#NCSEN: Tillis’s problems are Greg Brannon’s fault? *RIIIIIIIIIIGHT.*

gregbrannonThom Tillis is not so hot a commodity with Tea Party types in the Tar Heel State. One NCGOP establishment blogger is laying the blame NOT on the speaker’s campaign, but on former GOP primary candidate Greg Brannon:

After Thom Tillis won the Republican primary in North Carolina’s race for the United States Senate, a couple of noteworthy things happened. Most heartening was that all of his primary opponents immediately offered him their endorsement and encouraged their supporters to do the same. This culminated in a group appearance at the North Carolina Republican Convention in Cherokee. Each of them offered their genuine and heartfelt word of support for Tillis. They appeared on stage together united in one purpose: to defeat Kay Hagan. I’ve attended some Republican events where some of those competing against Tillis in the primary have offered effusive praise for his candidacy and implored the audience to join them in working for a Republican victory. I applaud them for this. It must be hard to see your hopes dashed, but it speaks volumes about their character and vision for making America better for them to support their former opponent.

Missing from all this: Greg Brannon.

After election day, he has been the sole Republican candidate to take his ball and go home. If he truly thinks that Tillis is the wrong choice, he should consider whether Hagan is a worse choice. Then he should consider whether his actions will lead to Hagan winning. If he were to do this honestly, he would have to admit that his pique and righteous indignation will lead to a US Senate that is more distanced from his highly held principals than if Tillis were to win. In other words, Brannon is essentially working for Hagan.[…]

Really?  And all this time I thought he was working for his Cary OB-GYN practice.Brannon_Family-300x210

Brannon — as far as I can tell — has been hands-off about this race since the primary ended.  He has his own Brady Bunch at home, and a thriving business to operate. I’m sure political campaigning now takes a distant third place in his life.  

I am not aware of Brannon either trashing Tillis or praising Hagan.  During the primary, Brannon was — at one point — running very competitively at the head of the pack with Tillis.  Then Karl Rove’s money started pouring in, a Baptist preacher from Charlotte conveniently jumped in the race, and the Tillis machine ramped up a slander offensive against Brannon.  They did the best they could to paint him as an extremist kook.  Legislators and operatives close to Tillis worked feverishly to leak details of a business dispute involving Brannon to the media.  After the election was over, Tillis operatives contacted Brannon and told him that — if he knew what was good for him — he’d show up for an endorsement photo op with Tillis at the state convention.  Brannon politely declined — noting that obligations to some of his very pregnant patients were precluding him from traveling to Cherokee that weekend. 

This establishment blogger, Thomas Goffe, took things a little further:

Brannon supporters will see it differently. In their estimation, Brannon is the only man in North Carolina who is sticking to his principals regardless of the consequences. They admire him for following in the uncompromising tradition of the founding fathers. His unwillingness to see the larger picture or to be strategically pragmatic is a virtue and not a vice. Sadly, it is a quixotic quest that will inevitably relegate him to increasing irrelevance, and along the way will contribute to the election of a woman more diametrically opposed to his ideal of America than her challenger.

Brannon has two choices: either support Tillis as the best choice to implement Brannon’s vision of a return to the constitutional conservatism he champions, or he can sit down and shut up. […]

Sit down and shut up?  You first, pal. thom sigh

Brannon does have a respectable cult following out there.  But I think, if you look honestly back at the primary, Brannon’s support came mostly from people who encountered him for the first time on the campaign trail and came away impressed with his fight, his passion and his heartfelt principles.  They hadn’t seen a North Carolina Republican candidate like this since Jesse Helms ended his 30-year tenure in DC in 2002.  Brannon was quite an attractive choice when compared with Tillis – whose political radar appears to be guided by whomever puts the last check in his hand.

It wasn’t a cult of personality pushing Greg Brannon.  Brannon, for many people, was a vehicle for striking back at business as usual in our government.   (A good chunk of Brannon’s primary support now appears to be seriously eyeing the write-in campaign of former state legislator John Rhodes.) 

Tillis’s problems come from the fact that he and his team have done a lousy job of selling him to the voters.  From his, um, flexible beliefs to his and his supporters’ snide and condescending attitude toward conservatives, Tillis is making a rather uncomfortable bed for himself.

