by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The larger-than-expected triumph Tuesday of Trump-backed Rep. Ted Budd in the Republican primary for U.S. Senator is likely to have a far-reaching impact on North Carolina and the Republican Party.
Several political experts from the Tarheel State told Newsmax that Budd’s stunning (58.6% to 24.6%) win over former Gov. Pat McCrory is a strong sign that the GOP has moved to the populist right and finally defeated the party’s so-called moneyed “establishment” wing.
“Congressman Budd’s decisive victory represents a major paradigm shift in Republican politics,” veteran Raleigh political analyst Marc Rotterman told Newsmax, “It’s a huge loss for the establishment and the insiders in Charlotte and Raleigh.”
Rotterman also warned that this is “only the beginning” and “a cautionary tale for Republican candidates who want to run statewide in 2024 and ’26. If you ignore the base, you do so at your own peril.”
Fueled by that base, his endorsement from Trump, and a $14 million independent expenditure by the Club for Growth, three-term Rep. Budd, 49, overtook the much better-known early favorite McCrory.
McCrory supporter Phil Kirk, onetime state senator and past president of the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry (NCCBI), told us he felt “some of the Club Growth ads are outright lies, and others are misleading. The Trump support certainly helped in the primary but not in the general election.”
Kirk said he had told Budd he would vote for him if he was the nominee “but that was before he was embraced by Trump and the Club for Growth. I will, however, keep my commitment because I don’t want [liberal former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court] Cheri Beasley to get to the Senate.”