"A Closer Look" - GOP Senate candidate Greg Brannon - WNCN: News, Weather

"A Closer Look" - GOP Senate candidate Greg Brannon

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Greg Brannon is finding support as the Tea Party candidate for North Carolina's Senate seat Greg Brannon is finding support as the Tea Party candidate for North Carolina's Senate seat

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Five years ago, Greg Brannon says he was sitting on the couch at his home near Raleigh, complaining about what happened to his political party and his country. Fast-forward ahead to March 2014, and the end of a whirlwind series of events that has a political newcomer eying a chance to make a difference in how the country is governed.

"I am a servant citizen looking for constitutional leadership, so it's more of a mission than a campaign," said Brannon during a sit-down interview in the WECT studios. "It's not just about Greg Brannon or the campaign team. It's about changing the future for our patients, our family, our children, and the next generation.  It's crucial to get back to our foundational principles."

Brannon is a front-runner for the Tea Party in North Carolina. His philosophy is simple: conservative and constitutional. Any questions on the federal government's role in the lives of citizens, he answers through the prism of two documents:  The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

"The Declaration of Independence is the philosophy that our government is based upon," Brannon says with excitement in his eyes. "There are two questions answered in the second paragraph that are crucial: who is sovereign and what is the legitimate role of a government? Our creator made us in his image, we have certain unalienable rights, life from the moment of conception to natural passing, liberty with freedom and responsibilities, and the pursuit of your dreams, your happiness. The next sentence says ‘That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted amongst Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed'.  We are giving our consent to have these trustees of that contract."

Brannon tells the story of being raised by a single mom, and becoming the first in his family to go to college. An OBGYN with a practice in Cary, Brannon talks proudly about being a born-again Christian, having a marriage of 26 years, and his seven children, three of which he and his wife have adopted. "The family man is why I am in this race," he says. "I believe the tentacles of the federal government are so invasive in every aspect of our life. That is not what our founding fathers pledged their lives and sacred honor for."

Recent polls have shown Brannon tied with House Speaker Thom Tillis in the campaign for the Republican nomination. A survey done in early March by Public Policy Polling showed Brannon and Tillis polling at 14 percent among the candidates in a crowded Republican field, ahead of Heather Grant's 11 percent. Just one month prior, Tillis had a lead of 20-13 over Brannon for the nomination. When asked if his strategy is to get Tillis into a run-off after the May primary, Brannon confidently predicts a runoff will not be necessary.

"I believe we're going to win without a runoff," Brannon said. "This race is about one thing and one thing only: are we a ‘rule of law' nation or not? Are we ‘the Constitution' or not? If Mr. Tillis ever shows up for a debate, I would love to have that debate."

A recent campaign fundraising letter surfaced in which Brannon calls Tillis "unelectable" as a candidate for U.S. Senate. Brannon offered the following explanation for choosing that word: "Is the Republican Party based on public private partnerships, like toll roads? That's the exact same policy (President) Obama ran for in 2008. Are we for state exchanges? He (Tillis) had state exchanges being formed in the House, and the Senate stopped it. He said Obamacare is a good idea, we just can't afford it. He said it's not "if" we have Obamacare, it's how we implement it. I'm showing that this is not in the Constitution. Every idea he has, is it in Article 1, Section 8 or not? That's the crux here."

The Brannon campaign has had a few recent bumps in the road as well. He admitted to making a mistake by not paying a property tax bill until it was uncovered by a Raleigh TV station. "We messed up," Brannon says. "It's my responsibility, it's paid." But Brannon is adamant that he will be cleared in a civil case after a jury in Wake County found that Brannon misled investors in a technology start-up company called Neogence Enterprises. The judgment ordered Brannon to pay more than $450,000. Brannon plans to appeal. "When the whole truth comes out, I will be vindicated," he says.

Brannon has the support of several high-profile Tea Party conservatives in Congress, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).  Sen. Paul and Sen. Lee have both endorsed Brannon's candidacy. FreedomWorks PAC, a conservative committee that supports individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government, has also endorsed Brannon's effort in the campaign for U.S. Senate.

"I love when I have the Rev. Al Sharpton attacking me, or by what Sen. Mitch McConnell says about the Tea Party," Brannon says.  "I love when Karl Rove belittles us the same way we have Mother Jones(.com) attacking us. I will never waver on life and I will never waver on the Constitution."

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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