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Have the Establishment Republicans just insured Kay Hagan's election?

September 15, 2013
Former Congressman and immediate past-chairman of the N. C. Republican Party has taken a major move that will divide the Republican Party in North Carolina and probably lead to Kay Hagan's re-election. He has talked Charlotte Baptist pastor Mark Harris into running in the Republican Primary. Harris is widely seen as a conservative who will split the conservative vote that otherwise would likely have gone to the other leading conservative candidate, Greg Brannon.

Here's the skinny: As of 9-13-13 there were 6,466,903 registered voters. Of that number 2,766,109 are registered as Democrats. There are 1,989,757 register Republicans and 21,747 register Libertarians. But the critical number is 1,689,290. That is the number of people registered as unaffiliated. That means that 43% are Democrats and 31% are Republicans. So the "swing" vote of unaffiliated voters makes up 26% of the vote.

You don't have to be a mathematicians or a rocket scientist to understand that if a Republican is going to be elected to the U. S. Senate in 2014 they will have to get a substantial part of both the Republican and the unaffiliated vote. So the issue becomes: How does the Republican who runs against Kay Hagan get most of the Republican and Unaffiliated votes? The answer is simple: The GOP nominee has to be able to get the GOP base to turn out to vote to a larger extent than the Democrat base does and then that candidate must attract enough unaffiliated votes to exceed Hagan's vote. If the Republican base splits and does not vote in as high a percentage as the Democrat base the Republican likely will lose. Even if they turn out, the trick is to attract the unaffiliated vote. And that is, again, determined by turnout. To turn out the specific unaffiliated voters who will likely vote against Hagan will require the GOP grassroots workers who will be the infamous "boots on the ground" vis-ŕ-vis the way Barack Obama was elected.

Now if you're following this reasoning, you know that a split Republican base spells trouble for the nominee.

And that is precisely what Mark Harris will do. He will split the Republican base. But we would suggest that it is not simply a matter of splitting the base in the primary. Rather, the issue is whether when the primary is over, those who did not vote for the nominee will then unite behind that person and convince enough unaffiliated to vote for him to defeat Hagan.

Put another way, for the Republican to defeat Hagan it will require essentially relatively few defections. Enter the TEA Party.

Most TEA Party voters are not hardcore Republicans. In fact they are rather disenchanted with the "Establishment GOP" both in Raleigh and Washington. Therefore, they are less likely to rally behind an Establishment Republican nominee. They will sit home on election day and worse still not get out and work to turn out the vote for the GOP candidate.

We are suggesting that the best strategy for the N. C. Republican Party is to bring the TEA Party/Libertarian (both formal members and libertarian thinkers) to support the Republican nominee. And we would further suggest that in achieving that it will be more important who the nominee is not than it will be who the nominee is. With Harris' entry into the primary the chances that the GOP nominee will be Thom Tillis have just increased substantially, simply because Harris and Brannon will split the conservative/TEA/Liberty block of votes. If indeed that happens the issue will become whether Republicans can convince the conservative/TEA/Liberty block to not only vote for Tillis but get out and beat the bushes to drive higher turnout relative to Democrat turnout. If Harris spends his campaign attacking Brannon the chances are slim and none that the TEA Party people will then support Tillis.

We doubt it, at this point. You can't spit in the face of a huge block of voters that you need and expect them to fall in line after a contentious fight. The last thing the Republican Party needed was a fight that will drive away marginal Republican voters and workers. But that is exactly what we see coming. And we'll have more to say later not only about that debacle but the impact it will have on the legislative races.

While there's an alternative scenario we'll talk about later, we think Brant Clifton senses the same train wreck as we do. In his Daily Haymaker on Friday the 13th he says:

Well. It looks like all of our "speculation" and "drive-by reporting" is starting to pan out. After our reporting came out, the AP confirmed that — as we said — (1) Harris is being advised by longtime Robin Hayes advisor Tom Perdue and that (2) a formal campaign announcement will be made on October 2.

Today, McClatchy confirms that Robin Hayes HIMSELF will be chairing the Harris For Senate campaign. McClatchy says Harris "hopes to build on a base of social conservatives like those who helped pass last year's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage." Choosing Robin Hayes, a long-time member of The Ripon Society, to head up your campaign is an unusual strategy for accomplishing that goal.

