#ncpol: A primary for Pat

brawHe was never a go-along get-along kind of guy. He frequently called out colleagues — Republican and Democrat — when he saw them doing what he perceived was unethical, wrong, or illegal.  He refused to play the game, and got run out office by establishment insiders.

Former legislator Robert Brawley of Iredell County — a veteran of two tours in the North Carolina House — is setting his sights a little higher in 2016:

Six weeks after announcing that he would try to win back his seat in the N.C. House of Representatives in 2016, Robert Brawley has decided to go after a much bigger prize.        

Driven by his opposition to the toll lanes plan for I-77, the longtime Mooresville insurance agent said he will become a candidate for governor today, filing the necessary paperwork to oppose incumbent Pat McCrory in the March 15 Republican primary.         

Why play the higher stakes political game?        

“As I looked at running for the House again, people kept bringing up issues that are statewide issues,” he told the Mooresville Tribune on Tuesday before heading to Raleigh to meet with a political consultant in preparation for putting his name on the GOP primary ballot with McCrory.        […]

Throughout the toll lanes controversy, Brawley grew in his criticism of McCrory and the state’s approval of the I-77 project, which Brawley believes is an illegal contract. “The other side of the toll roads issue is that there are a lot of things in Raleigh that are done in the back room,” Brawley said. “We need transparency in what we do in government.”       

The governor’s chair will be the third state office Brawley has sought.        

He served 19 years in the House, in two stints, and ran unsuccessfully for N.C. Insurance Commissioner in 2004. In 2012, Brawley was again elected to the House from the Iredell County-based 95th district. In May 2013, he resigned as chairman of the House Finance Committee in a dispute with House Speaker Thom Tillis, then lost to John Fraley in the May 2014 Republican House primary. […]

laughIf Brawley’s name doesn’t ring a bell, here is an excellent refresher to help catch you up.     In Raleigh, Brawley made a name for himself in calling attention to various and sundry political shenanigans.  He was vindicated by a court ruling on his claim that legislation pushed by then-speaker Thom Tillis unfairly favored the family of a Tillis loyalist in the House.  He frequently questioned the ethics of and decisions by Thom Tillis while he simultaneously ran for Senate and served as House speaker.  Tillis and his team retaliated by forcing Brawley out of his chairmanship, kicking him out of the GOP caucus, and financing a primary opponent with a lot of out-of-district and out-of-state cash. 

When you look at name ID and finances, Brawley starts of as a clear underdog.  (He doesn’t have a bureaucracy under his control that he can use as leverage in shaking people down for big contributions.) 

But if Brawley can raise his name ID statewide and land some solid hits on McCrory about his straying from the party platform, he might be able to attract some surprisingly high levels of attention in the GOP primary.  Since his time as mayor of Charlotte, McCrory has had a rocky relationship with conservatives.  They’ve begrudingly lined up behind him when the choice is Pat or some Democrat.  It will be interesting to see how conservatives will react when the choice is McCrory OR a conservative with state government service under his belt.

23 thoughts on “#ncpol: A primary for Pat

  1. All I can hope is that the most conservative candidate wins because that is what every Republican in this state should want

  2. I got to know Robert Brawley through the toll battle and have been impressed with his willingness to do what’s in the best interest of the public and not special interests. He has many loyal fans because he is highly principled and sees himself as a public servant. He is basically the antithesis of McCrory.

  3. I like Robert Brawley. He is a great conservative, and would make either a great legislator again or a great governor. I will vote for him in the primary. However, I wish he had run for the legislature again because he would likely win that, especially after his TIllis-recruited successor has compiled such a liberal voting record. He is getting in way too late on the governor’s race to have a realistic chance there and I hate to see a good guy like Brawley go to waste. With the liberal antics of Tim Moore, we also need Brawley back in the legislature as much as we need him as governor.

  4. Looks like 7th District Chair and Central Committee member Helen Pannullo missed the memo on not endorsing during a primary, after Rep. Brawley announced today she posted these gems on her Facebook:

    “Helen Pannullo
    19 mins ·

    Did you know that since Governor Pat McCrory took office in 2013, there has been a net increase of almost a quarter of a million jobs in North Carolina. We continue to be recognized nationally as a leader in innovation, entrepreneurship and technology and our highly educated workforce is second to none.”

    “Helen Pannullo
    44 mins ·

    Did You Know that NC is now ranked #2 on the Forbes Best States for Business and Careers list in 2015 – and this happened because of under Governor Pat McCrory’s leadership, North Carolina’s economy is rebounding and growing stronger.”

    “Helen Pannullo: If you like this and similar comments, please share….”

    1. Helen Panullo is #QueenRHINO – she was just named 7th District chair and that speaks volumes about the state of the GOP in SE NC. Helen is an elitist and a full fledged member of the “If there’s an R after their name she supports them caucus”, no matter what!

        1. Yes, she was vice-chair of the district is my understanding. She literally posted about 4 or 5 pro-McCrory posts after Brawley announced today.

  5. Guess the GOPe in the 7th district is very nervous about this challenge to the squish McCrory. I am so excited we have a principled conservative challenger to the guv. Now I won’t have to hold my nose and vote.

  6. Awesome news about Robert Brawley.

    I can my imagine the NCGOP is very nervous, as they should be. I guess we should expect no less than 6 other challengers to file now?

    1. Probably. Meanwhile, and now that it’s out in the open that NCGOP and some Districts are blatantly violating Section VII, section G, it might be interesting to see how some county leaders react.

  7. Not overly familiar with the man, but would expect this site (which I like) to point out his passed support of Jim Black over Brubaker for Speaker years back. His platform focus of Education seems suspect. What’s his deal?

    1. I recall that Brawley lost his reelection primary bid back in 2014. Not sure why his home district did not vote for him. Always make you wonder when the home folk don’t support you.

      1. A smear campaign orchestrated by the despicable liberal Republican consultant Dee Stewart and aided by a vindictive liberal Speaker Thom Tillis are the reasons that he very narrowly lost. A lot of money was thrown at him.

  8. A good man. He will be a great Governor! As a once loyal supporter of Pat MCCrory, I can not accept the following: treatment of teachers, loss of the film industry and the insanity of toll lanes on I-77. I will support Robert Brawley!

    1. That explains it. Those smear campaigns can be devastating for an incumbent. And if you cannot raise money to protect your record you are pretty much toast. He must hope that that does not happen when he takes on Governor McCrory. Of course I imagine a sitting Governor can raise money fairly easily but a smear campaign might move him from the Governor’s mansion.

      You just never know with politics.

    2. So then Brawley will be running to the LEFT of McCrory to gain your vote? I’m confused….thought the Ad was for a Tea Party guy.

  9. Robert Brawley would be a breath of fresh air for all North Carolinians. I heartily endorse him for Governor.

  10. Most importantly Robert Brawley must gain a pledge for all NC Republicans that he will have their support when he defeats McCrory in the primary. All too often the losers fail to support the Party candidate and that can spell disaster.

    Robert Brawley can defeat Roy Cooper if he stands strong on the pledge.

  11. Reducing the sentences of child molesters may not be the best conservative approach to cutting the cost of prisons. It will be interesting to see how he explains this during the campaign. Didn’t his friend got something like life plus 260 years. Hard to believe but what would the sentence be when reduced?

    It will be important for Robert’s campaign to get the victims and their families on board with the sentence reduction.

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