Electing Mr. Establishment

Thom Tillis (R) North Carolina during an interview at Roll Call in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
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 »
HE WAS 83
Charles Manson Dead
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Manson "died Sunday of natural causes, according to the California Department of Corrections. He was 83. ...Manson served nine life terms in California prisons and was denied parole 12 times."

Source:
AT ISSUE: COMEY FIRING, SESSIONS’S RECUSAL
Mueller Seeks Documents from DOJ
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Special counsel Robert Mueller "is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation." A source tells ABC News that "Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter."

Source:
MULVANEY SAYS PROVISION ISN’T A DEALBREAKER
Trump May Be OK with Dropping Mandate Repeal
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump would not insist on including repeal of an Obama-era health insurance mandate in a bill intended to enact the biggest overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s, a senior White House aide said on Sunday. The version of tax legislation put forward by Senate Republican leaders would remove a requirement in former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that taxes Americans who decline to buy health insurance."

Source:
FRANKEN JUST THE BEGINNING?
Media Devoting More Resources to Lawmakers’ Sexual Misconduct
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Members of Congress with histories of mistreating women should be extremely nervous. Major outlets, including CNN, are dedicating substantial newsroom resources to investigating sexual harassment allegations against numerous lawmakers. A Republican source told me he's gotten calls from well-known D.C. reporters who are gathering stories about sleazy members."

Source:
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
2 days ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login