The Ripon Society is a group of Republicans commonly referred to in the grassroots as "country club" or "Rockefeller Republicans." This group of progressive Republicans was organized to fight back against conservative and religious right influence in the GOP. It fought Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980.

Everybody remembers Hayes's famous rant at the 2012 Republican National Convention – aggressively reminding North Carolina delegates that a good Republican's job is to back the party leadership no matter what. As party chairman, Hayes was a good soldier for the establishment in stymieing Tea Party efforts. Under Hayes, the state party staff got caught multiple times meddling in GOP primaries — aiding establishment moderates over Tea Party candidates.

Looking at the evidence, it's pretty hard to paint Harris as some kind of grassroots crusader. The pastor, himself, may have good intentions. (Though, we are disturbed by reports that he is peddling innuendo questioning fellow candidate Greg Brannon's commitment to "family values.") Most experienced – no dog in this fight — campaign hands studying the Harris campaign see it as not being configured for the purpose of winning. I agree. It clearly looks like a vehicle for dividing-and-conquering the conservative, Tea Party-oriented vote.

(Does anyone REALLY believe that Robin Hayes — who set House speaker and US Senate candidate Thom Tillis up with a sweet speaking time slot at the most recent state GOP convention — is actively opposing Tillis? )

The jury is still out on what state Senator Phil Berger will do. Many think he will jump in the race — further muddying the picture. It's clear that he will sap some support from establishment favorite Tillis. (A lot of the folks I talk to in Raleigh really don't think Berger will jump into the US Senate primary.)

Heather Grant can't win. The Mark Harris campaign isn't designed to win. (It is spending more time attacking Greg Brannon than on building Harris's name ID or taking down Hagan.) Of the four in the race now, Brannon is the most obvious choice for Tea Party-style conservatives who want to shake up Washington.
Click here to go to the original source.

  1. reply print email
    September 15, 2013 | 07:01 AM

    Vote for Brannon!!

  2. reply print email
    We can only hope
    September 15, 2013 | 08:19 AM

    Vote for Kay

  3. reply print email
    Grassroots for Greg Brannon Money Bomb
    September 15, 2013 | 09:18 AM

    Dr. Greg Brannon, candidate for US Senate 2014 is a constitutional conservative. He needs your help to meet crucial fundraising deadlines. He must raise a certain amount by 9/30. If he meets this deadline and goal, many prominent Constitutional conservatives (you know who they are) will endorse Dr. Brannon and and come to NC to help Dr. Brannon defeat the establishment Tillis/Harris machine, and then defeat current Senator Hagan. Please consider donating generously, not only financially but also your time. To donate go to

    Sammy Dodd
  4. reply print email
    GOP downfall
    September 15, 2013 | 09:43 AM

    Robin Hayes, quite frankly, doesnt have to do a thing. You can dearly thank the GOP majority Legislature,Governor McCrory,his Administration with the debacles at DHHS for the sudden downfall of the GOP.

    William Jones
  5. reply print email
    Hayes is an idiot
    September 15, 2013 | 08:17 PM

    He always has been. If he really was interested in beating Hagan he would have reached out to Brannon and tried to pull all of the Tea Party and Liberty support he could. But he is so rooted in the Country Club mentality that he could not see that Brannon and the Tea Party were the best chance of beating Hagan. Tillis should have been persuaded to sit this one out. The numbers in the article show any sane person what it will take to defeat Hagan. Hayes is living in another time and another place. His dog won't hunt. He and Harris or anyone Hayes attaches to will be seen as "rich old white men" and Hagan will burn them a new one. Hayes and Tillis represent what the GOP WAS. Brannon represents what it can be...if the ole white boys would just fade into the woodwork. Your article gets it exactly right. Brannon could be another Ted Cruz. And that is the future of the Republican party, if it has one.

    Pure Red
  6. reply print email
    Right on target
    September 15, 2013 | 08:27 PM

    Brannon is the only Republican in the running who can beat Hagan. But I suspect Hayes is nothing but a sockpuppet of Rove.

  7. reply print email
    Kay Hagan
    September 15, 2013 | 10:03 PM

    K. Hagan will be pretty easy to beat because she has not represented the majority of North Carolinians. Her whole agenda has been to rubberstamp whatever Obama wants.

  8. reply print email
    Harris may split establishment vote
    September 15, 2013 | 10:05 PM

    Harris may actually split some of the establishment vote. On another site I read that Harris supports amnesty for illegal aliens. If that is so, he is no conservative at all.

