2014: The year of the GOP establishment stalking horses?






Well, it appears Walter Jones is picking up another primary opponent:

Taylor Griffin, a former aide to President George W. Bush who went on to co-found Hamilton Place Strategies, has moved back home to eastern North Carolina and on Thursday will announce a challenge to a fellow Republican, Rep. Walter Jones. Jones, a former Democrat who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, made headlines by voting for the Iraq war and then becoming one of its most vocal GOP opponents. Jones once told a conference of Ron Paul supporters: “Lyndon Johnson’s probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War, and he probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney.”

Griffin, 38, said in a phone interview that he plans to run as a “real conservative:” “California should have the most liberal Republican [House member], not eastern North Carolina. … When a few people started talking to me about this race, I said, ‘Well, I’ll go and talk to some people and see what I think about it.’ I started spending time here with grass-roots activists and civic leaders and fishermen and asking them about it, and they all told me that they’d like me to run.” His slogan: “Conservative Principles Mean Conservative Results.”

Hmm. Mr. “Real Conservative” set up a lobbying and PR shop in DC with a partner who, until recently, was one of Barry Obama’s press flacks.  if you look at the staff profiles, the firm is loaded with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama alumni.  There are a few token Republicans, who worked for “conservative giants” like Olympia Snowe, Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

The roster for Griffin’s campaign team looks like a Who’s Who of GOP establishment types in Raleigh and DC.  His campaign lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, is famous for authoring those notorious rules changes at the 2012 Republican National Convention. 

I’ve had some disagreements with Jones in the past, but lately he’s had me smiling with his stances on the debt ceiling, federal spending and ObamaCare. He regularly puts his thumb in the eye of the House leadership. That earned him removal from some key committees, and likely had something to do with this particular primary challenge.

The mainstream media is trying to cast Mark Harris’s entry into the GOP’s US Senate primary as an inside-outside fight between  Harris and state House speaker Thom Tillis.  Tillis’s campaign is loaded up with establishment figures from Raleigh and Charlotte. But it is a stretch to call Harris an outsider candidate.  His consultant is nationally-renowned Tom Perdue of Georgia, and former congressman and NCGOP chairman Robin Hayes is his chairman.  His staff is loaded with former NCGOP employees.  These rosters read like an intra-squad scrimmage between the members of the GOP establishment.

Conventional wisdom is out there that Harris was pulled into the race to  slice conservative support from Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon — who is fundraising and polling well against establishment favorite Tillis.  It came out today that Robin Hayes personally flew Harris around the state Wednesday in his (Hayes’) personal aircraft for a barnstorming campaign roll-out. Harris is closely tied to former Charlotte mayor and current governor Pat McCrory.  McCrory was the featured speaker at Harris’ installation at Charlotte’s First Baptist Church.

The timing of Harris’ formal announcement is also curious. It comes just after the third quarter campaign reports were due.  The next reporting deadline is not until the end of the year.  If Harris had announced a little earlier, he would have had to release details on his campaign finances.  I am betting that those reports would have shown his campaign is mostly financed by Hayes, the Hayes family, and other Hayes-connected sources. 

You can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.  Taylor Griffin is surrounding himself with heavy-hitters from the DC and Raleigh political establishment.  Greg Brannon is associating himself with people like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. Mark Harris and Thom Tillis are surrounding themselves with people who have a record of trying to stomp out the Tea Party in North Carolina.



9 thoughts on “2014: The year of the GOP establishment stalking horses?

  1. I heard Taylor Griffin on the radio today, and he sounded too slick to be true. He’s certainly got his talking point down straight, and he SAYS he’s a real conservative. Is that a REAL conservative like Richard Burr? Or a REAL conservative like John McCain or George Bush?

    Walter might not be perfect, and he’s sure been up there too long, but I think I will watch Mr. Griffin with my eyes, not my ears, and be very, very slow to jump on that bandwagon, and keep all my options open.

    1. Remember that Karl Rove is running his candidates as ”conservatives” these days – and they are counterfeit conservatives.

