On Tuesday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump’s pollster, John McLaughlin, has withdrawn from working on the GOP Senate campaign of Garland Tucker amid Republican outcry.
Tucker, an investment company executive, is planning to mount a self-funded campaign against Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), an ally of Trump and one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for re-election in 2020. McLaughlin had planned to conduct polling for Tucker, but Senate Republican campaign officials were outraged at his plan to assist someone seeking to primary one of their incumbents.
Tillis is, by most accounts, a loyal ally of the president, voting with his agenda nearly 95 percent of the time. But the senator attracted anger from Trump loyalists when he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post supporting a Democratic resolution blocking the president’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. While Tillis eventually flip-flopped and voted to protect Trump anyway, the resentment did not vanish, with the result that he drew Tucker as a primary challenger.
McLaughlin, who is advising Trump’s 2020 campaign, is a well-known pollster whose outfit, McLaughlin and Associates, works closely with Republican candidates, although FiveThirtyEight gives McLaughlin’s internal GOP polls a C- rating in terms of reliability.