Electing Mr. Establishment

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 »
MARCIA FUDGE TO PRESIDE
Wasserman Schultz Stripped of Convention Duties
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
2 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
BELLWETHER?
Candidates Deadlocked in Ohio
3 days ago
THE LATEST
17-POINT EDGE AMONG MILLENNIALS
Clinton Dominates Among Younger Voters
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.

Source:
NEW POLL SHOWS TROUBLE FOR TRUMP
Clinton Leads Trump Among Latinos by Nearly 70 Points
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.

Source:
×