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North Carolina Primary results

North Carolina Primary results

North Carolina Speaker of the House wins GOP Senate nod

With 100% of precincts reporting, Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, will take on vulnerable Senate Democrat Kay Hagan for her seat this November.

Receiving just under 46% of the vote, Tillis surpassed the 40% of votes necessary to avoid a runoff. Trailing Tillis were Tea Party backed candidates Greg Brannon, with 27%, and Mark Harris, with 18%.

Via Yahoo! News

Tillis’s victory sets up a general election fight with Hagan that will be among the country’s most hard-fought and closely watched U.S. Senate races. Republicans must pick up six seats to win a Senate majority…

The Republican Senate primary in North Carolina was the first in a string of nominating battles – including May 20 contests in Kentucky, Georgia and Oregon – that will begin to determine the success of the party establishment’s effort to beat back the conservative Tea Party movement and recapture the Senate majority that eluded it in 2010 and 2012.

Tillis, who described himself as a fiscal and social conservative, was helped by more than $2.6 million in advertising from two powerful outside advocacy groups – the business-friendly Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, founded by strategist Karl Rove.

Other notable North Carolina victories include David Rouzer in NC-7, who will now take on Democrat J. Barfield for the seat of retiring Congressman Mike McIntyre. Rouzer, as you may recall, narrowly lost to McIntyre by less than 700 votes in 2012.

Former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken appears to be edging out his challenger in the 2nd district Democrat primary. With 100% of precincts reporting, Aiken leads 40.8% to 39.5%. That puts him over the top in avoiding a runoff, but since the race is so close, it has not yet been officially called for Aiken.

The “race to watch” here was the Senate primary. It was seen by many as a direct showdown between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. While it’s true that a variety of Tea Party groups backed Tillis’ challengers, this race may not be as representative of later primary contests as some Republicans might like. The split Tea Party vote, among other things, is evidence of that.

As Politico noted earlier,

Tillis might have been looking at a runoff tonight had he been up against a more credible candidate. He only won with around 46 percent of the vote in an eight-way race, with 82 percent of precincts reporting. The Club for Growth, a conservative outside group that might have been able to offset the Crossroads and Chamber, never got involved in the primary. Club officials vetted Tillis’ chief challengers and weren’t impressed.

FreedomWorks, a big Brannon backer, spent only $156,000.

Two candidates, Brannon and Harris, divided the anti-Tillis vote.

Brannon had a history of making controversial statements, including saying that food stamps are a form of slavery. He was president of an organization called Founder’s Truth, whose web site had espoused conspiracy theories.

Neither Brannon nor Harris raised enough money to be competitive. While Harris was press-friendly, Brannon’s operation was totally nonresponsive to most reporters – which made him hard to cover.

Some of the heavy hitters who backed Tillis’ challengers sound ready to move on to the general. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Tea Party Patriots founder, Jenny Beth Martin, both communicated their support of Tillis’ effort to unseat first-term Democrat Kay Hagan.

(Featured Image Source: YouTube)


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Characterizing this as some kind of body blow against Tea Party conservatives is probably hyperbole on the part of the MSM and unwise on the part of the Republican establishment. If you ever find yourself on the same side as the MSM, re-evaluate.

Ah – the ultimate embodiment of our society.

Be a crappy one-trick country singer kid who copies all the others.

Win a TV singing game show whose primary ‘voting’ audience is 13 year old girls who hope to have a boyfriend some day.

Make some small money singing at local barn dances and country fairs and such.

Come out of the closet.

Run for Congress based on those qualifications.

The Establishment Republicans that are tweeting their gloating over the Tea Party are making a big mistake. We already have the Democrats that bash us, we do not need the side we are supposed to be on to. If they want our votes, it would be best to remain silent until after the elections. Otherwise, they are going to tick people off, and they will stay home. Grow up.

I am from NC and will be voting AGAINST Kay Hagan and not FOR Tom Tillis.

Captain Keogh | May 7, 2014 at 11:51 am

Just pull the Republican lever.

tarheelkate | May 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I voted for Tillis. I lean quite conservative. The attempt to portray Tillis as a non-conservative wasn’t really very successful, since he’s the Speaker of the state House and led the way to a good first effort at legal and tax reforms here in NC. Perfect? No. A much, much better senator than Hagan? Absolutely.

I think the second-place candidate, Brannon, would have been destroyed in the general election campaign and we’d have been stuck with Hagan for another six years. As a pro-life OB/GYN he has my respect. As a first-time political candidate, he wasn’t ready.

Henry Hawkins | May 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

What killed Brannon’s early leads when polled against both Tillis and Hagan was losing a lawsuit in the middle of his campaign. A Wake County jury verdict found Brannon held sole responsibility for giving misleading or false information in 2010 to investors in a now-defunct tech company Brannon helped start. Brannon owes about $480k to three investors, their attorneys, and in court costs.

There are two metro areas in NC – Charlotte and Raleigh – and the same company provides the daily newspapers in those cities, but for essentially the entire state as well. They hammered Brannon constantly on the lawsuit and anything/everything else.

This is what primaries are for, wheat, chaff, etc.

Should Tillis defeat Hagan, he’ll obviously be far better than any Democrat, but Tillis’ politics tend to swing between moderate to conservative, depending on his needs of the moment. He is basically a straightforward establishment GOP guy, formerly corporate head at IBM, and will have zero problems changing his principles as his party may require.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Note: Tillis wasn’t ‘the’ head of IBM, but high up as a consultant to the heads. Corporate guy, though. Was also at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

    He also used the Obama ploy of not voting so as not to establish a record on certain issues. He did not vote on NC congressional bills about 30 times since first elected in 2006 (that’s approx 20-25% of the time). He did vote in favor of all the conservative no-brainers, like Voter ID, etc.

