Raleigh – Senator Tillis’ primary challenger, conservative businessman Garland Tucker, officially launched his campaign last night with an interview with Sean Hannity and a launch video that, respectively, labeled Senator Tillis as “very, very weak” and blasted him, saying, “What Congress needs is backbone.” Both Hannity and Tucker attacked Senator Tillis implicitly and explicitly for his “flip flop for the ages” on the emergency declaration, while Hannity said he’s “glad [Tucker] is in the race” and stated that this “is going to be a big, big primary fight.” The Tucker-Tillis primary is shaping up to be the nastiest Republican primary in the country – and reveals how weak Senator Tillis is and vulnerable he will be if he makes it through to the general election.

Here’s key excerpts from conservative challenger Garland Tucker’s launch interview with Sean Hannity:

HANNITY: “[Tucker’s] going up against incumbent Thom Tillis who, well, has not exactly been the most conservative for the people of North Carolina.”

HANNITY: “Uh oh, this sounds like this is going to be a big, big primary fight in North Carolina.”

TUCKER: “I think the two issues that are going to be key in this race – and really all across the country – are immigration and government spending. And I’m really looking forward to having a debate with Senator Tillis because we’ve got some substantial differences on those two issues.”

…on support from conservative elected officials:

HANNITY: “Mark Meadows has been a rockstar and he – to me – is the one example of how people should serve their constituents.”

TUCKER: “I could not agree with you more, Sean.”

[NOTE: Rep. Meadows declined to “fully support” or endorse Senator Tillis]

…on Senator Tillis being “very, very weak”:

TUCKER: “Basically, in a nutshell, he ran on a conservative platform back in 2014. On immigration, for instance, he was opposed to amnesty, he was for securing the border. No sooner than he got in to Congress and he co-sponsored a bill that not only provided amnesty but provided a clear path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which I think is totally the wrong thing to do. When the emergency powers issue came along, he wrote the famous Washington Post op-ed and then when he got a lot of pressure from conservatives back home, he flip-flopped on that issue … he’s been very, very weak.”

…on Tillis joining the swamp:

HANNITY: “I’m tired of Republicans who go to Washington, they make all these lofty promises, and when push comes to shove, they don’t fight for anything.”

TUCKER: “A lot of people run for office on very conservative platforms – they talk about draining the swamp – but when they get to Washington, they figure out the swamp really wasn’t a swamp but it’s a hot tub – and they sit down in the hot tub and start enjoying it. That’s what’s happened to Senator Tillis.”

[NOTE: Senator Tillis pulled an “Olympic gold flip flop” on the emergency declaration that has defined his reelection campaign]

HANNITY: “Well listen, we’re glad you’re in the race.”

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