CARY — U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Greg Brannon received the endorsement Wednesday of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, giving the Wake County obstetrician little known outside tea party circles a boost in his campaign for the Republican nomination.
Paul, the freshman senator and potential 2016 presidential hopeful, is quoted in a Brannon news release calling him a “true constitutional conservative who will join me in fighting against business as usual in Washington.”
“We need Greg in the Senate to provide vital reinforcements to help reverse out-of-control spending, restore constitutional limitations on our federal government and fight back against President Obama’s agenda,” Paul was quoted as saying. Spokespeople for Paul didn’t return an email and phone call Wednesday seeking further comment.
Brannon is counting on tea party support to win the primary next May and take on Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan next November, and Paul’s endorsement gives the first-time candidate more credibility among those conservatives.
The endorsement, the largest in the nascent GOP campaign, is a big boost as attention has largely tilted to candidates Thom Tillis and the Rev. Mark Harris. Brannon is behind in fundraising to Tillis, the sitting state House speaker. Heather Grant of Wilkesboro is also running for the nomination.
Brannon thanked Paul for the endorsement, calling him “a true champion for liberty in Washington.”
Paul’s endorsement could also help expand his support among conservative Christians, whom Harris expects to come to his side. At last week’s Values Voter Summit in Washington — a gathering for faith leaders and social conservatives — Paul said U.S. foreign policy needed to stop a “war on Christianity,” particularly in the Muslim world.
Rand, an ophthalmologist and son of former presidential candidate and ex-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, has been outspoken since taking office in 2011 on fiscal and government intelligence issues. He took to the Senate floor in a nearly 13-hour filibuster earlier this year of Obama’s pick for CIA director and criticized the president’s aerial drone policy.
Later Wednesday, Harris’ campaign announced he raised $128,000 during the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, and had $90,000 in cash in the bank, Harris publicly announced his candidacy in early September, although an exploratory committee had been formed in June for a possible run.
The amount raised is apparently several thousand dollars less than what was raised in the same period by Tillis, who got in the race in May. Tillis hasn’t released his third-quarter totals except to say he has raised more than $1 million this year and had more than $800,000 in cash. Brannon’s campaign reported raising $155,000 in the third quarter and had $105,000 in cash.
Hagan’s campaign said she raised $1.8 million in the third quarter and $5.4 million in the bank. Federal campaign reports were due Tuesday.