Democrat Trevor Fuller jumps into 2020 Senate race, hopes to challenge Tillis

Democrat Trevor Fuller, a former chair of the Mecklenburg county commissioners, announced his bid for the U.S. Senate seat Tuesday and criticized incumbent Republican Thom Tillis for standing with President Donald Trump.

“We have a U.S. senator who refuses to stand up for North Carolinians,” Fuller told about two dozen supporters, “and instead stands up for whatever the errant president wants to do.”

Fuller, 52, became the second Democrat to announce for the seat. Attorney Eva Lee of Raleigh announced in the summer of 2017.

With the primary in March 2020, candidates will have to file in December. Many are getting an early start as a result.

Fuller’s announcement came at the Gantt Center, named for Harvey Gantt, the former Charlotte mayor who in 1990 became the state’s first African-American Senate nominee of the 20th Century.

Fuller laid out a platform that includes universal early childhood education, “sensible” immigration reform, a higher minimum wage and improvements to the Affordable Care Act. Later he said a single-payer system is one option he’d consider. He also called climate change real and a national security issue.

“I didn’t know that a belief in science was an optional thing,” he said.

Tillis campaign spokesman Paul Shumaker said, “Commissioner Fuller is hoping to block other liberal Democrats from entering the contest by playing to his base in attacking Sen. Tillis. Something that is not unexpected at this point in time in the process.”

Fuller was re-elected to a fourth at-large term in November. A native of Buffalo, New York, he graduated from Georgetown Law School and practices law in Charlotte.

Jim Morrill, who grew up near Chicago, covers state and local politics. He’s worked at the Observer since 1981 and taught courses on North Carolina politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College.