Under the Dome

Tillis reserves $1M in TV time, debuts second ad

Republican Thom Tillis is putting $1 million into a TV ad campaign to run through the May 6 primary in the U.S. Senate race.

He debuted his second TV ad Thursday, an autobiographical piece that tells his personal story. Like his first ad, it avoids any reference to his four-terms in the state legislature and tenure as House speaker, instead emphasizing his business background. (See it below.)

Standing in the yard of a suburban neighborhood, Tillis says his first job was a newspaper route (for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans) and how he went on to be a short order cook and didn’t earn his college degree until years later. He then touts his 25 years in business, including his days as a partner at IBM.

“My story is not special,” he says. “In America it happens all the time. But the trainwreck in Washington puts it all at risk.”

The 30-second spot (dubbed “Paper Route”) doesn’t mention his political party and would appear at home in a general election. The “vote May 6th” tag at the end is the only hint Tillis is running in the primary. And unlike his first ad, Tillis doesn’t hit President Barack Obama or Democrat incumbent Kay Hagan, just the notion of “Washington.”

The ad is appearing statewide on cable channels and broadcast stations in the Greensboro and Wilmington markets the next week. In the weeks after it will appear in the Greenville and Asheville TV markets.

Tillis bought the TV time through the primary, a $1.07 million price tag, and other ads are possible in the future. So far, he is avoiding the two most populous and most expensive media markets, Raleigh and Charlotte. “We will make decisions about additional buys in the future,” campaign spokesman Jordan Shaw said.

Tillis is the only candidate in the eight-way GOP primary running TV ads, a nod to his large campaign war chest.