Thursday, February 27, 2014

'Machine-Gun Social' candidate is back

It was four years ago that then-Republican Tim D'Annunzio first ran for office with a  controversial, if memorable, run for Congress in the 8th District.

Now the Hoke County businessman is back -- as a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate. He faces a rare Libertarian primary with longtime activist Sean Haugh.

In 2008 D'Annunzio ran for the Republican nomination to take on then-Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell. He first made headlines with a "Machine-Gun Social" fundraiser, with a raffle that offered as a prize an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

D'Annunzio, a self-made millionaire, spent over a half-million dollars on the race. At one point only four Congressional candidates in the country had spent more.

He was far out of the GOP mainstream. On his blog, he called President Barack Obama, Sen. Kay Hagan and other top Democrats "liberal leftist God haters." Strongly anti-abortion, he invoked Hitler in once attacking the president's support of abortion rights. "Obama," he wrote, "will be responsible for killing many more people before he is finished."

He had little love for reporters, whom he described as "demon beasts." During an interview on WBT radio, he told host Keith Larson that "there's a special place in hell for people like you." Larson called D'Annunzio "a delusional, deranged human being," and still the interview continued.

At one point then-GOP chairman Tom Fetzer took the unheard of step of calling D'Annunzio "unfit for public office at any level." He lost to Republican Harold Johnson in a runoff.

In 2011 D'Annunzio led a tea party insurgency against former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes' bid for state GOP chairman. In 2012, he lost soundly to Democratic Rep. David Price as the GOP nominee in the 4th District.

A former Army paratrooper, D'Annunzio made a fortune making body armor for U.S. troops. In 2010 he was given to marshal language in the campaign and in a blog he called "Christ's War."

That could offer a contrast to Haugh, his Libertarian opponent.

Haugh said he plans to use his campaign "to urge people to turn away from violence as a solution for political or social problems.... So I'll be talking about ending wars both real and metaphorical."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New ad by outside group slams Tillis

A liberal PAC is the latest outside group to weigh into North Carolina's U.S. Senate race.

The Patriot Majority USA PAC is spending $500,000 on an ad that accuses Senate candidate Thom Tillis, the state House speaker, of siding with health insurance companies and special interest groups.

The PAC is the second outside group to air ads against Tillis in the race. On the other side, Americans for Prosperity, supported by the conservative Koch brothers, has spent more than $6.5 million on ads attacking Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan.

Hagan has criticized the Koch brothers and unidentified special interests for running such ads. Patriot Majority, like AFP, doesn't disclose its donors.

Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw called out Hagan.

"While Kay Hagan denounces the use of outside funds against her, liberals in DC are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars falsely attacking Thom Tillis," he said. "Where is Kay Hagan's statement condemning these ads? Liberals in DC know that Thom Tillis is the candidate to beat Hagan."

Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said Hagan has criticized not only the AFP ads but what she calls the Koch brothers' conservative agenda. Hagan supports the Democratic-sponsored DISCLOSE act that would require more transparency from political groups.

"Kay was named the most moderate Senator (by the National Journal) because she always puts North Carolina first unlike Thom Tillis who has pushed an outside, special interest agenda that cut education spending and lowered taxes for the wealthy," Weiner said.

Weiner said has "no control over outside groups."

The Patriot ad is the latest to attack Tillis, who faces a handful of other Republicans in the May 6 primary. Tillis has out-raised his rivals with the support of GOP leaders in Washington.


Read more here:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brannon ad depends on 'money bomb'

Republican Greg Brannon hopes to run the first TV ad of his U.S. Senate campaign, one that hits rival Thom Tillis while establishing his own credentials as "a tea party leader."

The 1-minute ad, shared with reporters, is part bio of the Cary obstetrician and part tea party manifesto in which he pledges to join Senate conservatives like Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas.

To pay for the ad, he's running a "money bomb" through Feb. 17 to raise money to place the ad. He outlined his strategy in an email to supporters.

"As I told you," he wrote, "I can't compete dollar-for-dollar with my opponent on TV ads. After all, he's got D.C. insiders bankrolling his campaign. But if I can go ahead and purchase TV air time right now, I can run my ads on shows like The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity where I can best reach  Republican voters before the May 6 primary. That's why I hope you'll make a contribution to my "Ad Blitz" Money Bomb immediately.

"Our goal is to raise $150,000 by midnight on President's Day, Feb. 17 to help purchase the air time."

That would be more than Brannon's campaign had in the bank at the end of December and less than either Tillis or Charlotte pastor Mark Harris reported.

Brannon, meanwhile, is off the campaign trail this week and in a Raleigh courtroom. He's one of two defendants in a civil case where he's accused of misleading investors.