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Published — May 28, 2013 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Super PAC to tout North Carolina House speaker

Republican Thom Tillis weighing run against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan


Flickr Creative Commons/jimmywayne

A new super PAC called “Grow NC Strong” has formed to promote North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican who is considering a U.S. Senate bid in what could rank among the nation’s more competitive races in 2014.

Grow NC Strong registered with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, new documents show.

The paperwork identifies Michael Luethy as the group’s executive director and Cindy Marrelli Watko as its treasurer.

Luethy is a political consultant who previously worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee and North Carolina Republican Party, according to his official online biography.

Marrelli Watko is a former business executive who worked for companies including Triology, Electrolux, Accenture and IBM. She is also a real estate broker, a board member of the Christian nonprofit Project Mercy, which combats poverty in Ethiopia, and an activist with the Republican Party focused on “expanding the role of women in government and leadership,” according to her LinkedIn profile.

Tillis, a former IBM executive, was first elected to the North Carolina legislature in 2006.

His top campaign contributors over the years include the North Carolina Association of Realtors, Duke Energy, Bank of America and AT&T, according to the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics.

Incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan is seeking re-election in 2014, and several Republicans other than Tillis, including Reps. Virginia Foxx and Renee Ellmers and North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, are reportedly considering getting into the race.

Hagan’s campaign had more than $2.7 million in the bank at the end of March, according to federal records.

Read more in Money and Democracy

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