When Republicans express optimism about taking control of the U.S. Senate, they tend to look at their structural advantage: there are several Democrats seeking re-election in red states this year, and given Dem turnout in midterms, Republicans understandably like their chances.
In North Carolina, for example, Sen. Kay Hagan (D) is seeking a second term in a state where Democrats are struggling and President Obama is not at all popular. Republicans who expect their party to have a Senate majority in 2015 see Hagan’s seat as a key piece to the puzzle.
But it’s worth taking a look at who’s vying to take her on.
According to the latest polling, the top two candidates in North Carolina’s Republican primary field are state House Speaker Thom Tillis and physician Greg Brannon. Tillis doesn’t believe there should be a minimum wage and was caught this week claiming to have a degree from a college he did not attend.
And Brannon is this guy.
Referencing a non-binding U.N. sustainable development plan that’s long been a bugaboo of the conspiracy-addled political fringe, Brannon railed against Agenda 21, Obamacare, the National Defense Authorization Act and the global conspiracy to make him sick through vaccinations.“This scam of Agenda 21, this scam of humans are poisoning the earth, is a scam,” Brannon explained. “They are using that to control you, to control me, to control life.”“That’s why Obamacare, Agenda 21, NDAA, all these things are the collective over the individual,” Brannon continued. “The spirit of 1776 must be rebirthed,” he argued, “because we are living in the Orwellian 1984.”
BuzzFeed posted the audio of Brannon’s remarks, and it’s quite clear he wasn’t kidding.
If this level of political nuttiness sounds familiar, it may be because we learned in January that Brannon told the North Carolina Tea Party that food stamps should be eliminated entirely because the program “enslaves people.”
“What you want to do, it’s crazy but it’s true, teach people to fish instead of giving them fish,” he said. “When you’re at the behest of somebody else, you are actually a slavery to them [sic].”
Brannon is one of only a handful of Senate candidates to be endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).