Under the Dome

Thom Tillis adds top fundraisers, political staff

U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis announced his top fundraisers Thursday, adding familiar North Carolina names to his campaign.

Former Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner, former Ambassador Dave Phillips, Bob Ingram and Harry Smith will lead the House speaker's finance team. Tillis will need to raise big bucks to win the four-way (for now) Republican primary and compete with incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan, who has a large campaign war chest.

Tillis' fundraising during the legislative session led to numerous questions about special interests and board appointments.

Gardner is a former congressman and close ally to Pat McCrory. Phillips is a former President George W. Bush appointee and High Point businessman. Ingram is a venture capitalist and former CEO and chairman at GlaxoWellcome. And Smith is the CEO of the Flanders Corporation and member of the UNC Board of Governors and state Economic Development Board.

The campaign is raising money Sept. 13 at Jane and Scott Sullivan's home in Wilmington Friday and holding fundraisers Sept. 18-20 in Winston-Salem, Cornelius and Wallace, respectively.

Tillis also named Kim Canady, the former N.C. Republican Party political director, to serve in the same role for his campaign. Another hire: Luke Blanchat, Hickory native who worked for Rick Perry's presidential campaign and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul's re-election campaign.

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