RALEIGH – As expected, the Republican primary field for the 2022 U.S. Senate race growing, paving the way for a jostling intra-party campaign. Carolina Journal reports that, according to sources, Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC) plans to throw his hat in the ring.
“Multiple sources have confirmed to Carolina Journal that 13th District Congressman Ted Budd will enter the U.S. Senate race in the coming weeks. Budd will be campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Burr by early summer.
Several key grass-roots leaders in Budd’s 13th Congressional District confirm his entry into the race is imminent.
Budd is a graduate of Davie County High School and Appalachian State University, where he earned his master’s degree in business administration from the Wake Forest University School of Business. He owns a gun store in Rural Hall.
Budd was first elected to a new 13th District in 2016 after courts ordered the drawing of a new state congressional map.
Political consultant Michael Luethy, who managed Budd’s two winning congressional campaigns, confirmed for CJ that Budd’s entry into the U.S. Senate race is “more likely than not.” A final decision is coming “sooner rather than later.” […]”
That the reporting comes from former NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse is not insignificant.
Budd would join former Congressman Mark Walker in the primary, who has had a significant head start in establishing endorsements and campaigning for the seat.
The two congressman actually avoided a political stand off previously when the redistricted Walker decided not to challenge Budd in a 2018 bid to keep a seat in congress. Instead, Walker waited to run for the Senate, where it appears Budd will now awkwardly join in to compete against him.
Of course, speculation as to other entrants in the race include former Governor Pat McCrory and Lara Trump. The latter notwithstanding, McCrory seems the most plausible third wheel to join in, as he has consistently expressed interest in the race and has already built statewide name ID.
Any of these one-on-one match ups would be a battle, but introducing three or more big names to the race means a little more calculus than combat. To that point, even if Budd were not to win the primary, he will have laid the groundwork for a statewide campaign that could support future aspirations; a consolation for giving up a safe seat in Congress to enter a competitive and expensive Senate primary.
Read more from Woodhouse on Budd’s assured entry into the race here.