GOP primary: Man down

by | Jan 31, 2014 | 2014 Elections, Editor's Blog, NC Politics, US Senate | 1 comment

The first GOP candidate for U.S. Senate is out before the filing period even begins. Radio host Bill Flynn announced that he is folding up his tent and calling it quits. His exit makes it easier for frontrunner and House Speaker Thom Tillis to get through the May primary without a runoff.

With six candidates still in the race, a clean win in May is still a difficult task. However, Flynn had at least some base support in the Winston-Salem area that is now up for grabs. Flynn saw himself as a Tea Party candidate so his absence should, theoretically, help Greg Brannon who has so far owned the Tea Party mantel and has the endorsement of Rand Paul.

Fortunately for Tillis, Brannon has not shown much political savvy. Brannon announced last week that he’s opening field offices around the state but has yet to achieve the name recognition and base of support necessary to make a grassroots campaign work. Instead of spending his money raising his profile, he’s spending it on rent and staff.

In addition to Flynn leaving and Brannon squandering, Mark Harris has been almost absent from the campaign. Finance reports will be out shortly and we’ll see if Harris can put together the money to be competitive. Rumor has it that outside groups are coming into the state to support him. However, if the Reverend can’t raise money, they will likely sit it out.

Finally, Tillis is skipping another forum. He’s obviously trying to position himself as the only game in town, dissing his fellow contenders but also dissing the GOP base. As I’ve said before, it’s a common strategy of heavy favorites, especially incumbents, but Tillis has yet to establish the support necessary to make it work. The success depends, at least partly, on the failure of his opponents to establish themselves as viable.

1 Comment

  1. Paleo Tek

    There are plenty of reasons why someone might run, and plenty of reasons they might drop out. One obvious reason to drop out so early is that some serious leverage was applied. Did the “Republican Establishment” (or some facsimile) lean hard on Bill Flynn to clear the field for their Anointed One? Did he get an offer he couldn’t refuse? On the other hand, there was nothing that remotely resembled traction coming out of this campaign, maybe he was just being realistic? Any reasonably savvy media/entertainment sort (and I think we should credit Mr. Flynn with meeting that criteria) will be fully aware of the publicity value of a political campaign. Losing would not not necessarily be a bad thing for him, but losing in such a way as to alienate key constituencies in the coalition (like, say, rich guys who spend money on campaigns) would be a Very Bad Thing. Billy, we hardly knew ye!

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