First, for the primary: yes. A lot of things would have to go right for him, and a lot of things would have to go wrong for Tillis, but it could happen. Brannon has just the right profile for a Tea Party insurgent in today’s environment. What he doesn’t have, and may never get, is the money and the name recognition.

Brannon’s best chance of winning the nomination is by coming second in May, then going up against Tillis in a runoff and having the Tea Party coalesce around his candidacy. Team Tillis desperately wants to avoid getting into a runoff with Brannon. Best-case scenario for Tillis: clear the primary with over 40%. Second-best-case scenario: someone other than Brannon places second. Harris, Alexander et. al could probably be convinced to step aside for the good of the party, especially since Tillis is likely to fall just short of 40%. No way Brannon does that. If Brannon places second, it means war between the two competing factions of the Republican Party.

Right now, there’s a strong likelihood of that happening. I thought that Brannon would be wounded by the jury ruling, but I was wrong. For the primary, at least, it didn’t make so much as a chink in his armor. Mike Lee endorsed his campaign yesterday, and Rand Paul is headlining a fundraiser for him later. So yes, Greg Brannon can win the primary, even though Tillis, right now, doesn’t seem to be too worried and is instead looking ahead to the general.

Next post: Brannon can win the nomination, but can he win in the fall? For that, the answer is equally unequivocal.

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