It’s a day early but I’ll call it. In the GOP Senate primary, Dr. Greg Brannon won the week. He’s managed to survive a week of headlines that would have killed most candidates and is still racking up endorsements from conservative grassroots organizations.
Just two weeks ago, a jury found that he misled investors, duping them out of more than $250,000. Today, it’s not even on the Republican primary radar screen. Instead, we’re reading about Brannon’s endorsement by Sen. Mike Lee, another product of the Tea Party. And that follows the support of Rand Paul and FreedomWorks, the grassroots organization that helped organize the Tea Party into a powerful political force. As the primary grows near, the Tea Party is closing ranks.
In addition, the evidence of Brannon’s grassroots support shows up in social media. The #NCPOL twitter feed is full of Brannon supporters retweeting his tweets and showing him all kinds of love. They also regularly bash Thom Tillis as an establishment shill, a label that’s starting to stick.
Brannon should be dead in the water. Besides his court loss, he got caught plagiarizing and found to be delinquent on property taxes. Fortunately for him, the Tea Party doesn’t quibble over little things like personal responsibility as long as he’ll talk about repealing Obamacare, freedom, liberty, guns and the constitution.
Conventional wisdom says that the Tea Party influence over the GOP is waning. They had mixed results in Texas primary this week and establishment leaders like John Boehner have expressed their frustration with them. North Carolina could be a place that they decide to plant a flag. A crowded primary with a low turnout offers them an opportunity to send the establishment a message.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >