2020 North Carolina US Senate Voters Guide

Cal Cunningham (D) vs Thom Tillis (R)

US Senate | Election | Nov 10, 2020

The Candidates

Cal Cunningham

Cal Cunningham


Thom Tillis

Thom Tillis



The Issues

Affordable Care Act

Support Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare?

Campaign Finance

Require more disclosure about the sources of campaign financing?

Cal Cunningham (D)

Yes. Supports HR1 and wants to eliminate “dark money” donations from anonymous donors. Overturn Citizens United decision.No position found.

Thom Tillis (R)

No position found.

Climate Change

Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat? Support government action?

Cal Cunningham (D)

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.

Thom Tillis (R)

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.


Support administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic?

Support administration’s economic response to coronavirus pandemic?


Use public funding for private schools?

Cal Cunningham (D)

No. Supports phasing out school vouchers to pay for private-school tuition.

Thom Tillis (R)

Yes. Supports vouchers for students to attend private schools with government assistance.


Tighten or loosen environmental regulations?

Cal Cunningham (D)

Tighten. As a state senator, supported a Clean Smokestacks Act, requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon emissions.

Thom Tillis (R)

Loosen. Supports Trump EPA head Andrew Wheeler’s attempts to loosen regulations as needless red tape. Environmental groups have criticized Wheeler’s actions.


Create path to citizenship for “DACA” residents brought to U.S. as children?

Support additional border walls.

Cal Cunningham (D)

Mixed. Against Trump diverting funds from military bases for border wall, but wants a mix of “physical barriers, technology and manpower.”

Thom Tillis (R)

Yes. Called Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to extend the wall executive overreach. Later voted for it as giving president tools to “keep America safe.”


Support U.S. Senate calling witnesses and voting to convict President Trump? Judgment of Trump Presidency.


Oppose military attacks on Iran without congressional approval?

Cal Cunningham (D)

Unclear. Sees killing of Iranian general as “high risk.” “Congress needs to reassert its role in conducting military operations.”

Thom Tillis (R)

No. Voted against a bipartisan Senate resolution requiring congressional authorization for military action in Iran.


Support “right to work” laws, banning unions from mandating dues for workers they represent?

Cal Cunningham (D)

Mixed. Endorsed by major unions. Calls for a “living wage” and defending workplace protections. In 2014 endorsed state’s unique “right-to-work laws.”

Thom Tillis (R)

Yes. Co-sponsored National Right to Work Act. As state speaker of the House, vowed to keep North Carolina “the least unionized state in the United States.”

Legal Abortion

Keep legal or ban?

Thom Tillis (R)

Ban. Signed a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. “I will never stop fighting for the sanctity of life.”

LGBT Rights

Support same-sex marriage and extension of LGBTQ rights?


Decriminalize or legalize?

Thom Tillis (R)

No. Opposes marijuana legalization, but backs study of effectiveness for medical use.

Minimum Wage

Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

Thom Tillis (R)

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?

Police and Community

Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight?

Cal Cunningham (D)

Student Financial Aid

Reduce cost of college for lower-income individuals? Forgive student debt?

Cal Cunningham (D)

Mostly yes. Wants to lower the cost of college, let students refinance college loans, fix loan forgiveness and expand Pell Grants.  Unclear on forgiving student debt.

Thom Tillis (R)

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.


Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

Cal Cunningham (D)

No. Overwhelmingly benefits “the largest corporations and the ultra-wealthy while leaving middle-class and poor … behind.”

Voting Rights

Strict ID and other rules to combat possible fraud, even if limiting access?

Cal Cunningham (D)

No. Supports reinstating protections under the Voting Rights Act. Supports automatic and same-day registration and early voting.