Electing Mr. Establishment

None

Thom Tillis (R) North Carolina during an interview at Roll Call in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
May 1, 2014, 7:38 a.m.

The first battle of the lar­ger es­tab­lish­ment versus tea party war is tak­ing place next Tues­day in North Car­o­lina, where Re­pub­lic­ans will choose their nom­in­ee to chal­lenge Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC). There’s little dis­pute that state House Speak­er Thom Tillis — the es­tab­lish­ment fa­vor­ite — will fin­ish first, but he’s far from guar­an­teed of hit­ting the 40 per­cent ne­ces­sary to avoid a run­off.

— Out­side GOP es­tab­lish­ment groups, like the Cham­ber of Com­merce and Amer­ic­an Cross­roads, rarely played in primar­ies be­fore — but now they’re go­ing all out simply to en­sure Tillis locks down the nom­in­a­tion early. Oth­er­wise, the race could turn in­to a one-on-one chal­lenge against a more con­ser­vat­ive chal­lenger against either ob­stet­ri­cian Greg Bran­non or pas­tor Mark Har­ris, which would be costly in both fin­an­cial and polit­ic­al terms. The Cham­ber spent about $1 mil­lion on a last-week ad buy for Tillis, while Cross­roads pumped in $1.6 mil­lion for Tillis over the last month.

— The es­tab­lish­ment’s strategy in North Car­o­lina is merely a pre­view of what’s to come in more con­ten­tious primar­ies later over the next month. The Cham­ber has been ag­gress­ively hit­ting tea party chal­lengers in primar­ies across the coun­try, in­clud­ing in Idaho (to help Rep. Mike Simpson), Ken­tucky (boost­ing Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell), and in Mis­sis­sippi (aid­ing Sen. Thad Co­chran). All those races, thanks to one-on-one con­tests, have been more con­ten­tious than Tillis’s re­l­at­ively low-key primary. But in all the con­tested primar­ies, the mo­mentum is with the es­tab­lish­ment can­did­ates. A clean sweep would val­id­ate Mc­Con­nell’s pledge in March to “crush” con­ser­vat­ive out­side groups.

— North Car­o­lina should be the easi­est test. In the primary, the un­der­fun­ded Har­ris or Bran­non didn’t re­ceive much out­side help in the primary’s fi­nal stretch, des­pite Sen. Rand Paul’s last minute cam­paign stop for Bran­non next Monday. With Bran­non much closer to third place than to the lead, it seems a little too late to really im­pact the race. But it could gin up grass­roots turnout enough to pre­vent Tillis from hit­ting the ma­gic 40% num­ber.

To­mor­row’s Na­tion­al Journ­al cov­er story will de­tail the es­tab­lish­ment’s new co­ordin­ated strategy to elect their own and pre­vent the next Christine O’Don­nell or Todd Akin from emer­ging. And if they suc­ceed in North Car­o­lina, their nom­in­ee will be Mr. Es­tab­lish­ment him­self — part­ner at a top con­sult­ing firm turned le­gis­lat­ive lad­der-climber.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×