The North Carolina Republican Senate primary boiled over this weekend as Senator Burr’s vote to impeach sent the state party, key Trump allies, and declared and potential candidates into a tailspin, the latest sign that the primary will be a race to the far-right and the GOP continues to splinter in the wake of Trump’s presidency, the Capitol insurrection, and the second impeachment vote.
After Senator Richard Burr voted to impeach Trump, he drew swift rebuke from all corners of the Republican Party this weekend:
On Sunday morning, Senator Lindsey Graham all but endorsed Lara Trump for the Republican nomination.
Declared GOP Senate hopeful Mark Warker directly attackedSen. Burr by name, implying he’s not a “true conservative” – yet another signthat Walker is racing rightward in preparation for a far-right primary.
The North Carolina GOP joined in attacking their senior Senator, saying his vote was “shocking and disappointing.”
Pat McCrory – who launched an exploratory committee in 2019 and is “likely” to enter the 2022 race and “has moved well past the kicking-the-tires phase and into the planning phase” – has been silent on Burr’s vote.
Bob Orr, former North Carolina Supreme Court associate justice, is even exploring the potential for a completely new party. An editorialfrom the News & Observer wrote: “Orr will be joining other GOP moderates who can’t stomach being part of a party that can stomach Trump.”Orr said: “There’s going to be a significant push away by a large number of folks.”
In the weeks following the Capitol insurrection, nearly 6,000North Carolina Republican voters have fled their party. To one Chatham County resident, “Trump crossed the Rubicon and he took the Republican Party with him.” She changed her party affiliation because “she could no longer bear to represent the party.”
It’s clear the Republican Party is in disarray, and the North Carolina Senate Primary is no exception: “If negotiating a post-Donald-Trump world has been a disorienting experience for Republicans around the country,it is especially acute in North Carolina, a state that has become a polarized, and nearly deadlocked, partisan battleground.”
Prepare for a bitter race to the right.