      NC Mountain Girl in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      How many of the non votes came after Tillis became Speaker? It is customary a Speaker doesn’t vote unless it is needed to break a tie.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to NC Mountain Girl. | May 7, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        Rough scroll-through count showed 24 Did Not Votes out of 61 total votes after winning Speakership (from Feb ’11 on), and 4 Did Not Votes before Speakership (from entry to congress in 2006 to July ’10).

        Do not quote these stats, lol. Quick count, but within 1-2.

        You got me thinking, so I was scanning the topics/subjects of the bills not voted on to see what Tillis may have been avoiding and no real pattern jumps out, but these bills are so euphemistically named you can’t tell what they actually call for without reading them.

        The way Tillis was rushed into service, captured, armed, and run by the Rove groups, pretty well predicts a GOP establishment recruit. However, who foresaw “Tea Party favorite” Renee Ellmer’s immediate switch to a big gov, amnesty loving GOP-er?

        Maybe the growing conservative GOP caucus will capture Tillis.

        Then there is the apparent Clay Aiken primary victory. God help us all.

          stevewhitemd in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 8, 2014 at 8:48 am

          Being roped into service doesn’t mean he’s not right for the job. It could be that the leadership had to nudge him (hard) to get him out of his comfort zone. It would be very appealing to sit there as State House Speaker for quite a while and thus become a fossil.

          So being nudged by the leadership (dude, you should be senator) may well be the right thing to do for both him and the party.

    Yeh, but we need ‘head count’ to help Hairy Reed to his new job title ‘Minority Leader’.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to pjm. | May 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Party affiliation is meaningless if/when they cave to liberal demands and schemes. Any record of GOP caves in the past decade or so? Tillis is a go-along guy who the GOP can count on.

      I want reliable conservatives and couldn’t care less in which party I might find them.

    tarheelkate in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I don’t know if the Brannon verdict was warranted. It’s on appeal and some have said it was unfair. What I do know is that Hagan would have pounded it, aided by the McClatchy newspapers. We need to elect a Republican.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to tarheelkate. | May 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      What it means is Brannon should not have run while the lawsuit was in the pipeline, regardless of whether the suit is warranted.

      I think what ‘we’ need is becoming less and less defined by party labels.

    gasper in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Now we have two burrs on our butt.

Don’t be surprised that the “Tea Party groups” didn’t spend a lot for the challengers. Besides Club for Growth – which predates the TP by several decades, these groups are not only self-appointed “representatives” of the Tea Party, most of them play some very funny games with the money.

Lee Stranahan has the goods on one of them, the worst offender, I think it’s the “Tea Party Fund,” but a recent study found several of the major TP groups are raising money but spending it on salaries for family members and friends and lavish travel and expenses, and on more fundraising, with almost nothing going to candidates, causes, or advertising issues.

As I’ve said all along, none of them were elected. They just grabbed the TP name and sought to gain money and influence by attaching themselves to it. And they’ve been largely successful at scamming conservatives but some of us can’t get past the rhetoric in the fundraising letter to check out who we are sending money to.


    Henry Hawkins in reply to Estragon. | May 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    “but a recent study found..” Yeah, a Washington Post article.

    Geez, the growing TP caucus within the congressional GOP has got you practically peeing your pants and quoting the WaPo, lol.

    platypus in reply to Estragon. | May 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Do you pay dues or otherwise put money into Tea Party Patriots? If not, you need to shut your piehole about how they recruit and spend the money. If you have donated, and wish to have your money back, just send Jenny Beth a letter and you will get it.

    TPP is an org that speaks for grassroots groups. No dues, no formal membership list, no bossy rules from on high. Don’t like it, don’t have to hang around. Simple.

      pjm in reply to platypus. | May 8, 2014 at 7:14 am

      I don’t donate to ANY political party. So, according to you, I can’t comment about ANY of them ?

      stevewhitemd in reply to platypus. | May 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

      I don’t donate to a lot of groups that I nevertheless find time to comment on.

      Like the Southern Law Poverty Conference, for example. And the Democratic Party.

      It’s the American way.

And when people who claim to be “Tea Party supporters” get behind nuts like Brannon, or the dog-fighter Bevan, or some of the other prominent losers who’ve carried the banner in the last few years, they only damage the brand.

Where a person stands on issues is important, but it’s just the beginning. We need good, smart people who won’t kill their own campaigns. If we aren’t going to vet these kooks at all, the whole effort is wasted.

NC Mountain Girl | May 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm

The race I was watching was that of my State Senator, Ralph Hise. No Democrat filed for the office but he had a primary opponent, a county commissioner whose voting record was to the left of Hise’s, particularly on social issues. At our county convention the opponent complained about how Ralph wasn’t wasn’t bringing enough pork back to the district. McDowell County Commissioner Mike Lavender never explained how he was to cut the size of government while simultaneously spending more taxpayers’ money in the district. The reception he got was decidedly cool.

About three weeks ago I started getting flooded with flyers, phone calls and pop up internet videos asking if Ralph had ever really been conservative, accusing him of having “gone Raleigh”, of not having “mountain values” and completely misrepresenting his record. They were all paid for by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, based- you guessed it- in Raleigh.

Ralph won with 62% of the vote, so it looks like the Dems just wasted perhaps a quarter of million dollars.

    platypus in reply to NC Mountain Girl. | May 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    What a sweet bedtime story! All that was missing was a couple of sugar cookies and a cup of chocolate milk.

    Now if we could just get another 10,000 stories like that …

    stevewhitemd in reply to NC Mountain Girl. | May 8, 2014 at 8:51 am

    We can smile at the waste of money but let’s remember, this is indeed a tactic that the Democrats and their allies favor. We need to be alert to it, and more importantly, be able to educate voters in our district when it happens.