by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
When former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Richard Burr, it was unexpected until shortly before the announcement, when the Budd campaign got the word. Three GOP candidates – Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory, and former Rep. Mark Walker – were sitting near the front of the GOP convention in Greenville. Awkward to say the least.
Carolina Journal Editor-in-Chief Donna King talked about the endorsement with me on WPTF radio. LISTEN:
Now the Budd campaign has released fascinating new polling post-endorsement. Donna describes what the poll shows. LISTEN:
Back to the convention and the endorsement. Former Gov. McCrory responded this way:
McCrory released a statement moments after Trump’s surprise endorsement. “I’m disappointed that President Trump has endorsed a Washington insider who has done more to oppose the Trump agenda than anyone in this race. We will win this race – the primary and the general.”
“Ted Budd opposed President Trump’s plan to secure the border, to support our farmers, to repeal Obamacare, and he even voted against President Trump’s COVID vaccines. Now, he’ll do even more to defeat President Trump’s agenda if he’s the Republican nominee by giving our seat in the U.S. Senate to Chuck Schumer and the Democrats. Ted Budd’s bought-and-paid-for Washington insider voting record is not electable in North Carolina. If supporters of President Trump want his agenda to be supported in the U.S. Senate, they should not vote for Ted Budd, who has opposed him at every turn – and who would lose to the far-left next November.”
As for former Rep. Walker, he points the finger at Mark Meadows, former N.C. congressman and Chief of Staff to Trump.
Walker said he shook Meadow’s hand just moments before the endorsement and was not given a heads up about the coming endorsement, despite sitting upfront with his children and providing a $10,000-sponsorship to the State Party for the dinner.
“That is how Meadows likes to operate,” Walker told Carolina Journal. “Mr. Trump’s endorsement of Mr. Budd was an awkward moment for many in the room. Interestingly enough, Mr. Budd was surprised as well, finding out only minutes before the event. Why would President Trump endorse someone who over 70% of the room voted against,” Walker said referring to the U.S. Senate Convention straw poll that Walker won. “And, if Budd had no idea, who was the one orchestrating the entire event?“
Politics is a tough business. All the candidates know it. The Trump endorsement is the first, but not likely the last, of the many twists and turns we’ll see in the race for the GOP nomination for this coveted seat.