North Carolina Republicans are in full on damage control, “distancing the party from the former president’s decision,” as the fallout from Trump’s surprise endorsement continues “sowing division” in the “crowded” primary, with the other candidates “showing no sign of abandoning the race.”
- North Carolina editorial boards and commentators are saying the former president’s move “created chaos” in the race, “flipp[ed] over the political tables,” and left candidates “stung” after getting “passed over.”
- Walker came out swinging, accusing the NC GOP of hiding the results of its straw poll.
- McCrory, who in April said he would “welcome Trump’s endorsement,” is now “downplay[ing]” the impact of the endorsement. Throwing a risky punch at the former president, he said: “Endorsements usually have very little impact on how people vote, or should they.
- Signaling an even messier primary season, Axios is reporting that Trump’s endorsement of Congressman Budd “put the GOP establishment on notice” and a McConnell super PAC is “prepared to intervene in GOP primaries.”
Read more about the fallout plaguing the NC GOP:
Axios: “A super PAC closely aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is prepared to intervene in GOP primaries — and potentially challenge former President Trump — as it looks for the most viable candidates to reclaim the Senate…Driving the news: Trump’s weekend endorsement of Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) in his state’s 2022 Senate race put the GOP establishment on notice that party leaders won’t necessarily get to handpick their preferred candidates for the crucial midterms.”
Bloomberg Government: “The ripples of Donald Trump’s splash into the 2022 midterm elections may not hit any state harder than North Carolina, where on Saturday he made the first of several expected battleground appearances over the next couple of months…Still, Democrats say Trump will help them win in North Carolina and hold onto the Senate majority by sowing division among GOP primary candidates and continuing to focus on baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election, rather than the concerns of a majority of voters.”
Charlotte Observer: “But, for good measure, he made news in a Trumpian way by walking into the event and effectively flipping over the political tables of his North Carolina Republican hosts. Trump created chaos in the Republican race for the 2022 U.S. Senate nomination…The other top candidates, former Gov. Pat McCrory, the leader in early polls, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, the winner of a straw poll at the convention, were blindsided…But Trump has done it so many times it should have been no surprise. In fact, sabotaging the campaigns of Republicans Trump feels have slighted him is his mission going into the 2022 primaries. He did it Saturday, taking a jab at McCrory.”
Fox46: “‘ ‘I’d say 95% of the people don’t even know that’s even happened. Endorsements usually have very little impact on how people vote, or should they.’”
Salisbury Post: “Stung by being passed over for an endorsement and the direct reference to his two gubernatorial defeats, McCrory quickly released a statement decrying Budd as a ‘a bought-and-paid-for Washington insider,’ a reference to political advocacy group Club for Growth’s repeated financial support for Budd’s campaigns.”
Washington Examiner: “The North Carolina Republican Party was equally shocked by Trump’s endorsement. Chairman Michael Whatley issued a statement distancing the party from the former president’s decision and declaring neutrality in the primary. Curiously, although the state party informed Budd, McCrory, and Walker of the results of the straw poll — Walker tweeted them out Saturday — it withheld the results from the public for two days. The information was scheduled to be released Monday afternoon.”