Thom Tillis to miss session for Senate fundraiser in Washington

Posted by John Frank on May 15, 2014 

House Speaker Thom Tillis will miss Monday’s legislative session to attend a U.S. Senate fundraiser in Washington.

The Republican will attend a meet-and-greet at the offices of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, according to an invitation that solicits the maximum $2,600 campaign contribution.

The event starts at 3 p.m.; the House session starts at 4 p.m.

No votes are expected Monday, but the conflict exemplifies the challenge Tillis will face this session as he tries to raise the millions needed to be competitive against Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and run the House chamber.

Tillis has refused to relinquish his post despite calls to do so from Republicans and Democrats.

It’s the second time Tillis will miss a day of session to attend a fundraiser at the offices of the association – a major lobbying player on Capitol Hill. In July, just weeks into his campaign, Tillis skipped a debate on a sweeping tax bill and a contentious gun resolution to attend an event at the same place.

Jordan Shaw, Tillis’ campaign manager, emphasized that many lawmakers will not attend the session because no votes are being taken.

On Wednesday, Tillis said the House planned to vote on a major tax bill Monday, but a day later, he announced no votes at the session. It’s unclear what changed but the bill is mired in controversy.

Shaw said the campaign comes second to the speaker’s legislative duties. “We are working around the legislative schedule, not the other way around,” he said Thursday.

The invitation alludes to this. Jade West, the association’s senior vice president for government relations, wrote: “The North Carolina House is now in session and Thom will be doing double duty as Speaker and Senate nominee, so at least for the next couple months his visits to D.C. will be few and far between.

“But … he will be here next Monday,” she continued. “We are pleased to be able to host a Meet & Greet for him so folks who have not had a chance to get to know him can remedy that situation.”

The hosts for the event include other lobbyists: Jim Anderson, Kirk Blalock, Kate Hull, Mark Isakowitz, Aleix Jarvis, Malloy McDaniel, Billy Piper and Dirk Van Dongen, according to an invitation.

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