Finally, Mark Harris wins a week. Granted he wins because Greg Brannon didn’t get arrested or otherwise fire up his base and because Thom Tillis lost it so badly. Still, he emerged as a contender.
On Friday, the Duggar family with all of their 19 children and Family Research Council self-righteousness came to town to show their support for the preacher and help him raise money. Next, the News & Observer got wind of a poll that the Harris campaign was running. He’s probably not polling unless he’s planning to go up with ads soon. Yesterday, the Harris campaign announced that former Arkansas Governor and former and future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is coming to the state to campaign for him.
And then Thom Tillis gave Harris the opportunity to take a shot an opponent, revealing the reverend’s fighting side. Tillis has been inflating his resume or at the very least failing to correct misinformation that’s published on his and other web sites. Tillis graduated from the University of Maryland University College but several places say he graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park–you know, the ones that just dissed the ACC.
Substantively, the discrepancy is pretty minor but it highlights Tillis’ weaknesses. This is a high-profile race and, if Tillis’ team missed the numerous inconsistencies, they don’t look ready for primetime. Second, it reinforces the Tea Party image of Tillis as untrustworthy. And that’s where Harris scored his points when he said, “This appears to be another example of why voters don’t trust politicians.” He’s on message and target.
Harris’ only bad news is a WRAL poll that shows him trailing Tillis badly. However, primary polls are notoriously weak because identifying likely voters is so difficult. Besides, if Harris starts running ads by mid-April, any poll numbers today are not very relevant.
Harris still won the week. Welcome to the race, Mark.