Tillman Wins Easily in Senate 29
State Sen. Jerry Tillman easily held off two Moore County challengers Tuesday in the Republican primary for the newly configured 29th District.
According to unofficial returns with all of the precincts reporting, Tillman received 18,203 votes, or 67 percent. John Marcum, of Pinehurst, was a distant second with 4,660 votes, or 17 percent, followed by Tommy Davis, of Aberdeen, with 4,247 votes, or 15 percent.
The district includes all of Moore County and most of Randolph County. Both are heavily Republican counties.
Tillman, of Archdale in Randolph County, is all but assured re-election since no Democrat filed for the seat this year.
“I feel good about the results,” Tillman said Tuesday night. “I got a strong vote in Randolph County. Being new to Moore County, I was just hoping to win. I am pleased with how overwhelming my support was there. I am thrilled to be representing Moore County. I really got a lot of support in Moore County. I am very humbled by it.”
Under redistricting enacted last year, Moore County was moved from the 22nd Senate District, represented by Sen. Harris Blake, to the 29th District. Blake, a Pinehurst Republican, did not seek re-election and endorsed Tillman.
Tillman handily carried both counties, garnering 7,563 votes in Moore and 10,281 in Randolph, according to the unofficial returns. Marcum was second in Moore County with 3,305 and Davis with 1,663. Davis wound up second in Randolph with 2,584 votes, while Marcum had 1,355.
While Tillman will not face Democratic opposition in November, he said he will focus his efforts on making sure Republicans maintain control of the N.C. General Assembly and that Pat McCrory is elected governor.
“Now I can help raise money for other Senate races and for Pat McCrory,” he said. “There is still a lot of work left to be done. I am just glad I don’t have to worry about a race in November.”
Tillman, 71, a retired school administrator, said he “feels good” about McCrory’s chances in November.
“I think you will see a more cooperative relationship between the General Assembly and the governor,” Tillman said. “He is not a radical right-winger. He’ll work with both sides. He has been that type of leader.”
During the campaign, Tillman promoted his leadership role in the Senate as majority whip and his increased clout since Republicans took control of the General Assembly two years ago.
He was first elected to the state Senate in 2002 in a district that then included Randolph and Montgomery counties.
“I feel like I have a lot to offer and will be an effective representative for Moore County,” Tillman said.
One of the first things Tillman said he wants to see happen during the upcoming short session of the General Assembly is legislation to lower and cap the state’s gas tax. He said he does not have a specific figure in mind at this point.
He also said the formula that is used to automatically raise or lower the tax also needs to be reformed.
“We have to reform this. We need to do some work on that,” he said. “The tax needs to be lowered.”
Tillman said he is also optimistic about legislation he has co-sponsored to eliminate tenure for public school teachers, add five days to the school calendar and require that third-graders be held back until they attend summer reading camps if they fail to meet reading requirements. He said the General Assembly needs to come up with $40 million to $50 million for educational improvements.
“We will find the money to get this passed,” Tillman said.
As for the budget, Tillman said the situation facing the state in the next two years won’t be as dire as last year, when the state faced a $2.5 billion shortfall.
Tillman also repeated his position that he supports fracking, “with the understanding that we have the proper safeguards in place.” He said in an earlier interview that he does have “environmental concerns” and that there are “risks.”
“We can’t close the door on this,” he said. “This is something we need to pursue. We need to explore all our energy sources. We also need to protect our water. We will come back with the necessary safeguards.”
Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or email@example.com.
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