#NCSEN 2014: GOP field about to become a threesome?

gopelephantIt is looking more and more like Charlotte pastor Mark Harris is about to join Cary physician Greg Brannon and state House Speaker Thom Tillis in the May 2014 GOP primary to pick an opponent for incumbent US Senator Kay Hagan (D).  The exploratory committee touting a potential Harris candidacy has hired a Tea Party-aligned campaign staffer with a proven reputation for grassroots organization.

If Harris does jump in, how does this play out? Some see him drawing votes away from the Tea Partier Brannon to the benefit of the establishment-backed Tillis.  Another view could be that a Harris campaign could hurt Tillis.  Harris and Tillis are from the same neck of the woods.  They’ve got the SAME home base.  Tillis has been working hard to win over religious conservatives — especially homeschoolers.

Brannon has a real shot at appealing to religious conservatives.  He is a practicing OB-GYN who has actively been working in the community to reduce abortions.  Pro-life state lawmakers have turned to him for guidance on crafting anti-abortion legislation.   He’s adopted children.  He’s led church-sponsored medical missions to Third World locales.

Preacher does not always equal “conservative.”   GOP primary voters need to think long and hard about that. Mike Huckabee was a Baptist preacher.  He was also a death penalty opponent and a big economic protectionist.  Huckabee has stepped out as a significant critic of Rush Limbaugh. 

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh has loaned out its resources to the Moral Monday rabble, and EqualityNC — the gay rights group.   Bill Barber is a preacher.  He’s had a lot of preachers out there with him getting zip-tied at the legislative building.

I regularly attended a Southern Baptist Church a few years ago.  The preacher there regularly sermonized in favor of gun control, and criticized people for spending their hard-earned money on themselves and their families  while there are still poor people.

Don’t be taken by the “Rev.” title.  Harris may be a tried and true conservative.  (For the record, he was a passionate advocate for the marriage amendment to the state constitution.)  But look past the prayers and the speaking skills.  Before jumping on the Harris bandwagon, find out where he stands on economics and the role of government in our lives — HUGE issues, considering our current mess.  

Reality doesn’t match DC’s take on Hagan.   I’ve seen spin from national media talking-heads Stu Rothenberg and Larry Sabato talking about how weak the GOP field is against Hagan, and how tough she will be to beat.  I don’t see it.

While in the state legislature, Hagan managed to win over conservative-leaning voters with her constituent service.  (I know a guy from Greensboro, who voted for — and donated to — Jesse Helms, and did the same for Kay Hagan in 2008 against Elizabeth Dole.  I asked him: WHY ????   His answer: “When I’ve needed something, she’s been there for me.” 

Five years later, ol’ Kay has had to pay the piper, AKA her puppet-master Chuck Schumer (D-NY), with some hard-left votes.  She has been an enthusiastic supporter of ObamaCare.  She’s cheerleaded for — and given votes to — a leftist environmental agenda.  She’s now spoken out passionately in favor of the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.  Hagan even campaigned against the 2012 NC Marriage Amendment — which voters approved by a 61 percent margin.

If I were running against Kay — I’d “thank” her for making health insurance more expensive and making it harder to see your doctor and get treatment you need.  I’d “thank” her for taking positions that denigrate the sanctity of marriage and US citizenship.  I’d also “thank” her for her extreme leftist environmental votes that jack up the cost of energy and increase utility bills.

Thanks to her Greensboro roots, she’s got some support there.  She’ll get votes from the usual suspects in the Triangle (especially Bill Barber’s zip-tied crew), and the Charlotte area.  But, just like John Edwards, she’s done nothing to endear herself to voters and make the case for six more years in DC.  People fought tooth and nail to send Jesse Helms back to DC over and over again for 30 years.  I don’t see many people — outside of the state’s lefty ghettos — ready to go to the mat for Kay.  

Kay Hagan got elected thanks to (1) coattails from Barack Obama and (2) a lack of coattails for Elizabeth Dole, thanks to a weak McCain campaign.  Obama will not be on the ballot in 2014.  He lost the state in 2012. State Democrats were sitting pretty in 2008.  Now, they are reeling.  Democrats owned state government in 2008.  The GOP now owns state government.   It will be a different world in November 2014. 

