Former President Donald J. Trump took the opportunity offered by his headliner appearance
at the North Carolina Republican Convention on Saturday to give his "complete and total endorsement" to Congressman Ted Budd for next year's Senate race in North Carolina.
Mr. Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara, a North Carolina native who for months had been rumored to be interested in the race, ended the speculation by declining to run for the seat.
John Solomon’s Just the News reported Lara Trump said she was "saying no for now" to running for Senate in the state where she grew up but left open the possibility for the future. She said having two young children, ages 1 and 3, was a major consideration in her decision.
POLITICO reports North Carolina is expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country next year as Democrats defend their 50-50 Senate majority.
Trump’s endorsement is a major boost for Budd, who is running against former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker in the Senate primary. The three are running in the primary to replace GOP Sen. Richard Burr, who is not seeking another term.
"There's somebody in this room that I think is very special. This man is a great politician but more importantly, he loves the state of North Carolina," Trump said of Budd while appearing at the state GOP's convention in Greenville.
"This gentleman is going to be your next senator," Trump added.
"I am giving him my complete and total endorsement. We're going to work with him. We're going to campaign with him," Trump said Saturday night, before adding a subtle dig at McCrory, who lost races for governor in 2008 and 2016. "You can't pick people that have already lost two races and do not stand for our values."
During his endorsement of Budd, Trump said the congressman had "always been with me."
"Mr. President, Lara, this means the world to me. Thank you," Budd said after Trump summoned him to the stage. "We got a lot of hard work ahead."
CNN reported Ted Budd announced in April that he planned to seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by retiring three-term Sen. Richard Burr. His campaign announcement included a video showing him and Trump together at campaign rallies and footage of him driving a monster truck over cars emblazoned with the phrase "liberal agenda."
Perhaps the most important part of former President Trump’s endorsement of Ted Budd was this – “We're going to work with him, we're going to campaign with him.”
That commitment may be the key to a successful campaign for any Republican, because no one defines Democrats better than Donald Trump.
During his speech Mr. Trump described President Joe Biden and the "socialist Democrats" as the most left-wing administration ever in history -- "even Bernie Sanders can't believe it, he said this is worse than I ever was" -- who want to "defund our freedoms" and insert "cancel culture, the defunding culture" and "critical race theory" in public schools.
"I think we're going to gain two or even three U.S. House seats. We're going to take over. We're going to get rid of Nancy Pelosi," predicted former President Trump.
The former president also said 2022 would be "a banner year" for North Carolina Party Republicans, and the Republican Party nationwide. "We will strengthen our military, support our police and always support our veterans," said Trump. "Our movement is far from over. In fact, it is just getting started," Mr. Trump concluded.
North Carolina GOP senate primary
Gov. Pat McCrory
Rep. Mark Walker
Sen. Richard Burr