Raleigh, N.C. — Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a tea party favorite and a possible 2016 candidate for president, is expected to visit North Carolina next Monday on the eve of the primary to campaign for Senate candidate Dr. Greg Brannon.
Paul's visit was first reported by the Politico website, and Brannon tweeted "BIG NEWS!" on Wednesday afternoon to trumpet a noon rally in Charlotte with Paul.
Brannon, a Cary obstetrician, and Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte are seen as the major rivals to House Speaker Thom Tillis for the GOP nomination. The nominee would face Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in November.
Recent polls have shown Tillis inching toward the 40 percent mark among voters that he would need to capture in the primary to avoid a runoff in July. He has racked up endorsements from the U.S. Chamber, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers in the past two days.
Paul endorsed Brannon last fall but hasn't been active in the North Carolina race since then.
“I think it’s pretty close there actually, and there’s a chance we can help him enough to push him over the top,” Paul told Politico on Wednesday.