Charlotte minister Mark Harris, who’s running for Senate, hit a rough patch when he released a poll showing him trailing Thom Tillis by 11 points – an inconvenient fact his political aide, Tom Perdue, brushed aside by saying, “The fact that we are down actually means we are way up.”
Saying down is up may sound odd, but in politics, when the news is bad, spreading a little confusion can’t make it worse and may make it better.
Of course, Harris also had a subtler reason for releasing his poll. He’d asked voters a series of questions about Thom Tillis’ ‘foibles’ like the “sex scandal” in Tillis’ office (when his Chief of Staff had an affair with a lobbyist) and Tillis appointing his donors to the UNC Board. Then Harris had asked voters a second time whether they’d vote for him or Tillis.
Naturally, Harris’ prospects brightened: For one moment, at least in that poll, he was soaring with the wind beneath his wings.
But then the ground shifted beneath his feet: The press had spotted a peculiar number in the poll – according to Harris, 12% of the folks who vote in Republican primaries are African-Americans and that’s never (or, at least, never in memory) happened.
The Reverend had polled the wrong people.
It was a tough day for Mark Harris but look on the bright side: There’re better ways to run for office. He doesn’t have to learn one mistake at a time.