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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Today is a test for Jeb Bush and establishment as North Carolina voters go to polls

Today is primary day in North Carolina, and we'll see if Jeb Bush and establishment Republicans are victorious or whether the tea party has rallied to the challenge.

The U.S. Senate primary pits Thom Tillis, whom Bush has endorsed, against a host of rivals, including Greg Brannon, a tea party favorite who is endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul, and Mark Harris, a preacher from Charlotte.

Tillis needs 40 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff. A week ago he had surpassed that mark, according to a PPP poll, but a newer one showed Brannon climbing. In a tweet Monday, Bush wrote: "Tomorrow is Election Day! Join conservatives across North Carolina in supporting @thomtillis, a proven leader running for U.S. Senate." Mitt Romney on Monday also endorsed Tillis, speaker of the state House.

The primary winner takes on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

Said Paul during a rally Monday, as reported by Politico: "The status quo has gotten too strong in Washington, D.C. The Leviathan has gotten too large. ... As we stand here, the debt clock is spiraling out of control. Send us a champion. Send us a hero. Send us a dragon slayer."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 10:21am]


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