US Senate 2014: The Preacher is Coming

ncgopWord is out on the street that Charlotte area pastor — and Southern Baptist Convention player — Mark Harris will formally announce his campaign for US Senate on October 2.   The political newcomer hit a bump in the road in July when his newly-hired political director, Tea Party leader Tracey Bengtson, unexpectedly resigned.  But all indications are that Harris is back — and his campaign has the fingerprints of Robin Hayes, Thom Tillis, and quite possibly the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Comiittee)  on it.

Georgia political consultant Tom Perdue — who counts among his clients former congressman,former NCGOP chairman and Tillis ally Robin Hayes —  has signed on to the Harris effort.  Some of my inside-the-beltway readers tell me that Alabama GOP political director John Kay is being imported into The Tar Heel State to help run the Harris campaign.

Why Alabama, you ask. My DC folks suggest that we look no further than NRSC operative Michael Joffrion, whose territory includes North Carolina.  Joffrion represented the Romney campaign in Raleigh while Hayes was chairing the NCGOP.  That gave him the opportunity to get to know a lot of the NCGOP establishment.  Get this — Joffrion is ALSO a former political director for the Alabama GOP. ( It sounds like somebody gave Team Harris a good recommendation for Kay.)

These are all quite unusual moves for someone trying to portray himself as a grassroots Tea Party type leader.  A friend of this site — with tons of experience in DC and Raleigh watching and participating in campaigns — tossed in his two cents:

“This is clearly a divide-and-conquer strategy.  Splitting conservatives to benefit Tillis in the primary.  It’s interesting that Harris is already aiming so much of his criticism at Greg Brannon, who appears to be the favorite of Tea Partiers.Harris has been bending over backwards to portray Brannon to fellow pastors and other church figures as an opponent of traditional marriage and family values.  I think anyone who checks out Brannon’s work and campaign web sites, and talks to him, can easily dismiss that as nonsense.

Who knows if Harris knows he’s being used.  But his campaign is clearly not configured for a win.  It’s styled to divide the Tea Partiers, and put them at each other’s throats, while Tillis cleans up with all of the other voters.”

Once Harris announces, that formally expands the GOP field to THREE.  Recently, some radio and TV ads promoting state Senate president pro tem Phil Berger have hit the airwaves — fueling speculation he might make this thing a foursome.  My sources tell me that the ad campaign — centered mainly in markets serving the 6th congressional district — is meant to aid the future political aspirations of the senator’s son, a prosecutor in Rockingham County. 

16 thoughts on “US Senate 2014: The Preacher is Coming

  1. “This is clearly a divide-and-conquer strategy. Splitting conservatives to benefit Tillis in the primary. ”

    Exactly. And Harris supports amnesty, a litmus test for candidates put up by the Gillespie/Rove faction backing Tillis.

    Conservatives should stick together and support Brannon, and if need be, play Tillis’ game and find a few more candidates to join the race.

  2. I smelled a rat some time a go and went on a blitz levying this charge where I could on FB Draft pages and it really hit a nerve.

  3. Anything that has Rove’s fingerprints on it as far as I am concerned needs to be avoided. It is more of the “party picking the candidate”. Think, McCain, Romney, Dole, etc. ALL LOSERS. Clearly Tea Party friends have their work cut out for them but WE CAN OVERCOME. New ideas must be forthcoming. THINK!!! Speak/email/comment to Tea Party social media sites with your ideas. NO idea is trivial. We never know what will work.

    By the way, unidentified acronyms such as NRSC need to be identified properly in the article as well as proper names such as Kay. I know, “keep up”.

  4. Anybody but Kay Hagan ! PPP ( I know they are a Democrat poll) has Hagan up about 14 points over Tillis. It might not be that bad, but I hope NC voters aren’t dumb enough to put up another RINO like Tillis.

  5. This dude sounds like another Mike Huckabee, whom the Club for Growth called a ”Christian socialist” and called a ”pro-life Statist”, and who has been running all over the country endorsing every RINO in sight who is running in a GOP primary against a conservative.

    Harris is for amnesty, just like Tillis has been coddling illegal aliens trying to give them drivers licenses. They are both two peas in an establishment pod.

  6. What does this Brant Clifton gentleman really know… and when did he really know it? I for one challenge any person at this point in the race to absolutely without a doubt know exactly “what” is actually going on. Your comments make for a good story but from my viewpoint are pure speculation. I too “speculate” about divide and conquer strategies being applied by “establishment” camp(s). My prayer is for the Good People of North Carolina to keep inquiring… keep pressing the issues… and keep praying for guidance. In the end when the primary is settled, I hope we have a candidate we can proudly support; physically, monetarily, and most of all – Spiritually. Thanks Brant for your “bit” of knowledge poured into the shared-pool-of-knowledge. Together, with a “little here” and a “little there”, we’ll all be able to make an informed decision and elect a Servant to The People of North Carolina.

  7. I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils again. I think Greg Brannon is the real deal; a non-politician finding a way to reach out to those who want a change in Washington. Greg will not owe favors to anyone other than the people if he stays his current path. He’s making personal relationships and people will have a vested interest in what he does in DC if elected.

    My husband and another couple are holding a Greet and Meet for Greg tomorrow. We are ordinary people who are closer to Libertarians than GOP members (even though we work within the GOP) and we believe we can make a difference. I hope more like minded people will jump into the fray with us.

  8. Unless Greg Bannon’s address to the Red State Gathering was a one time flash of brilliance he will win the hearts and minds of Conservatives in North Carolina.

    Some say he’s not a “nice guy”. I sure hope he isn’t. Congress is not a “nice place”.

    1. I agree! Too many ‘nice’ people in DC kissing too many a$$es and promising anybody and everybody the stars and the moon for a campaign contribution.

      I would hope that Brannon is a principled, moral person who is also a constitutionalist and would take his oath of office and and his representation of North Carolinians seriously.

    2. Greg Brannon is “intense”. He’s definitely not the smooth schmoozer type of politician. Someone who radiates that kind of energy inevitably makes some people uncomfortable.

      Having said that, the State leadership better watch themselves if they’re serious about sending Hagan packing. Manipulating their choice into the nomination will result in a repeat of the Romney experience…conservative voters will stay home.

  9. “Rev. Mark Harris told more than 200 supporters in Forsyth County Thursday that former Congressman Robin Hayes, who until this year led the state party, will co-chair his campaign.”

    In case there was any doubt left that Mark Harris is an establishment plant being put in the race not to win, but divide the conservative vote and protect Thom Tillis, this should lay those doubts to rest.

  10. Greg Brannon is a Constitutional Conservative and the Tea Party’s candidate!
    The 2nd paragraph of The Declaration Of Independence and the Constitution’s “Rule Of Law” is what made our country great for two centuries!
    The Tea Party will get Dr. Brannon elected in May at the Precinct level! We know how to do it!

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