2020 North Carolina Senate Candidate Guide
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT – Support Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare?
Cunningham – Yes. “Strengthen and extend coverage under the ACA.” Wants North Carolina to expand Medicaid.
Tillis – No. Voted to repeal ACA. Calls it “a failed health care plan.” Would protect pre-existing conditions, but with no lifetime cost cap.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?
Tillis – No position found.
CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat? Support government action?
Cunningham – Yes. “One of the most urgent issues facing us.” State has “seen the effects of climate change firsthand through the historic storms and flooding.” Supports efforts to move to 100% renewable energy by 2050, rejoin Paris Agreement and train workers for green jobs.
Tillis – Mixed. Previously doubted human role and supported Trump withdrawal from Paris climate agreement. Now sees climate change as solvable with “responsible market-driven solutions.” Supported Trump rule easing emission limits on coal-fired power plants.
COURTS—SUPREME COURT – Pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement now or let November winner choose? See CEEP Supreme Court guide.
Cunningham – Wait. “Sen. Tillis supported that very idea in 2016. He trusted and wanted to hear from the American people in 2016. He doesn’t today. Rather than act as a check and balance, Senator Tillis has written a blank check.”
Tillis – Confirm now. Obama “was on his way out the door… President Trump deserves to send forth a nominee and I intend to hear them in (the) Judiciary Committee and then move for passage on the floor.”
COVID-19 – Support administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic?
Cunningham – No. Administration “was caught flat-footed and continues to botch [its] response.” Needed more protective equipment.
COVID-19 Economic Response –Best economic response to coronavirus pandemic?
EDUCATION – Use public funding for private schools?
Cunningham – No. Supports phasing out school vouchers to pay for private-school tuition.
Tillis – Yes. Supports vouchers for students to attend private schools with government assistance.
ENVIRONMENT – Tighten or loosen environmental regulations?
FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?
Cunningham – Tighten. Early backer of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Address “tax loopholes … that benefit corporations and the wealthy.”
Tillis – Loosen. Voted in favor of rolling back Dodd-Frank banking regulations. Says the CFPB needs more “oversight from Congress.”
GUN LAWS – Enact more restrictive legislation on firearms?
Cunningham – Yes. Wants to “expand background checks, ban high-capacity magazines, pass red-flag laws and fund gun-violence research.”
Tillis – No. Supports promoting Second Amendment rights. Co-sponsored bill to allow concealed- handgun carry across state lines.
IMMIGRATION – Create path to citizenship for “DACA” residents brought as children to U.S?
Cunningham – Yes. Calls for “comprehensive immigration reform” that “protects DREAMers and provides a fair pathway to citizenship.”
Tillis – Yes, 15-year process paired with increased border security, limits on sponsoring relatives, and revocation of status for any violation.
IMMIGRATION – Support additional border walls.
Cunningham – Mixed. Against Trump diverting funds from military bases for border wall, but wants a mix of “physical barriers, technology and manpower.”
IMPEACHMENT – Support U.S. Senate calling witnesses and voting to convict President Trump? Judgment of Trump Presidency.
Cunningham – Yes. Was “appalled the Senate did not hear from witnesses or request documents.” Would “vote to convict” Trump. Considers him bad role model for the next generation.
IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without congressional approval?
Cunningham – Unclear. Sees killing of Iranian general as “high risk.” “Congress needs to reassert its role in conducting military operations.”
Tillis – No. Voted against a bipartisan Senate resolution requiring congressional authorization for military action in Iran.
LABOR – Support “right to work” laws, banning unions from mandating dues for workers they represent?
LEGAL ABORTION – Keep legal or ban?
Cunningham – Legal. Believes “a woman’s choice is a woman’s right [and] will always defend Roe v. Wade against partisan attacks.”
LGBT RIGHTS – Support same-sex marriage and extension of LGBTQ rights?
Cunningham – Yes. Wants to stand “with the LGBTQI community and communities of color in the fight against regressive policies.”
Tillis – Mostly no. In 2012 helped add same-sex- marriage ban to North Carolina constitution. Supported repeal of “bathroom bill.”
MARIJUANA – Decriminalize or legalize?
Cunningham – Yes. Supports “allowing states to develop own regulation and taxation of cannabis.”
Tillis – No. Opposes marijuana legalization, but backs study of effectiveness for medical use.
MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?
Cunningham – Yes. Supports “raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and eliminating the subminimum wage.”
Tillis – No recent position found. In 2014 opposed a federal minimum wage, calling it a “defeatist mentality” compared to focusing on jobs.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Support Planned Parenthood’s receiving public funds for providing health care?
Tillis – No. Joined court brief to allow states to prohibit Planned Parenthood receiving funds for non-abortion services.
STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Reduce cost of college for lower-income individuals? Forgive student debt?
Tillis – Unclear. Supported Trump rule making it harder for students to discharge their loans if defrauded by for-profit schools. Joined unanimous vote supporting Minority Serving Institutions. No student debt position found.
TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?
Cunningham – No. Overwhelmingly benefits “the largest corporations and the ultra-wealthy while leaving middle-class and poor … behind.”
Tillis – Yes. Called the tax cuts “historic tax reform that will lead to bigger paychecks for hard-working Americans.”
VOTING RIGHTS – Strict ID and other rules to combat possible fraud, even if limiting access?
Cunningham – No. Supports reinstating protections under the Voting Rights Act. Supports automatic and same-day registration and early voting.
Tillis – Yes. Under Speaker Tillis, the N.C. House passed a package of restrictive election rules, later overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.