Since Tuesday’s primary election, the North Carolina Republican Party has struggled to unite behind their nominee for U.S. Senate, with Pat McCrory refusing to endorse Ted Budd and questioning “whether Republicans can pull off a victory” in November while isolating members of their own party and independent voters.
Reporting notes that the “scorched earth primary” forced Budd to “work very hard to be very far to the right,” which now puts him “out of step” with general election voters. Political analysts say “Budd may need to come closer to the center” to build a winning coalition in November.
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- “That’s a dangerous place for our party to be, when issues don’t matter and endorsements carry the day.”
- Haynie added Budd may need to come closer to the center to win moderate Republicans and North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat in November.
- McCrory said he isn’t sure whether he’ll endorse Budd. But the congressman’s treatment of him made the former governor wonder whether Republicans can pull off a victory against former state Supreme Court chief justice Cheri Beasley in November.
- “If they plan to retake the senate with a Republican majority,” he said, “they’ve got to not be careful with conservative Republicans who believe they are conservative but are told otherwise.”
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- Campaign officials say the candidates will need to appeal to the state’s unaffiliated voters, who make up about a third of the electorate, especially in the state’s fast-growing cities and suburbs.
- “The middle does matter,” said North Carolina Democratic strategist Morgan Jackson. “And it matters a lot in North Carolina because we’re a 50/50 state. And you win races—I don’t care if it’s the presidential, a gubernatorial or a US Senate race—you win it on the margins.”
- Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who lost the primary after portraying himself as a traditional Reagan Republican, said Budd now faces an “extremely difficult race because of the large number of independents.”
- Peters said that Budd, in his “contentious primary” with McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), has “worked very hard to be very far to the right.”
- “I think that’s out of step with where a majority of folks in North Carolina are, particularly independent voters,” Peters said. “They’ll feel more comfortable with Cheri Beasley.”
- Budd’s embrace of Trump’s false allegations about the 2020 election and his support of objections to certifying presidential results in Pennsylvania and Arizona are also likely to provide fodder for Democrats.