Trump's Senate endorsement puts North Carolina GOP in pickle

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

After former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd for Senate, the North Carolina Republican Party sat on the results of a straw poll that former Rep. Mark Walker won by a country mile.

Walker topped Budd 44% to 29.4% in a survey to gauge who grassroots Republicans support for Senate in the 2022 primary. Former Gov. Pat McCrory finished third, with 17.5%, in voting conducted at the annual state GOP convention. The North Carolina Republican Party insists the results were not withheld to avoid embarrassing Trump. He endorsed Budd during a keynote address to an unsuspecting convention after the straw poll concluded.

State party officials shared the outcome privately with the candidates. But for two days, they refused to publicize to media outlets or the public. When the North Carolina Republican Party finally acknowledged the straw poll, the tally was buried at the bottom of a newsletter detailing the highlights of the weekend-long convention and emailed out in the evening after regular business hours.

“On Saturday, we conducted a Straw Poll for U.S. Senate,” the convention recap reads, referring to the June 5 survey. “The vote was taken by Convention Delegates and the NCGOP will remain officially neutral in the Senate Primary. Here are the results …”

Walker, who himself was hoping to secure Trump’s endorsement, tweeted out the results of his win in the straw poll immediately that Saturday. But by Monday, the North Carolina Republican Party had yet to issue a press release with the results. That afternoon, a spokeswoman for the state GOP said the delay had nothing to do with Trump’s endorsement of Budd, which was unexpected and took party officials by surprise.

“That’s just a rumor,” North Carolina GOP spokeswoman Livy Polen told the Washington Examiner when asked whether the party was worried about embarrassing Trump. “We just wanted to make sure all of our announcements were portrayed in an organized manner.”

Trump has slowly rolled out endorsements in competitive GOP primaries. With Sen. Richard Burr retiring next year, the contest to succeed among Republicans quickly settled into a three-man race between Budd, McCrory, and Walker, with all eyes on North Carolina native Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law. Most Republicans presumed she would take her time deciding whether to run or not, allowing more time before Trump endorsed in this race.

RUBIO REELECTION WASTES NO TIME GETTING OFF THE GROUND IN FLORIDA

But Lara Trump took the stage at the convention and bowed out.

The 45th president used his speech immediately following to back Budd, bringing him onstage for a curtain call as he did so. Republican insiders in North Carolina say the congressman is now the candidate to beat in the GOP Senate primary and point to Walker as possibly the odd man out. Both Budd and Walker are staunch conservatives; McCrory is considered the establishment pragmatist in the race.

Meanwhile, the state party was forced to scramble to make clear that it is remaining neutral in the primary even though Trump has made his choice.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

“When President Trump endorsed Congressman Ted Budd for U.S. Senate, he was not speaking on behalf of the NCGOP,” state party chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement. “He made the endorsement completely independently, and the NCGOP was not aware of the endorsement prior to his speech. The NCGOP will continue to remain neutral in all primary races.”

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Campaigns, 2022 Elections, Donald Trump, North Carolina Senate

Original Author: David M. Drucker

Original Location: Trump's Senate endorsement puts North Carolina GOP in pickle

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting