Trump Endorses North Carolina Senate Hopeful Rep. Ted Budd Former President Donald Trump listens to Ted Budd announce he's running for the NC Senate at the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)
Rep. Ted Budd,R-N.C., running third in North Carolina’s three-candidate Republican primary for U.S. Senate, on Saturday secured the most-desired endorsement of all for Tarheel State Republicans — that of Donald Trump.
The former president used the occasion of his address to the state GOP convention in Raleigh to endorse the three-term congressman he said was “very special.”
“That gentleman is going to be your next U.S. Senator,” declared Trump, electrifying the convention when he said Budd’s name and underscored that the congressman has his “complete and total endorsement.”
“President Trump’s endorsement will certainly propel Ted Budd’s candidacy,” Wayne King, former vice chairman of the North Carolina GOP, told Newsmax.
But King quickly added that Trump’s “America First Agenda is on the hearts and minds of Republicans across North Carolina and all three of these candidates have been great ambassadors for these principles.”
He was referring to Budd’s two rivals for nomination in next year’s primary — former Rep. Mark Walker and former Gov. Pat McCrory.
Before Trump’s endorsement “stole the show” at the party conclave, Walker was the big newsmaker. In a straw poll of more than 1200 delegates, the former congressman won with 44 percent, followed by Budd at 29 percent and McCrory 18 percent.
Sources close to Budd told reporters that he and his wife learned of Trump’s endorsement 15 minutes before the former president took to the podium.
In endorsing Budd, Trump also took an obvious shot at McCrory’s two past defeats for the governorship and said “you can’t pick people that have already lost two races [and] do not stand for our values.”
Obviously disappointed, McCrory subsequently released a strongly-worded statement voicing his dismay “that President Trump has endorsed a Washington insider who has done more to oppose the Trump agenda than anyone in this race.”
He added that “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.”
Trump’s endorsement came minutes after a long-predicted announcement by daughter-in-law Lara Trump that she would not seek the Republican nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.