of questions, including which national and state issues are most important in determining their vote in 2020.

Jobs and the economy (30 percent) were the most important national and state election issue driving these voters.