Reporting from over the weekend detailed how former President Trump and the millions of dollars in outside money being dumped into the GOP Senate primary are escalating tensions just days before early voting is set to begin. The crowded field of candidates brings into question the “possibility of a primary runoff.”
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- The political action committee has poured more than $1.3 million into the race in recent weeks to oppose former Gov. Pat McCrory, the main Republican competitor to GOP frontrunner U.S. Rep. Ted Budd.
- McIntosh said his organization is merely doing its part to give voters a choice.
- “We’re just doing our job, which is to give information to North Carolina voters, tell them the truth about the choices that are there,” he said. “McCrory was hoping that there wasn’t anybody there that could get that information out and he could slide in because people remembered him from being governor. But our job is to educate the voters, tell them the truth [and] let them make a real choice.”
- Budd’s top campaign adviser, Jonathan Felts, said Budd is ahead for another reason. “Pat McCrory is consistently inconsistent and North Carolinians are tired of it,” he said.
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- While McCrory is battling for votes with Budd, former Rep. Mark Walker, combat veteran Marjorie Eastman and others in the Republican primary, he’s also up against someone else: Donald Trump.
- Former lawmakers such as Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County say McCrory never quite understood his role in Raleigh. More than anything, Rucho said McCrory never acknowledged the legislature wielded the real power.
- McCrory “proved to be more of a burden than an asset,” he said.
- McCrory’s rocky relationships in Raleigh still have an impact today. Budd has received at least 50 endorsements from current and former legislators, including that of N.C. Senate Pro-Tem Phil Berger.
- … Trump’s endorsement of Budd and Club For Growth’s dollars put McCrory in a tough spot, said Wrenn, the Republican operative.
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- Club For Growth, a conservative political action committee supporting Budd, has pumped millions of dollars into the race and flooded the airwaves, targeting McCrory’s record as soft on immigration and painting the former governor as not being a strong supporter of Trump.
- “Club For Growth is the worst thing in politics,” McCrory said. “They’re trying to buy the Senate seat in North Carolina. It’s propaganda to deceive people about my record as mayor and governor, and sadly people believe it or they wouldn’t keep doing it.”
- Despite McCrory’s characterization of Club For Growth, its strategy appears to be working for Budd, along with the new frontrunner’s strategy to avoid all three debates thus far.
- In North Carolina, winning a primary election requires 30% plus one of the vote. If no candidate wins that total, the top two winners will head to a runoff.
- According to Vaughan, McCrory might be better off avoiding that scenario.
- “The voters who went for Walker and Eastman — do they suddenly go for McCrory or Budd? That’s the risk. We’re still a few weeks out, and the great thing about elections is there are surprises.”