TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Kate Frauenfelder, NCDP Communications Director
DATE: January 4, 2022
MEMO: GOP Primary Poised To Be Nasty, Expensive Fight As Intra-Party Feuding Intensifies
As Democrats enter 2022 unified, the Republican U.S. Senate primary in North Carolina continues to be an “unusually bloody” and “nasty” intraparty fight focused on political litmus tests at the expense of issues impacting the people of North Carolina.
The nasty infighting between the GOP primary rivals has defined this race and damaged all of their candidates. Budd, McCrory, and Walker have spent their time calling each other “desperate,” a “career politician” with a losing record, “bought and paid for by the DC swamp,” and hurling even more nasty insults at each other.
Check out some of the headlines from 2021, which will no doubt carry through to 2022 and leave the Republican nominee limping out of their primary in May.
- Politico: Nasty N.C. Senate primary tests Trump’s sway over the GOP
- News & Observer: Group backing Ted Budd for Senate calls Pat McCrory ‘fool’ in Olympics-themed ad
- Salon: N.C. GOP candidates struggle to out-Trump each other — who will be the Biggest Loser?
- Charlotte Observer: GOP Senate campaign heats up after report tying Budd to bankruptcy that hurt farmers
- Axios: GOP attacks its own
- Associated Press: Opponents target Ted Budd, Trump’s choice in GOP Senate rac
- WXII: NC GOP Senate primary turns nasty
- Charlotte Observer: A new, brutal mailer on Pat McCrory is a troubling sign for Republicans
Outside Group Spends Millions To Dominate Airwaves, Mailboxes
North Carolina voters’ televisions, radios, and mailboxes have been filled with negative, intra-party GOP attack ads throughout 2021. A few of the most damaging examples:
- Club for Growth has pledged to spend millions in the race, releasing television ads calling McCrory a “fool” for providing economic incentives to a Chinese-owned company when he was Governor;
- They’ve also been highlighting McCrory’s losing record, crediting his gubernatorial loss to his comments “publicly trashing” former President Trump and calling McCrory a “disloyal, liberal, loser.”
- Most recently, they sent out a 12 page “hit job” mailer, slamming the former governor for past ethical lapses and corruption allegations.
Trump’s Influence “Causing Dissension,” Extremism In NC GOP Senate Candidates
The Senate primary has shone a light on the ongoing Republican civil war and the continued influence of former President Trump on the party. His early endorsement of Congressman Budd shot the primary out of a cannon, unleashing the first round of GOP infighting, “frustration,” and “dissension.”
And throughout the primary, the candidates have focused solely on appeasing Trump and the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party at the expense of the voters who will decide the general election. They’ve followed Trump’s lead in opposing the bipartisan infrastructure law, coronavirus relief and embracing his lies about the 2020 election – an especially sore subject for McCrory who has “struggl[ed] to position himself on it.”
A “Critical Head Start:” Democrats Are United In 2022
Democrats are entering the new year united, “while Republicans are mired in a costly primary brawl.”
The contrast couldn’t be clearer:
Bottom Line: At the start of 2022, Ted Budd, Pat McCrory, and Mark Walker are locked into a combative and expensive primary with five more months of infighting and divisions to go. In contrast, Democrats are entering the election year unified, focused on the issues that matter to North Carolinians, and already laying the groundwork to win the Senate race in 2022.