Today, former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander is announcing his entry into the GOP primary for U. S. Senate. According to The Shelby Star, Alexander said, “you feel God’s compelled you to do it.” Alexander served as mayor for two terms and is currently chair of the Cleveland County Republican Party. He will resign in order to run.

Alexander’s entry further increases the chances of a run off. While he lacks statewide name recognition and lags behind others who have been organizing and raising money for months, he has stature in the foothill region and will certainly draw some votes. The odds of one candidate getting to 40% of the vote in May to avoid a runoff, gets longer with every new candidate.

Currently, former House Speaker Thom Tillis is considered the favorite. Tillis is the establishment candidate with support from Washington and organizations like the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. Charlotte preacher Mark Harris, a leader in the push to pass the anti-gay marriage Amendment, will likely draw support from the old Christian Coalition and the social conservatives. Greg Brannon, a Cary physician, has the support of Rand Paul and various Tea Party groups. In addition, Bill Flynn, a radio broadcaster, and Heather Grant, a nurse from Wilkes County, have also announced their intentions to run.

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