Brannon defends against more plagiarism charges

jfrank@newsobserver.comApril 18, 2014 

Five months ago, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon was hit with charges he plagiarized passages on his campaign website from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Questions remained, and more arose this week when BuzzFeed reported that other passages on his website that deal with where he stands on issues were likewise copied from other politicians.

Responding to the charges Thursday, Brannon campaign manager Reilly O’Neal said the plagiarism discovered this week is linked to the same people who helped put together his website a year ago and used the Rand passages.

O’Neal downplayed the news, calling it old and saying the sections in question were fixed.

“My website was created over a year ago, and while I agree with every word I was unaware until now of this problem,” Greg Brannon said in a statement released by the campaign. “We have already fixed the passages.”

House Speaker Thom Tillis has had a change of heart and will participate in WRAL’s U.S. Senate debate Wednesday, according to the station. Tillis’ campaign had originally sent its regrets citing another “long-standing commitment” the same night. He’ll join the three other major candidates: Brannon, Mark Harris and Heather Grant. The four also will face off Tuesday at a debate at Davidson College sponsored by The News & Observer.

Harris plans to hold a rally Saturday for his birthday (which is actually April 24, the day early voting starts). The Greensboro event – dubbed #GOMark Birthday Rally – starts at 10 a.m. at the Marriott Downtown on 304 N. Greene St.

The Harris campaign disclosed earlier this week that it raised about $400,000 in the first three months of the year and had roughly the same amount in bank for the final six weeks of the GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

His total is far below the millions Tillis is raising and just short of the roughly $500,000 rival Brannon reported raising in the first quarter.

The campaign touted the numbers but didn’t release how much it raised through March this year. It emphasized the “total raised” since he entered the race in October, about $800,000. But a campaign spokesman confirmed the number.

Harris’ campaign said 80 percent of its donations come from North Carolina, a number they believe bested other rivals. “Our in-state donor base is fueling our efforts, which confirms that our message is resonating with North Carolinians, setting us apart from other campaigns,” Harris said in a statement.

Endorsements: A North Carolina-based organization that focuses on stopping illegal immigration has endorsed Brannon. “Every candidate running for US Senate in North Carolina this year supports a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants except for Dr. Greg Brannon!” said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, in a statement.

The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund has endorsed Tillis. Victory Fund Chairman Chris Cox called Tillis “a champion on Second Amendment issues.”

Former Republican Gov. Jim Martin put his lot behind Mark Martin for the top seat on the state’s Supreme Court. He writes: “When I was governor, I appointed Mark Martin (no relation) to the Superior Court Bench. ... No person has ever been elected to the office of Chief Justice who did not first serve on the Supreme Court, and Mark Martin is the only candidate in this race who has actually served on the Supreme Court. Mark is also the only candidate in this race who has actually authored an appellate opinion.” Martin faces Superior Court Judge Ola Mae Lewis in November.


Frank: 919-829-4698

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