NC Tea Party Showdown Looms as Sen. Lee Backs Brannon

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 10:03 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Tea party Sen. Mike Lee has set up a potential intramural confrontation with GOP establishment by endorsing Greg Brannon in the North Carolina Senate race against embattled Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.

Brannon will be running in the GOP primary against N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, who has been given the stamp of approval by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other established GOP senators.

Tea party activist Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has also endorsed Brannon, an OB-GYN, in the GOP primary, which has a total of eight candidates.

However, the list of attendees at a December fundraiser for Tillis in Washington included McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, as well as GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina and Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

Lee told the Charlotte Observer that Brannon was “a constitutional reformer,” and he praised him for his strong stance on such issues as health care and education.

“All those things are going to be part of the fast-emerging conservative agenda,” said the Utah Republican. ‘Greg’s a constitutional conservative and he’s someone who’s excited and eager to apply timeless constitutional principles to address some of our country’s timely problems.”

Asked what he thought about the civil jury verdict that ordered Brannon to pay two investors $250,000 for providing misleading information about a failed technology start-up company, Lee said he had no knowledge of the case. Brannon, who had been a company director, said he planned to appeal, adding, “I will defend my integrity.”

Sen. Hagan’s approval ratings in North Carolina have been dragged down by her support of Obamacare, and a recent poll showed that both Tillis and Brannon would beat her in a possible November midterm election.

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