NEW YORK – The hottest political race in the country may be in North Carolina. The battle between incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and State House Speaker Thom Tillis may determine whether the Republicans add control of the Senate to their majority in the House of Representatives, and Greek-Americans are in the mix.
On September 15 Peter J. Pappas, Sr. businessman and community leader, hosted a luncheon in honor of Tillis at Bobby Van’s steakhouse in midtown Manhattan attended by Fr. Alex Karloutsos and other community leaders.
Former New York Governor George Pataki was also present, as was his former Community Affairs Assistant, Anthoula Katsimatides, a member of the Board of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.
Pataki thanked Tillis “for running in a critical race. We can’t get rid of Obama but we can get rid of Harry Reid,” the Democrat Senate Majority Leader, “and you are the key,” he declared.
The latest polls show a dead heat at about 44 percent, and that is coming off a period when Hagan ran many more TV ads than Tillis did. The latter is now revving up his ads and is very confident
More Greek-Americans are directly and indirectly involved. ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will the moderator of the next debate – an indicator of its national importance.
Reince Priebus, the Greek-American Chairman of the Republican National Committee, is pumping $2 million into what is a very expensive high takes campaign.
During the lively discussion Tillis said his message is that “We are not the great country I know we can be and,” and said Washington must “get backs to fundamentals,” including cutting taxes and regulations, which he helped his party implement in NC.
Tillis is proud that his record as speaker includes getting 1/3 of the democratic caucus to join Republicans in overriding the vetoes of former governor Beverly Perdue.
He hopes a Republican Senate will facilitate the election of a GOP successor to Obama, whose foreign policy he describes as an absolute failure.
Republicans also hope to gain control of the Senate to blunt President Obama’s ability to fill Supreme Court vacancies.
Tillis’ family is Roman Catholic, which makes him very familiar with the Orthodox faith. One his most moving experiences was a scheduled 15-minute audience with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew that turned in an hour and 15 minute discussion.
He entered politics later in life – his first post was PTA president of his daughter’s high school, and was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers . He became a partner at IBM when it acquired the former.
Guests noted that such events, with people supporting the parties and candidates of their choice, reflect the community’s growing political sophistication.