Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) secured the Republican nomination with a blowout victory in the North Carolina U.S. Senate primary, the Associated Press has projected.
The Trump-endorsed congressman beat his establishment-backed competitor, former Gov. Pat McCrory (R), less than an hour after polls closed on Tuesday, garnering more than 56 percent of the vote by 8 p.m. compared to McCrory’s 27 percent, the New York Times reported. Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) had nearly 9 percent of the vote by 8 p.m., and no other candidate had topped over 4 percent.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 17, 2022
After leading in the polls by double digits in recent months, Budd’s significant lead puts him well past the required 30 percent of votes to avoid a runoff election, meaning he will go on to face the Democrat nominee, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Cheri Beasley, in the November general election.
Budd is running to fill retiring Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-NC) seat — Burr, who preferred McCrory to replace him, was notably one of the seven Senate Republicans who voted in favor of convicting former President Donald Trump on impeachment charges in 2021.
Budd, who is currently serving his third term in the House, received Trump’s highly coveted endorsement last summer, which the congressman has credited for helping to boost his name recognition, along with his 100-county tour across the state. The congressman has also had help from Club for Growth Action, a top outside conservative group that has led a multi-million dollar crusade against Budd’s competitors.
“Club for Growth PAC is proud to have played a role in helping Rep. Ted Budd secure the nomination,” said Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh following Budd’s victory. “North Carolina voters understood that Budd was the only principled conservative in the race and he will stand up to Biden’s radical socialist agenda.”
HUGE congratulations to @club4growth PAC-endorsed @TedBuddNC on winning the #NCSEN Republican Primary! North Carolina voters understood that Budd was the only principled conservative in the race who will stand up to Biden’s radical socialist agenda. #ncpol pic.twitter.com/qAGlnZPLYT
— Club for Growth (@club4growth) May 18, 2022
Overall, Trump’s endorsed candidates have made clean sweeps in most Republican primaries so far, save for Nebraska. While the Nebraska gubernatorial GOP primary race showed that Trump-endorsed candidates are not immune to losing, the “America First” brand still clearly captivates GOP voters across the country looking for strong Republican representatives.
In the past few weeks, Budd’s campaign shifted some of its attention to the general election and potential competitor Beasley. Budd had barbs out for Beasley in a recent interview on Breitbart News Saturday, accusing her of being “radical” despite her attempts to pitch herself as the “North Carolina version of (Sen.) Joe Manchin” ( D-WV). The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) too launched a $1 million advertising campaign against her ahead of the primaries and the general election, likely hoping to find a weak spot in Beasley’s more left-leaning judicial record.
Though there are several months to go before the general election, recent polling shows Budd leading Beasley 48 percent to 41 percent, with ten percent undecided.
Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on Twitter.