NC GOP backing re-election claims of Sen. Thom Tillis as race remains unsettled

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina’s Republican leadership is backing claims of re-election by Senator Thom Tillis, although his opponent has not conceded.

The state’s Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley says he’s confident once all the provisional and absentee ballots are counted and certified, Tillis will be victorious over democrat Cal Cunningham.

“What we accomplished tonight was a stunning victory. We did it, we did it against all the odds,” Tillis told supporters at his watch party Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning, Whatley said historic numbers of republican voters coming out on Election Day and voting early helped put Tillis, and other GOP candidates, over the top.

“For us to have this big of a series of wins on the Republican side is really a great validation of the ground game and enthusiasm we have for conservative ideas we have here,” said Whatley.

During his speech to supporters at the Langtree Plantation in Mooresville Tuesday night, Tillis acknowledged the tight margin between himself and Cunningham.

“I don’t really experience stress, but I did have a heavy burden on me thinking that North Carolina could be the majority maker for the U.S. Senate,” he said.

Cunningham has not conceded the race. In a statement to CBS 17, his campaign manager said the State Board of Elections is still counting ballots.

“We plan to allow that process to be carried out, so that every voter can have their voice heard,” campaign manager Devan Barber said in a statement.

The race between Tillis and Cunningham was the most expensive Senate contest in US history with groups outside the state spending millions of dollars on both candidates.

“When we see that type of money coming into North Carolina it really does have an impact,” said Whatley.

During his remarks Tuesday night Tillis spoke about how his difficult upbringing inspired him to make sure every person is given the same opportunities to chase their version of the American dream.

He said when he returns to Washington, his priority will be the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure a vaccine is distributed, and reopening schools and businesses.

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