Huckabee Campaigning in NC for Primary Underdog

Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 02:02 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will travel to Raleigh, N.C., to campaign for the Rev. Mark Harris, the Republican underdog in the primary to face incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan.

Harris opposes North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and tea party candidate Greg Bannon in the primary, with Tillis the favorite of the state's establishment Republicans, The Hill reported. Harris is known for leading the push to ban gay marriage in the state.

Huckabee, who is considering another presidential bid, endorsed him earlier this year, The Charlotte Observer reported in January.

"He’s a true conservative who will join us in fighting against the status quo in Washington," Huckabee said in his endorsement.

Huckabee and Harris are both Baptist ministers, with Harris serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charlotte. Harris is also president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Harris is not the only candidate with a high-level backer. While Huckabee is in Raleigh campaigning for Harris on Saturday, Tillis will return to Washington for another Capitol Hill fundraiser next Monday. The event is being headlined by North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who has twice helped raise cash for Tillis' campaign while not officially endorsing him.

If Tillis can get 40 percent of the vote in the May 6 primary, the state's Republicans will be able to avoid an expensive mid-July runoff election.

But current polls released by Harris' campaign have Tillis at 33 percent of the vote; Harris at 22 percent; and Brannon at 12 percent. The Democratic Public Policy Polling firm is calling the race closer, with none of the three candidates coming in with more than 20 percent of the vote.

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