In a surprise announcement during his speech at the NC GOP convention last night, former President Donald Trump endorsed Congressman Ted Budd for Senate — plunging the already “hotly-contested” Republican Senate primary into further chaos and escalating the GOP’s intraparty fight.
Here’s a recap of the key developments:
Earlier that day, GOP attendees had voted for former Congressman Mark Walker in a Senate primary straw poll, with Budd in second and McCrory finishing last.
During Trump’s announcement, CNN described how the other Senate candidates were listening “stone-faced” in the same room.
Trump made “veiled comments” at the other GOP candidates, “adding a slap at former Gov. Pat McCrory, who has been critical of Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election,” saying: “You can’t pick people who have already lost two races.”
Immediately following Trump’s announcement, McCrory issued a statement condemning Budd as a “Washington insider who has done more to oppose the Trump agenda than anyone in this race.”
And Walker responded to the news by telling reporters that “President Trump just got some bad information from his former chief of staff. And it wouldn’t be the first time.”
“Last night the GOP Senate primary went from a huge headache for the North Carolina Republican Party to a massive migraine — and there’s months to go,” said Kate Frauenfelder, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Democratic Party. “Their brutal jabs last night prove that this escalating primary is only going to get worse.”