After “mock[ing] McCrory” in his speech Saturday night for being “the bathroom governor” and praising Budd for standing up to the “RINOs,” Trump’s visit has continued to spark chaos and infighting among the primary rivals in the GOP Senate field:
- This morning, McCrory is out with a new attack ad leaning into Trump’s name calling, showing “Ted Budd leaning over a wheelbarrow full of crap” and calling him a “typical DC insider.”
- Politico reports that Mark Walker, who’s now been snubbed by both Trump and Lieutenant Governor Robinson for their endorsement, is “disappointed” and claims he won’t play D.C. games with the Trump wing of his party.
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- The former governor decried the Club for Growth’s massive spending against him, saying the super PAC was “trying to buy a Senate seat.” “And no one from North Carolina knows who this group is or who’s paying for it,” McCrory said.
- The super PAC is expected to shatter its own spending record for a race. The group’s ads have attacked McCrory as a moderate Republican who is opposed to Trump.
- Asked about claims by McCrory and Walker that the conservative super PAC is buying Budd a seat, Budd praised the Club for Growth. “They’re for small government, they’re for lower taxes,” Budd said. “It’s a shame that my opponents are not for those things, because that’s what that group’s for.”
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- Democrats said Trump’s visit would ramp up the “chaos” in the primary for Republicans.
- “As the Republicans’ toxic agenda continues to unravel, the choice could not be more clear: Republicans’ health care and economic plan is gutting the health care North Carolinians count on, raising premiums, and hiking taxes,” Floyd McKissick, first vice chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said in a statement. “Budd and the rest of Trump’s handpicked candidates will be a rubber stamp to the GOP’s agenda of tax hikes and raised premiums if Republicans win control of Congress.”
- Trump was effusive in his praise of Budd, saying he had a 17-point lead in the polls over Pat McCrory.
- Trump mocked McCrory, calling him the ‘bathroom governor’ for his role in the controversy over whether people in North Carolina would be allowed to use a public restroom that doesn’t match their birth certificate.
- Budd “will stand up for America first,” including for protection of Second Amendment gun rights, Trump said. “(Budd) has shown that he will stand up to the RINOs (Republican in name only),” Trump said. “You know we have some RINOs, you do know that. In many ways a bad RINO is worse than a Democrat.”
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- The North Carolina Democratic Party later released a statement about Trump’s rally.
- “Tonight, we saw that Trump’s handpicked candidates will sell out North Carolina families to further their political career rather than go to work for the people of our state. With his blistering attacks on fellow Republicans, the former president kicked off another round of nasty infighting and chaos in the GOP U.S. Senate primary,” the Democratic statement said.
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- Candidates across the political spectrum are pouring millions of dollars into ads in the walkup to North Carolina’s May 17 primary elections. The intensity surged this week, fueled by outside financial backers.
- Much of the ad spending across the state has been focused on the contentious battle for the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate. The seat is being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican.
- Budd has used his ads to accuse McCrory of being too liberal, while McCrory has attempted to cast Budd as someone who sympathizes with Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
- Joe Kildea, a spokesman for Club for Growth Action said this week that the group spent $8.4 million since the start of the election cycle to bolster Budd’s prospects. The organization plans to spend at least $5.6 million more in the windup to the primary, Kildea said.
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- Dark money organizations – at least those who lead them but not perhaps those who finance them – are delightfully invited out of the shadows. Trump made it a major point to both recognize and bring to the stage David MacIntosh who heads up the Club for Growth. That’s the operation that has pledged to pump at least $14 million into the GOP Senate primary to boost Trump-endorsed Ted Budd.