Many seasoned political observers at the national level aren’t sold on Tillis.  Byron York wrote about how our Senate race has two of the blandest, least impressive major-party candidates in the country.  The Senate Conservatives Fund — a PAC founded by former SC senator Jim DeMint credited with aiding the elections of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee — has taken a pass on the Tillis campaign.  National media has described the GOP effort to unseat Kay Hagan as ‘problematic.’  A number of election forecasting models have been released showing that the GOP can still take a majority in the Senate even if Hagan is reelected.   Hagan’s odds of reelection have been pegged at anywhere from 50-50 to 98 percent.  Many national political media are no longer lumping Hagan in with the ”most vulnerable” Senate Democrats. (She’s also blowing Tillis away in the fundraising department.) 

This whole theme pushed by Goffe and other establishment types about shutting up and taking a full dose of Thom Tillis is more comparable to old-school Tammany Hall tactics or Third World banana republics than what our Founding Fathers envisioned.

Times have changed.  It’s about more than the (R).  If the GOP establishment insists on continuing to shove hand-picked, ideologically and morally flexible nominees down our throats, we’re not going to swallow anymore.


32 thoughts on “#NCSEN: Tillis’s problems are Greg Brannon’s fault? *RIIIIIIIIIIGHT.*

    1. Let’s also remember that more than 54% of the folks in NC voted for someone else they perceived to be more Conservative than Tillis. He’s a loser and the folks know it. Tillis’ credentials as a sell out and RINO are long. Thank the GOP for continuing to undermine elections, not just here in NC, but throughout the nation. Blame the GOP for Tillis – not honest citizens who truly want an honest broker in DC who will uphold Constitutional principles and have the integrity to resist DC special interest corruption and intestinal fortitude to do so. Tillis ain’t your guy! Hagan or Tillis – WE all lose.. So, why should anyone betray their principles and values for Karl Rove’s out of state money and the GOP business as usual machinery!

  1. Riiiiight… Tillis and the NCGOP are just full of nutty conspiracy theory excuses these days. Next up? They’re going to tell us that the Libertarians, who can barely raise enough money to have their convention in the 7-11 parking lot, STOLE votes from Tillis.

    They lost the Conservative vote because they’re Progressive Republicans who gain power through crony capitalism.

  2. Most of those who supported Brannon did so not because they were star struck by him personally, but because he best embraced the issues they cared about. They are issue oriented conservative voters. A personal endorsement from a candidate would be virtually meaningless in their thought process. The key is how the other candidates stands on the important issues.

    Tillis is his own problem, due to his past stands on issues, current stands on issues, and failure to take stands on issues. What Tillis needs to do to try to attract conservative voters is to forcefully come out with credible conservative stands on key issues. His past record is going to be a lead anchor, but he should at least try. A good example of Tillis being his own problem is his statement on the Tom and Sadie show on WTIB right after the election that he did not intend to do anything to mend fences with conservatives.

    Let me give an example of an issue where Tillis is completely missing the boat. A recent poll shows that the top issue that Republican voters are concerned about is this election is taking real action to stop illegal immigration. Tillis has said he is for a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, which is directly opposite of what conservative voters want and and done some other things along those lines. He has been silent on the current invasion of illegals from Central America. Tillis could have some credibility right now is saying that this had led him to take a harder line on illegal immigration. He could use the current legislation session to try to insert some language in some legislation to, for instance, try to shut off Obama dumping these illegals on to NC’s Medicaid system. He could call for federal legislation to, for example, authorize states to enforce federal immigration laws. He could call for securing the border before any further discussion is had on any immigration changes. He could denounce Obama’s lawlessness on immigration going back to the Dreamers executive order. He could call on the US Chamber of Commerce to reverse their position on illegal immigration.

    It is things like that which might get Tillis conservative votes, not endorsements from any individuals. If he and his advisors are too stupid to do that, then that is his problem, not anyone else’s.

    1. Well said ant after the primary is long over , Brannon is still being attacked! True constitutionalists seem to be a threat!

    2. Tillis also supported drivers licenses for illegal aliens.

      The Progressives are pleased with the two candidates they have on the ballot.

    3. Breitbart News has been caught 3 times promoting pro-amnesty candidates.

      Tilis this week; Taylor Griffin who ran against Walter Jones and Matt McSalmon from Arizona. They all have very squishy immigration positions.

      That was another issue. The establishment spent money against the best in NC, Walter Jones while they supported Tillis and Griffin.

      1. You mention Taylor Griffin, the Washington, DC lobbyist and PR man, whom the establishment parachuted in to challenge conservative Walter Jones in the primary and spent $1.4 million trying to unseat Walter. Griffin had never before even lived in the district. Griffin ties in to some of the other establishment shananigans this year.

        Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan identified sleazy Mississippi lobbyist Haley Barbour as being one of the kingpins behind the Taylor Griffin scheme. Haley Barbour (along with his nephew Henry) was also one of the kingpins behind the race-baiting, lying, smearing, vote stealing, and vote buying against conservative Chris McDaniel in the Mississippi Senate primary.

        Here is a rundown from a major British newspaper of what the establishment did in Mississippi:


        Haley Barbour is one of the most despicable scumbags in GOP politics today, and one of the most maliciously anti-conservative. The fact that he was involved with the Taylor Griffin campaign is very telling. We do NOT want his kind in North Carolina.

        Oh, and one of Haley Barbour;s lobbying clients has been the Government of Mexico, which tells a lot about why both Haley and Henry Barbour are pushing amnesty for illegal aliens so hard. And it might also explain Taylor Griffin trying to say he was against amnesty on the campaign trail but being exposed on the Laura Ingraham radio show as being a stealth amnesty supporter.

  3. It strikes me as ironic that my discussion of how Dr. Brannon could advance his principles in the context of the US Senate election could be so misconstrued. It wasn’t about Speaker Tillis at all, his problems (real or perceived) or any other agenda. Rather, it was to contrast Dr. Brannon’s beliefs (as I understand them) with how he can best advance his stated agenda in the race he participated in.

    It wasn’t a hit piece on Dr. Brannon, either. There is much to respect about the man, most notably his decision to enter the fray. For that I am thankful. What I would like to see is him join the effort to unseat Hagan (best case) or at least be mindful to not contribute to her election – either by accident or design.

    1. A pro-forma endorsement of a nominee whose issue positions run from progressive to wishy-washy does not advance the cause in the slightest. Now if you were to suggest that Brannon sit down with Tillis and do some praying together about issues, and after that Tillis took some genuine conservative positions for a change which then let Brannon give him his blessing, that might accomplish something.

      This is ALL about issues, NOT about personalities, and the establishment is delusional if they think otherwise. Oh, and the lesser of the evils / party unity mantra was blown to kingdom come by what the establishment did in Mississippi.

    2. It is Mr. Tillis’ job to give conservatives something to vote for other than “I am not Kay.” He needs to loose his arrogant and entitled attitude. He is only to look in the mirror for someone to blame; Dr. Brannon has moved on. I would suggest that Mr. Tillis try another approach as this is clearly not working!

  4. The saddest, and funniest, thing about what Thomas Goffe has blogged is his notion that a photo op with Dr. Brannon in the mountains of North Carolina would sway my perspective on Tillis.

    Laughable and tragic. But I guess one writes or blogs to one’s audience.

    1. The fact that some still think Harris was put in to divide the vote is ridiculous. Harris didn’t take votes away from Brannon, he took them away from Tillis.

      I was a Brannon supporter and disappointed that he lost, however I do not think Tillis is the devil. I saw the huge changes in NC over the last 4 years and appreciate them. Many seem to forget how blue NC was. I get that Brannon doesn’t want to go out and campaign for TT but the classy thing to do would have been to appear at the GOP convention. Sometimes it IS the bigger picture….

      1. In the 1972 Senate primary, I was a Bill Booe supporter, but in the course of the primary, I saw that another candidate, named Jesse Helms, also shared Booe’s strong conservative positions on issues. When Helms won, it was very easy to switch over and start helping him, and I actually took a lower level leadership role in Helms fall campaign. The reason for that is that it is issues, not personalities that are important.

        Fast forward to this campaign. In our primary, we really did not have a top drawer candidate in the lot. but Brannon seemed to be best on the issues. I hoped someone else would get in and actually stayed undecided until it was clearly too late for a new entry. In the course of the primary, I learned more about the other candidates, and felt I could actively support most of them if they were the nominee, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. One exception was the guy who never came to anything. The other big exception was Tillis who still came through as ranging from progressive to wishy-washy on the important issues, and also being highly evasive with the voters. Now I can only hope that TIllis either sees the light or feels the heat and has a conversion on the road to Damascus on the issues. I will not make up my mind until election day, but the TIllis I see now would be very, very difficult to vote for. Of course, Hagan is impossible to vote for, as is Haugh.

      2. NM Kay~ I now for a fact Brannon could not leave the immediate area. Would’ve liked to have seen some one there in his stead, but that time has come and gone. Besides, haven’t seen any effort from the Tillis camp to get Brannon, or Harris, votes since the primary. From things his staff has said, they don’t see any other place for those votes to go.

