The GOP establishment favorites easily won in Tuesday night primaries, with Thom Tillis, the State House speaker, clearing the 40 percent threshold needed to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) in November.
Tillis was challenged in the primary by Greg Brannon, a Tea Party candidate who boasted the backing of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and got 27 percent of the vote, and Mark Harris, a Baptist preacher endorsed by Mike Huckabee who pulled in 17 percent of the vote.
Tillis’ endorsements included Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.
“We congratulate Thom Tillis on his victory tonight. It was clear from the start that Thom Tillis is the only proven conservative who can defeat Kay Hagan and take on President Obama’s liberal agenda, and tonight’s victory is the first step toward making that happen,” American Crossroads CEO Steven Law said in a statement.
“We engaged early and worked closely with other center-right groups to help Tillis overcome a late dirty-tricks campaign orchestrated by Hagan and national Democrats. We expect Hagan’s tactics will get even more desperate, but we intend to hold her accountable for the mess.”
Paul said in a statement through his PAC that it was now time for GOPs to unite.
“Congratulations to Thom Tillis. Now that the primary is over, it is time for our side to unite to defeat the Democrat who cast the deciding vote for ObamaCare, Kay Hagan, in November,” Paul said. “I endorse Thom Tillis and look forward to working with him in the Senate. I congratulate my friend Greg Brannon on a well fought race and encourage all the candidates to unite for victory in November.”
Former American Idol star Clay Aiken narrowly led in the Democratic primary for the District 2 House seat in North Carolina, where incumbent Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) defeated Tea Party challenger Frank Roche with more than 58 percent of the vote.
Establishment fave and North Carolina former state Sen. David Rouzer won the GOP nomination to run for retiring Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre’s seat, pulling in 52 percent of the vote versus Woody White. Both White and Roche made illegal immigration a centerpiece of their Tea Party challenges.
In Ohio, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) easily defeated Tea Party challenger J.D. Winteregg 68 percent to 21 percent. Winteregg, who released a campaign ad comparing Boehner to erectile dysfunction, said in a statement that he nevertheless gave Boehner a “run for his money.”
“I’ve knocked on 20,000 doors over the past year and have had the privilege to talk to more than 10,000 voters,” said the schoolteacher. “It’s stunning how many Ohioans are frustrated with our leaders in D.C. After talking with so many passionate Ohioans on this campaign, I feel tonight is not the end but just the beginning of taking back our country.”
It’s very early in the cycle, but Tillis win in NC primary increases the chances GOP will take back the Senate.
— Bob Cusack (@BobCusack) May 7, 2014