GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis: America’s “traditional” population isn’t growing

The North Carolina pol once contrasted minority voters with what he called America's "traditional" populations VIDEO

Topics: Video, Thom Tillis, Kay Hagan, Talking Points Memo, Election 2014, U.S. Senate, Republican Party, Race, GOP, Tea Party, Demographics, Latino, African American, , ,

GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis: America’s “traditional” population isn’t growingThom Tillis (Credit: AP/Chuck Burton)

In North Carolina, state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis is locked in a competitive Senate race with incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. Part of his strategy has long been to play down his more divisive past statements and positions and to portray himself as a rather mild-mannered, centrist Republican. But a newly resurfaced interview from 2012, in which Tillis implicitly describes whites as being America’s “traditional” population, may make that more difficult.

Tillis’ comment came in response to a question about the GOP’s troubles winning over black and Latino voters. Rather than chalk the difficulty up to the Republican Party’s policy platform or its electoral strategies, Tillis tried to sidestep the issue and focus instead on “demographics.”

“If you take a look, you mentioned the Hispanic population, the African-American population — there’s a number of things that our party stands for that they embrace,” Tillis responded. He went on to say that Republicans should continue to reach out to these voters. But as an explanation for why reaching out was important, Tillis didn’t cite the philosophical demands of representative democracy or the virtues of pluralism or so on.

Instead, he argued that outreach would be necessary because, unlike growing Latino and African-American communities, the ”traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable.”

Asked about the remark by Talking Points Memo, Tillis’ campaign insisted his 2012 comments were not about race or ethnicity but rather geography and history. The word “traditional,” according to Tillis campaign communications director Daniel Keylin, was meant to refer to “North Carolinians who have been here for a few generations.”

You Might Also Like

Keylin went on to claim that Tillis was merely recognizing how much of “the state’s recent population growth is from people who move from other states to live, work, and settle down in North Carolina.” He cited the Florida-born Tillis himself as an example.

Via TPM, you can watch Tillis’ 2012 comment below at around the 2:45 mark:

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    jkrebs04, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 1

    Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada

    akvarog, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 2

    Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

    iMAGICations, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 3

    Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, U.S.

    jhgraphicsusa, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 4

    Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

    Robert R., DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 5

    Colosseum, Rome, Italy

    Anythingoes, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 6

    Taj Mahal, Agra, India

    Sergio Coelho, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 7

    Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy

    Anythingoes, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 8

    Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    iMAGICations,DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 9

    Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

    iMAGICations, DesignCrowd.com

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 10

    Lost City of Petra, Jordan

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...