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POLITICS: PennAve

Bob Dole to host fundraiser for North Carolina GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis

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Politics,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,North Carolina,Kay Hagan,Thom Tillis

Bob Dole, a former Republican presidential candidate and Senate majority leader, will host a fundraiser in Washington this month on behalf of Thom Tillis, the Republican candidate for Senate in North Carolina.

Dole, 90, has recently eased back into politics with campaign-like tours across Kansas, which he formerly served in the Senate, to reconnect with supporters and constituents. His fundraiser for Tillis, however, represents a significant and deliberate foray into the 2014 midterm elections, which Republicans hope will tilt the Senate majority in their favor.

It is less surprising that Dole would choose North Carolina as his first target of this election cycle. Dole's wife, Elizabeth, also a Republican, lost her Senate seat in 2008 to Sen. Kay Hagan, the Democratic incumbent Tillis aims to defeat.

Elizabeth Dole is not listed on the fundraiser invitation obtained by the Washington Examiner, which notes Bob Dole will host a lunch for Tillis on June 16 at the Washington law firm where he works as special counsel, Alston & Bird.

The minimum contribution to attend will be $500 per person and $1,000 per PAC, according to the invitation, distributed to party donors by Tillis' campaign.

Dole is hardly the first prominent Republican to step out in support of Tillis, who received backing from some big names in the Republican Party during his primary bid, which he won last month. Karl Rove attended multiple fundraisers in support of Tillis, as did Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, among others.

But Tillis nevertheless struggled to post commanding fundraising totals relative to his Republican opponents, and he relied heavily on boosts from outside groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Rove's Crossroads GPS, which ran television ads supporting him.

Now that Tillis has locked up his party's nomination, many more prominent Republicans likely will step up to vouch for their candidate and urge donor support in one of the most closely watched Senate races this year — beginning with Dole.

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Rebecca Berg

Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner