Conventional wisdom has it that Mark Harris is Thom Tillis’s chief opponent. However, Greg Brannon keeps making inroads. Yesterday, FreedomWorks, the conservative grassroots operation that helped turn the Tea Party into an organized political force, endorsed the Cary OB-GYN.

FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe compared Brannon to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. The endorsement gives Brannon another boost after the oomph from Rand Paul’s endorsement seems to have worn off. If Brannon can turn this endorsement into real money, he could emerge as the anti-Tillis in the primary.

Harris, for his part, has been quiet. The preacher from Charlotte announced a finance committee of 17 people from across the state. It looks like a flailing attempt to say, “Hey, look at me!” Right now, he could use a boost from some segment of the GOP.

Both Brannon and Harris turned in finance reports that showed them far behind Tillis in the money chase. However, while their numbers we’re underwhelming, they both showed that they’ve raised enough to keep an operation running. At this point in the campaign, survival is the name of the game.

However, in the next few weeks, one of them will have to catch a break that brings in either real money or real exposure. In today’s politics, that break could come in the form of third-party expenditures. Conservative groups could go after Tillis hoping to send votes to either Harris or Brannon, who they consider more the authentic conservatives.

The primary in North Carolina will show how much control the extremists have over the Republican Party. The GOP forums are full of fringe topics like impeaching the president. As the rest of the country becomes more tolerant, the right-wing of the party is doubling down on “traditional values.” Twitter feeds and web sites are full of conspiracy theories and condemning establishment Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham as RINOs.

In short, they are delusional, talking to themselves and feeding their paranoia. They have a huge disconnect with average Americans. If they take out Tillis in North Carolina, the GOP will be a party in peril. Needless to say, I’m pulling for Dr. Brannon.

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 >

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