Budd: Trump’s endorsement “really sped up” GOP’s race for Senate in North Carolina

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Rep. Ted Budd said former President Trump’s endorsement of his 2022 North Carolina Senate campaign “really clarified things” in the battle for the Republican nomination.

The former president made headlines a month ago when he endorsed Budd as he gave the keynote address at the North Carolina GOP convention. Budd, who was first elected to Congress in 2016, faces former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker for the Republican nomination in the race to succeed retired GOP Senator Richard Burr in the key state of the battlefield.

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Trump endorsed Budd moments after his stepdaughter Lara Trump announced she would not be running for the Senate in her home state of North Carolina.

“Immediately afterwards people sent donations. I think that clarified it,” Budd said in an interview with Fox News on Friday, minutes before his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas. , in Texas.

Budd said that until Lara Trump’s announcement, “a lot of people were reluctant to support the candidates.”

And he stressed that “a lot of people across the country are supporting” his campaign because of the former president’s endorsement. “They gave me their support. They sent me financial support. It’s just really clarified things…. Right now it’s really accelerated, so I’m grateful to them.”

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Long a red state, North Carolina has become increasingly competitive in recent cycles. Last November, Trump narrowly captured the state by a very slim margin from current President Biden. And GOP Senator Thom Tillis was reelected by less than a point when Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham was politically injured after news of his extramarital affair made headlines ahead of the election.

Nearly $ 300 million – a national record for a Senate campaign – was spent by all parties in the 2020 North Carolina showdown, and the 2022 race is also expected to be extremely expensive.

McCrory announced Friday that he raised $ 1.2 million in the April-June second quarter of fundraising. Neither Budd nor Walker, who also speaks to CPAC Dallas, have yet to reveal their fundraising numbers for the past three months.

Budd said he would release his numbers in a few days and predicted that “they will be solid … We will probably have some pretty good cash on hand.” But he conceded that “we will probably have come out high.”

But he stressed that “what you will see if you look closely at the numbers is that we are accelerating.”

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Asked by Fox News if Trump is okay with joining him on the campaign trail as next year’s primary approaches, Budd said “it will be up to him and I just hope he joins me. because it will certainly be useful “.

Former President Donald Trump, right, announces his approval of North Carolina Representative Ted Budd, left, for the 2022 North Carolina US Senate seat as he speaks at the Republican Convention from North Carolina on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Greenville, NC (AP Photo / Chris Seward)
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Former President Donald Trump, right, announces his approval of North Carolina Representative Ted Budd, left, for the 2022 North Carolina US Senate seat as he speaks at the Republican Convention from North Carolina on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Greenville, NC (AP Photo / Chris Seward)

And about that endorsement from the former president – Budd said he had only heard about it “a few minutes before”, but added that “the relationship dates back to 2017” when the president of the era and his family supported Budd in a difficult re-election. “Lara came along and helped me in 2018 when the Democrats were spending more on me… It was just wonderful working with them.”

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The race in North Carolina could be one of the few crucial competitions next year that could decide whether the GOP reclaims the Senate majority it narrowly lost in the 2020 election cycle.

The chamber is evenly split 50/50, but Democrats control the chamber by a very slim margin due to the decisive vote of Vice President Kamala Harris through her constitutional role as Speaker of the Senate.

Republicans play a lot in defense – they defend 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs, including open seats in North Carolina, the swing state of Pennsylvania, as well as Ohio, Missouri and Alabama. But they see opportunities to return blue seats to red next year in four states: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire.

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