    2. You really think a preacher would participate in something like that?

      If Brannon was such a strong candidate I doubt a preacher could do him much harm. The voters would certainly see through that.

  5. I think I read somewhere that the Democratic Senate Committee bought $9.1 million worth of ad time to promote Kay over Thom.

    I imagine that will do considerably more damage than anything Brannon could or could not do.

    The Democrats are a much greater threat to Tillis than the breakaway Republicans.

      1. From Kelly Clarkson:

        I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
        I’ll do what it takes til’ I touch the sky
        And I’ll make a wish
        Take a chance
        Make a change
        And breakaway

        Out of the darkness and into the sun
        But I won’t forget all the ones that I love
        I’ll take a risk
        Take a chance
        Make a change
        And breakaway

        Wanna feel the warm breeze
        Sleep under a palm tree
        Feel the rush of the ocean
        Get onboard a fast train
        Travel on a jet plane, far away (I will)
        And breakaway


        Buildings with a hundred floors
        Swinging around revolving doors
        Maybe I don’t know where they’ll take me but
        Gotta keep moving on, moving on
        Fly away, breakaway

  6. Blaming the voters for a loss before it even happens.

    These guys are the kings of smart? The only ones that could win?

    1. When Tillis pursues things that don’t matter to voters but ignores the issues that do matter, then one wonders if he has brought in Romney’s idiot Etch-a-Sketch guy to advise his campaign.

  7. I think Ellmers, NRSC, Chamber of Commerce and Jennifer Rubin backing Tillis are more to blame.

    The Ellmers-Roche primary was probably a bigger deal in terms of legislation that Republican leaders were considering at the time.

    When Roche got 41% and the anti-Tillis crowd got 54% they decided they still have something to say. Rush Limbaugh also belittled the NRSC and Rove with their joke 46% performance.

    Ann Coulter who endorsed Thad Cochran, Mitch and John Cornyn refused to endorsed Tillis. She in fact called on Hagan to oppose amnesty.

    Ann Coulter endorsed Roche, Brannon and Dave Brat as her safe choices. Coulter usually defends establishment candidates provided they are better than the average Senator on amnesty; which Tillis is not.

    Tillis is as liberal as Lindsey Graham or Lamar Alexander. A real bottom of the barrel candidate.

    Cornyn might be more conservative than Tillis(or Cruz forced Cornyn to be).

  8. The program at yesterday’s Moore County Republican Men’s Club luncheon featured Candidate Thom Tillis and Senator Richard Burr speaking separately and also taking questions jointly. In front of the friendly audience both men earned high marks for candor and a clear vision of the need to install GOP leadership in the Senate.

    The objective should be clear and not muddled with hindsight. The removal of Harry Reid from the power of the gavel is a must. Reid, we heard yesterday, has allowed less amendments for fellow Dems than the GOP.

    1. After that weasel Richard ”Tricky Dick” Burr funded the race-baiting slander and vote manipulating in Mississippi against conservative Chris McDaniel, I would not support slimeball Burr for anything. Burr funded the most disgusting and despicable part of that.


      Burr has also been censured for liberal votes on key issues by three different Congressional District GOP organizations. Until a couple of years ago, Burr used to listen to his constituents, but for the last couple of years, he has ignored his constituents and listened instead to the K Street special interests.

      Burr campaigning with Tillis is just another turnoff for conservatives.

      Reid is indeed awful, but his prospective replacement, Mitch ”Kentucky Kickback” McConnell is not much better. And McConnell was the chief cheerleader in funding the Mississippi Mugging. McConnell told the NY Times that he intended to ”crush them everywhere” speaking of conservatives in his own party, not Democrats.

      If Tillis was before a friendly audience, I am sure they threw him softballs, not asking hard questions about aspects of his history on issues that he probably does not want to talk about.

  9. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and state that I supporting Mr. Tillis, though I was a Brannon support in the Primary. That said Mr. Brannon owes Mr. Tillis nothing, as the author of this article states Mr. Brannon isn’t slandering him, he’s just not ACTIVELY supporting the nominee. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s his choice.

    My reasoning for supporting Tillis are a few, but first and foremost is that (and this isn’t the greatest), but the more Republicans we have in the Senate, the more we are likely to be successful at opposing Obama in Congress. Even if a few RINOS are elected, at least they’re persuadable ~some~ of the time, as opposed to 0-10% for the Democrats. Let’s lick our wounds, then do whatever our consciences individually dictate this fall, then move on to the next fight. I HOPE Mr. Brannon runs again sometime soon!

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