An opponent who can present a credible conservative message — and a true contrast to Hagan — will be the key to adding one more Senate seat from North Carolina to the GOP caucus in the US Senate.

7 thoughts on “#NCSEN 2014: GOP field about to become a threesome?

  1. Kay Hagan’s record is a target rich environment for an opponent. With a decent candidate we ought to be able to defeat her. Tillis, however, has clearly not got what it takes to win. He is a loser like Romney, and has a miserable record on issues himself. Brannon has been impressive, and I would not count out Jim Cain if he gets in.

    I agree that Mark Harris is a big question mark. The rumblings about Ripon Society adviser Robin Hayes promoting him raises a huge red flag. Social conservatives who are on trick ponies can be a huge problem with other issues. Skip Stam is a major example of that. If Harris is the full package, unlike Stam, and is hitting on all cylinders on conservative policy, he might be worth a look.

    You are spot on as to Huckabee being a good example of a social conservative who goes off the reservation on other issues far too much. In 2012, Huckabee seemed to endorse the establishment squish candidates consistently against the Tea Party and conservative candidates, leading the Red State website to label Huchabee a ”pro-life statist”. Earlier, the Reaganite Club for Growth described Huckabee as a ”Christian socialist”.

    If Harris is a Huckabee or Stam type, we do not need him.

  2. I don’t know much about the other candidates. But Tillis would be the worst choice. He is so about money it is not even veiled. My prediction is that if Tillis keeps on track he will be the next Jim Black or worse. Power makes one feel invincible or untouchable, but there is a tipping point where backlash and disgust reaches critical mass.
    Berger is at least not as arrogant. Brannon probably walks the walk more than the rest.
    Its going to be interesting.

    1. I’m biased because I’ve met and talked to Doctor Constitution and as far as I’m concerned, no further applicants need apply. And if Robin Hayes is in any way connected with Harris, I want nothing to do with him or his candidacy. Hayes has been absolutely toxic to the NC GOP….in the last three weeks, I’ve been appalled to find out that several respected Republican activists that I know have re-registered unaffiliated, principally because of people of Hayes’s ilk have meddled in Primaries and otherwise tried to “moderate” the Party. We’re in trouble, people. And our leadership doesn’t seem to either understand or care.

      1. I’m biased similarly in favor of Brannon for the same reasons. I also have grave concerns about any Hayes connection to a candidate. In my part of the state, Eastern Carolina, there has been strong revulsion by many of my associates in response to the arrogant dictatorial actions by the state party in matters that are local concerns including, but not confined to, primaries. Some of the people I know have left the party; others have stayed but are mad as hell because of the attitude of hostility by the establishment leadership towards conservative, libertarian and just plain grassroots elements of the party.

        Those of us who have endured local races with Tillis’ and Hayes’ fingerprints have seen this strategy of sliced up primary races before. Slice the pie up enough and Tillis might have a chance in the primary. If he is our candidate, even Chucky Schumer’s doll (Hagan) with her sorry record could win.

  3. Don’t write off Mark Harris. He is smart, well-spoken, and great one-on-one or speaking to a large group. His record is spotless and his integrity and character are unquestioned. He is solid on the issues as well. He’s probably the best candidate we could put up. It will be hard for the liberals to attack him. He is highly regarded in Charlotte and around the state.

    1. When you say ”the issues” do you mean just social issues, or other issues as well? The johnny one-note social issues guys like Stam or Huckabee are often a horror story on other types of issues. Some are sound on issues across the board. What we have to remember is that the issues that are going to win the next election, things like amnesty and Obamacare, are not social issues. Also, is he sharp enough not to fall for the media’s expected efforts to trip him up like they did Akin?

  4. From what I have heard about Harris, he is a great guy but I believe that it will take someone who is a true conservative, constitutional minded candidate that has been preparing for this for a long time. Hagan is not going to be an easy opponent to defeat. I believe that we need a candidate like Dr. Brannon to replace her. He can out debate her on every issue from Obamacare to the economy. That’s what it is going to take.

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