House leadership HATESsssssssss Rep. Justin Burr. It’s easy to understand why. He’s a smug little guy who will not shut up when he’s told to do so. Burr used to be part of the club. But various and sundry infighting put him on the big time sh — manure list in the corner offices of the legislative building. So, now he’s pushed off to the side. A pariah. Untouchable.
THAT, many say, was a crucial misstep. Burr knows the process. He also knows where a lot of the bodies are buried on Jones Street. He can turn the good ol’ boys’ game against them in a heartbeat.
In March, a recently converted Democrat pol in Stanly County was put up against Burr in the Republican primary. The challenger was backed by gobs of dark money from god-knows-where. The opposition threw everything but the kitchen sink at Burr. But the incumbent narrowly squeaked out a victory.
Now, we’re getting a sense of where all of that money came from. Several Jones Street sources have confirmed for me that a certain heavy-hitting lobbyist for Big Pharma was strong-armed by speaker Tim Moore and his right hand man in the House, Rep. David Lewis, to raise a lot of side cash on the down-low. Said side cash was to be used to engineer a primary takedown of their archenemy Burr. In exchange for the fundraising, said lobbyist was to be rewarded with favors to be named at a later date.
Perhaps one of those favors got called in earlier this year when Lewis did all kinds of contortions to push through a mandate for insurance companies strongly favored by drug manufacturers. Quite a bit of hell was raised within the House Republican Caucus over the Lewis measure — viewed by many as clearly flying in the face of free market values cherished by conservatives. The bill was criticized as guaranteeing price increases for patients. Lewis eventually backed off his campaign to get the measure passed. (There’s always technical corrections. Remember the affiliated committees move last time?)
I am hearing NOW that it is not beyond the realm of possibilities that the Lewis-Moore anti-Burr efforts from the primary are restarted for the general election in Burr’s district. *What??? Republican leaders aiding and abetting the election of a Democrat over an incumbent Republican?*
It’s like one of my inside sources told me:
“Thom Tillis once said ‘Hey, we’ve got a super-majority. We can afford to lose a few seats. Some folks are just expendable.’ ”