US Senate 2014: Robin Hayes comes to Jesus

harrisWell.  It looks like all of our “speculation” and “drive-by reporting” is starting to pan out.  After our reporting came out, the AP confirmed that — as we said — (1) Harris is being advised by longtime Robin Hayes advisor Tom Perdue and that (2) a formal campaign announcement will be made on October 2.

Today, McClatchy confirms that Robin Hayes HIMSELF will be chairing the Harris For Senate campaign. McClatchy says Harris “hopes to build on a base of social conservatives like those who helped pass last year’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.”   Choosing Robin Hayes, a long-time member of The Ripon Society, to head up your campaign is an unusual strategy for accomplishing that goal.  

The Ripon Society is a group of Republicans  commonly referred to in the grassroots as “country club” or  “Rockefeller Republicans.”   This group of progressive Republicans was organized to fight back against conservative and religious right influence in the GOP.  It fought Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980.

Everybody remembers Hayes’s famous rant at the 2012 Republican National Convention aggressively reminding North Carolina delegates that a good Republican’s job is to back the party leadership no matter what.  As party chairman, Hayes was a good soldier for the establishment in stymieing Tea Party efforts.  Under Hayes, the state party staff got caught multiple times meddling in GOP primaries — aiding establishment moderates over Tea Party candidates.

Looking at the evidence, it’s pretty hard to paint Harris as some kind of grassroots crusader.  The pastor, himself, may have good intentions.  (Though, we are disturbed by reports that he is peddling innuendo questioning fellow candidate Greg Brannon’s  commitment to “family values.”)  Most experienced —  no dog in this fight — campaign hands studying the Harris campaign see it as not being configured for the purpose of winning.  I agree. It clearly looks like a vehicle for dividing-and-conquering the conservative, Tea Party-oriented vote.

(Does anyone REALLY believe that Robin Hayes — who set House speaker and US Senate candidate Thom Tillis up with a sweet speaking time slot at the most recent state GOP convention — is actively opposing Tillis? )

The jury is still  out on what state Senator Phil Berger will do.  Many think he will jump in the race — further muddying the picture.  It’s clear that he will sap some support from establishment favorite Tillis. (A lot of the folks I talk to in Raleigh really don’t think Berger will jump into the US Senate primary.)

Heather Grant can’t win.  The Mark Harris campaign isn’t designed to win.  (It is spending more time attacking Greg Brannon than on building Harris’s name ID or taking down Hagan.) Of the four in the race now, Brannon is the most obvious choice for Tea Party-style conservatives who want to shake up Washington.


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17 thoughts on “US Senate 2014: Robin Hayes comes to Jesus

  1. The left will hate Rev. Harris for being a religious man while at the same time they will deify Rev. Barber for being a religious man. LOL

  2. The campaigns have not even started. Perhaps Harris is a good candidate or maybe not. Could we stop “shooting first” and instead give him a chance? I will hold off on any guilt by association until I know more.

  3. After experiencing a good taste of eastern nc politics under the Hayes regime, the earmarks of phony candidates to divide the vote is all too familiar. When elements of our Party apparatus decide to take the phantom candidate route, it is one thing to offer stacks of high society for a campaign to split the vote to elect a Republican over Democrats, but these guys do not hesitate to do it to their own. Whether or not that has happened yet again in our party’s politics may be in doubt to some, but as for me, I believe it with my all of my jaded heart.

    Hayes may not know when to quit, but neither do I. Some have said that perhaps I should just count my blessings that at least this time Hayes isn’t violating rules of the Party or State Statute as he did when casting votes of convention delegates against their wishes for Mitt Romney in Tampa. Well, I don’t give gold stars for doing what you are supposed to do, but I do tenaciously pursue transparency and principle in politics. Call me a dreamer with a bad attitude.

    With Warm Regards and In Liberty,
    Todd Bennett
    Farmville, NC

    1. Many of us dream of and work for a party of principle and transparency. We become jaded because we have encountered so many people in politics with other motives. But, I’m stubborn too.

  4. I am a Christian, Constitutional Conservative — a C3 fighting P3s (public private partnerships). As a Christian, I do not like that a friend of Tillis’s (Robin Hayes) is using a popular pastor to give Tillis an advantage. Robin Hayes and Tillis clearly are allies, as was demonstrated at the NCGOP Exec. Committee meeting in Charlotte this June. Hayes and Tillis most likely have not parted ways, but are taking advantage of a church pastor to stop a true conservative and one who could actually defeat Kay Hagan — Greg Brannon. If you are as disgusted as I am by these folks taking advantage of us and trying to manipulate elections, show your disapproval by giving to Greg Brannon’s campaign and donating to Mark Harris’s church. That way they both win!

    1. I couldn’t agree more! Tillis is a Rockefeller Republican trotted out of the stable in an attempt to maintain the lock on NC. We need small government liberty minded individuals like Greg Brannon who understand the inverse relationship between the growth of government and the death of individual liberty.

  5. It’s a shame you don’t see that Mark Harris is a serious candidate. You haven’t even given him a chance. Robin Hayes is a sincere Christian, and his support for Mark Harris is a good indicator that Mark is a serious candidate. FACT: Greg Brannon did not support the Marriage Amendment. When asked to give or to volunteer, he would not. Brannon’s libertarian views compel him to believe that marriage should be whatever anybody wants it to be. How can we elect a candidate who wouldn’t support the Marriage Amendment?

