Republican Mark Harris recently met with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as he looks for support for his U.S. Senate bid in North Carolina.
The meeting, confirmed by Harris’ campaign Thursday, shows how the Charlotte pastor is reaching out to tea party leaders as he challenges rival Thom Tillis in the Republican primary and seeks to fend off lesser-known anti-Republican establishment candidates.
Spokesman Mike Rusher said Harris and Cruz met in Washington on a recent campaign trip. It was arranged with the help of Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a social conservative advocacy group. Perkins counts Cruz and Harris as allies.
Harris is seeking support from a number of big-name Republicans and the spokesman downplayed the significance of the meeting. “We are not in a position to announce any endorsements or anything right now,” he said. “At this point, I wouldn’t read anything into it.”
If Cruz does support Harris, it would provide a big boost to the campaign. It also would set up a showdown with challenger Greg Brannon, who Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul recently endorsed in the Senate race. Cruz and Paul are national leaders among constitutional conservatives.
Brannon aide Nick Dyer is a former Cruz staffer and the campaign is actively courting far-right supporters as it labels Tillis part of the Republican establishment.