GOP rival to North Carolina Sen. Tillis won’t run after all

FILE - In this March 14, 2019, file photo, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., attends a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Garland Tucker, a former investment firm CEO who announced months ago his Republican primary challenge of Tillis said Monday, Dec. 2, he won't officially enter the race after all.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former investment firm CEO who announced months ago his Republican primary challenge of North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis now says he won’t officially enter the race after all.

Garland Tucker’s decision on Monday’s opening day of state candidate filing appears to clear the GOP field of well-funded rivals to Tillis, who’s seeking a second term next year.

Tucker wrote donors that while he had put $1.6 million of his own money into the campaign, he would need to raise $2.5 million more to compete well in the March 3 primary. He says access to “national conservative funding has been effectively cut off” by Trump’s endorsement of Tillis in June and the impeachment proceedings.

A Tillis campaign news release after Tucker’s announcement focused on potential Democratic challengers next fall.

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