    1. I can easily support someone who refuses to enact social legislation simply to give the state even more control of our individual lives. Marriage is a church matter and should be left to them. While I do not agree or support gay marriage nor homosexuality, neither do I support expanding government even more into our daily lives. Brannon’s small government philosophies certainly overshadow support or non support for an issues that expends much time and likely will be stuck down by the liberal courts. Pyrrhic victories on a single issue do not correct the leftist courts, the big government politicians, or the relative ignorance of the masses. Supporting a candidate because he objects to homosexuality but has little other philosophical base or understanding of individual liberty and small government puts us into the same situation as with representatives like Renee Ellmers, David Funderburk, and others who campaigned on single issues and failed in providing any checks in the expansion of an already bloated federal system. Hayes may be a good Christian but he certainly betrayed us when he was in office when he changed his vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement after promising his constituents, earlier that day, that he would not vote for another job killing trade agreement. Deals were cut and Hayes actually retracted his no vote changing it to yes… he lost his seat when the deals fell through.

  6. What a bunch of hogwash. I remember hearing Brannon on the radio during the Marriage Amendment debate giving full-throated support to traditional marriage. He’s a born-again Christian, has been married to the same woman for 25 years, and he VOTED FOR THE MARRIAGE AMENDMENT.

    The idea that he’s anything other than a fiscal and social conservative is a bunch of spin. Anyone thinking he’s lacking as a conservative candidate is cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

  7. I’m not sure why the author is quoting McClatchy’s analysis of Mark Harris’ campaign strategy. Would they really give a fair analysis? Perhaps Mark Harris understands that he has a lot of support from the social conservatives due to his involvement with Amendment One and he thinks he needs some help from someone like Robin Hayes to build more support among “establishment” Republicans.

    Regarding Mark Harris not focusing on Kay Hagan, why worry about her now when he’s not running against her yet and has bigger issues to deal with at this point.

    Regarding Mark Harris attacking Greg Brannon, I heard Mark Harris speak at one of his campaign events back in July. He talked for about an hour and never mentioned Greg Brannon until someone (me) asked him his opinion of the announced candidates at the time. In his response Mark Harris was very respectful of the other candidates and in no way attacked either of them.

  8. It’s a shame Mark Harris doesn’t see the vulture Robin Hayes for what he is: a foot soldier for Tillis to help split the vote off of a great candidate like Brannon. Hayes is HATED by the grassroots GOP in NC, almost as much as the bully meddler Tillis. Robin Hayes has a scandal dossier 10 feet deep, and Harris obviously didn’t do his homework into the internal state-level investigation going on concerning Hayes. Hayes is toxic for Harris’ campaign, and will do nothing to establish credibility with the grassroots. Good grief, with Harris getting in, you can expect Hagan to win re-election if the flaccid Tillis is her general election opponent. The best thing that could happen for North Carolina is for Harris to drop-out, expose the establishment as trying to use him to divide the grassroots, throw his support to NC’s Rand Paul, and defeat an evil man in Tillis. NC doesn’t need more pay-to-play, any toll roads, or top-down heavy handed primary interference. Hayes and Tillis represent everything that’s wrong with the GOP, and a respectable man like Harris doesn’t need to be anywhere near that.

  9. Dr. Greg Brannon is the man to beat! He is the only one worthy of US Senate election, and as an educated man, having no previous elected
    status is a HUGE PLUS !!!

    Hayes, Tillis NOR Harris are electable now … BRANNON 2014 !!!

  10. Stan,

    Advocating that Mark Harris withdraw and endorse Greg Brannon makes sense only if you start with the premise that Brannon is the better candidate. Otherwise, it’s just as valid to suggest that Brannon withdraw and endorse Harris. I think we need to allow the vetting process to continue before implying that either candidate has ulterior motives (you didn’t do that, but the author of the article did).

  11. Let’s not forget the GOP primary goes to the candidate that gets ONLY 40% of the vote, not a majoruty. Now, let’s beguile some regionally-popular Establishment Republicans into entering the race, thereby protecting Brannon’s 41%. Two can play this game.

  12. It was mentioned in another thread that Harris supports amnesty for illegal aliens. Is there a smoking gun out there documenting this? If so that needs to get out. Anyone who supports amnesty for illegal aliens is in NO WAY a conservative.

  13. Thanks for this article, and especially informing me about this Ripon Society. The Ripon Society reads to me as a bunch of bottom dwellers without a principle to be found in the whole bunch. When I saw Richard Burr, Susan Collins and Ray LaHood on the list, I didn’t need to look much further.

    I am so sick of the GOP followers who are no different than the Dimwits…pull the D or R regardless. Many of us are also sick of choosing the lesser of two evils, which by the way, is still evil.

    I don’t know Mark Harris, but I do know Greg Brannon, and I believe him to be a man of principle. He wouldn’t fit into the Ripon Society as he has an occupation other than politician.

    Our party is built on the principles of the Constitution, and it doesn’t take a politician to figure out what they are. Our Founders never dreamed we would be a nation run by career political hacks who would steal from their mother if that’s what it took to be elected. Politics has become so perverse it takes real courage to do as Dr. Brannon and roll in this slime. I intend to do all I can to see him win the primary, and if he should defeat that mealy mouthed Kay Hagan and then screw up, he will hear from me personally and many of my friends.

    If one should wonder why so many Americans are completely turned off by politics and specifically, Congress, they need to look no further than the Republican Party. I’m beginning to believe many of them have converted to Islam and are practicing taqqiya (sic)…for the uninformed, that is lying, and it’s forgiven if it’s in the cause of Islam. It appears in this case all is forgiven if it’s in the name of politics.

  14. Dr. Greg Brannon, candidate for US Senate 2014 is a constitutional conservative. He needs your help to meet crucial fundraising deadlines. He must raise a certain amount by 9/30. If he meets this deadline and goal, many prominent Constitutional conservatives (you know who they are) will endorse Dr. Brannon and and come to NC to help Dr. Brannon defeat the establishment Tillis/Harris machine, and then defeat current Senator Hagan. Please consider donating generously, not only financially but also your time. To donate go to

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