  2. This dude seems like nothing but a beltway bozo and a lap puppy for Boehner and the GOP leadership which has been screwing conservatives.
    We need a North Carolinian representing us, not someone coming down from the DC establishment. Walter does not always vote the way I would like, but he is still a budget hawk and an immigration hawk. I trust him more than I would this Boehner brownnoser.

  3. If you haven’t heard Greg Brannon speak you are missing a real treat. Greg is the only man I know who has memorized the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and knows what every word means. Try to attend one of his events and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  4. I don’t know anything about Taylor Griffin, but it sure wouldn’t take much to be more conservative than “Little Walter” Jones.

    As for the Senate race, Brannon is probably the least conservative of the three candidates. He’s a respected Obstetrician, but he’s also a “nutraceutical” and “bioidentical hormone replacement” snake oil peddler, who’s backed by the Ron Paul / libertarian RINO crowd.

    Brannon says, “Most disease come from a lack of education on proper nutrition, exercise, supplements, and bioidentical hormone replacement. Medi Weightloss Clinics® and Dr. Brannon offer the education and treatment you need to become the ‘New You’.”
    Ref: http://pages.citebite.com/q9q8n1d7bkis

    IMO, Republicans we run a guy who promotes that kind of snake oil (and bad grammar), Hagan will crush him like a bug.

    I must admit, Brannon gave a great speech at the State GOP Convention. But he didn’t mention any of the things that Ron Paul is nuttiest about. So I asked him about two of them.

    The good news: unlike Ron Paul, Dr. Brannon supports a strong military, and does not want to withdraw our peacekeeping troops overseas “from everywhere in the world.”

    The bad news: Dr. Brannon would not tell me whether he would support or oppose PEPFAR.

    PEPFAR is easily the most successful foreign aid program since the Marshall Plan, and arguably the most successful in human history. It’s saved millions of lives, a disproportionate number of them children.

    Begun by Jesse Helms, promoted by Bono, and expanded and championed by George W. Bush, PEPFAR is the poster child for conservative foreign aid that works: it saves millions of lives at a very modest cost per life, while dramatically boosting American prestige overseas.

    But Ron Paul opposes it, and Greg Brannon won’t say.

    1. Dave, I’m sorry you didn’t have a proofreader to tell you that “Ron Paul / libertarian RINO crowd” is a complete contradiction in terms. It is the libertarian wing of the Republican party that carries in the tradition of Goldwater & Reagan for a less-intrusive federal government, free markets, and individual liberties. It is the RINOs that love to call themselves conservatives but go around championing all sorts of “public private partnerships” and spend public money like Democrats.

    2. It doesn’t take much to be to the right of Thom ”Toll Road” Tilis, the guy who watered down the Voter ID law, promotes drivers licenses for illegal aliens, and supports the green energy boondoggle to make consumers pay more for utilities. Tilis is just Hagan without the skirt. There’s not a dimes worth of difference. And remember, Tillis got into politics as creature of the corrupt and liberal Richard Morgan / Jim Black clique.

    3. Foreign Aid… taking from poor people in this country to give to rich people in other countries. If PEPFAR is this miracle exception, then you shouldn’t find any problems privately funding it, instead of stealing it from taxpayers.

      And as a soldier myself who has spent way too much time in the Pan-Arabian peninsula fighting wars that no one really knew what were about… Greg Brannon doesn’t go far enough on that issue. We need to bring all of our troops home and guard our own borders. Not support the economies of 150 some odd countries instead of our own.

      I support Greg Brannon because he supports the Constitution would should be the only measure that anyone who claims to be “conservative” should care about.

  5. In other words, the Haymaker’s token establishment cheerleader who thinks Richard Burr was absolutely right on ObamaCare dislikes Greg Brannon because he won’t commit upfront to continuing to provide $15 billion in foreign aid to Africa so they can get free AIDS treatment, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

    That’s some good old-fashioned down-home conservatism, all right.

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