Republican North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd won the GOP’s Senate primary Tuesday following former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
Budd won by a landslide with 58% of the vote, earning a total of 429,897 votes. McCrory came in second with 24.6%, Walker at 9.0%. Two other Republican candidates, Marjorie Eastman and David Flaherty, came in last with 3% and 1%. The Republican candidate will compete against Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, who won the Democratic primary with 81% of the vote.
Budd led the senatorial GOP primary race in North Carolina by over 20 percentage points, holding 43% of support while opponent and former Gov. Pat McCrory had 16% of support, according to recent Emerson College/The Hill polling. Former Rep. Mark Walker stood at about 12%, being the only other candidate in the 14-person Republican field to hold double-digit support, The Hill reported May 12.
The candidates in the race are seeking to replace three-term Republican Sen. Richard Burr ahead of his upcoming retirement.
Budd, a three-term lawmaker representing the 13th congressional district, first announced his candidacy in a late April 2021 video, which featured multiple clips of him next to Trump. He received an endorsement from Trump in June 2021 at the state Republican convention in Greenville after the former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, reportedly decided against entering the race.
“There’s somebody in this room that is very special,” the former president said, according to CNN. “This man is a great politician but more importantly, he loves the state of North Carolina. This gentleman is going to be your next senator.”
Trump pushed for Walker to drop out of the Senate race, promising to endorse him in a House race in order to make way for Budd, though Walker refused.
Budd also earned the endorsement of the conservative Club for Growth Super PAC on April 28, 2021, at the start of his candidacy.
Budd led Democratic Beasely by a narrow margin in a hypothetical Senate race, the Emerson College/The Hill poll found. The hypothetical race had Budd with 48% support and Beasley with 41%. The poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters between May 7-9 with a 3% margin of error.