    Harris also chums around with the establishment wing of the party. Robin Hayes, for example, is on the advisory board of the liberal Ripon Society, an organization of Rockefeller Republicans originally organized to try to stop the nomination of Barry Goldwater.

    Harris is also close to Mike Huckabee, who regularly endorsed the establishment candidates in primaries against conservatives in major races all over the country. Huckabee is a social issues conservative but as governor was liberal on much else. The conservative Club for Growth calls him a ''Christian Socialist'' and has called him a ''Pro-Life Statist''.

    Associating with the likes of Hayes and Huckabee tells you a lot about Harris.

  9. reply print email
    Just to attack Dr. Greg Brannon
    September 16, 2013 | 01:07 AM

    So what are we looking at here. We have the Republican Party Machine doing what it can to ensure that the party machine favorite, Speaker Tillis, has the best chance of being elected to run as the Republican candidate for US Senate. What they don't seem to understand is that it is possible to have a 3rd party candidate run and take away the votes needed to keep the democrat from winning. There is also the fact that there are people out there like myself that will not vote for Tom Tillis. I also will not vote for Sen. Hagan. I just will not cast a vote in that race. Robin Hayes has already insulted the conservative republicans and independents in this state that still believe in the Constitution of the United States of America. We are not sheep. We will not just do as we are told. We are the citizens. In this country WE, the citizens, are sovereign. What he is doing now is choosing someone to run against Dr. Greg Brannon. This is being done to give Speaker Tillis a better chance at the spot on the ballot. This is nothing more than the Republican machine in Raleigh trying to make sure the same old situation and good old boy system is not further disturbed by the citizens that have grown tired of the activities of ALL the professional politicians at all levels of government "service"ť. Robin Hayes may have served the Republicans (meaning the registered citizens) well at one time, but his action shows that time has passed. I will vote for Dr. Greg Brannon.

    Thomas Austin
  10. reply print email
    Hagan Again???
    September 16, 2013 | 09:02 AM

    Well, I don't know anything about professional politics. I do know that I once was a Democrat, then Republican, and now Independent. I no longer trust either the Democrats,OR the Republicans. I don't give a hoot in hell about which party wins. They are BOTH bad news. I cant say for sure which is worse. Before I vote for anyone I damn sure want him / her /it vested PROPERLY.

    Both Burr and Hagan need to go. A recall for Burr would be in order.

  11. reply print email
    Who's on our side?
    September 16, 2013 | 11:28 AM

    Are establishment Republicans constructing a scenario that will return Chuck Schumer's sock puppet Kay Hagan to the Senate? It appears so.

    Too many times attacks by establishment Republicans against principled Republicans are out of line because they are harmful to the stated principles of the party as well as the consitutional protections of citizens. These actions negate the Republicans as an effective opposition party and actually help Democrats in their quest for big government socialism and all powerful globalism.

    In Beaufort County, we have gotten used to constant attacks by local moderate Republicans against conservative candidates and officeholders, whether we happen to be in a primary, a general election season, or at a time of governance. Very recently, a member of the county Republican executive committee used the media for a personal attack on a local conservative Republican officeholder. At the national level Karl Rove and others have very publically declared war on the conservative Tea Party wing of the party. This kind of phenomena seems to be prevalent in many races at all levels.

    Unfortunately, many establishment Republicans would rather defeat principled, constitutional Republicans than defeat big government statist Democrats.

    Charles Hickman
  12. reply print email
    Brannon can BEAT Hagan!
    September 17, 2013 | 06:57 AM

    He's the only one who can at this point. WE the PEOPLE are sick and tired of progressives, democrackkk AND republicannot, who FAIL to lead.
    BOTH 'parties' should be outlawed as ENEMIES of the state/country!

    STRIVE to be SMARTER than ANY demopublican WANTS you to BE !!!

    Unaffiliated Voter
  13. reply print email
    It's simple.
    September 21, 2013 | 09:55 AM

    What party removes taxes (Money in your pocket, and what party coined the phrase: "We've never seen a tax increase we didn't like!" (Money OUT of your pocket)?

    Yes, regardless of the republican candidate's style, they have the basic desire to: Lift non workers up and get them a job and that's done best by promoting businesses who are our Country's highest taxed, economy builders.

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