Former President TrumpDonald TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations MORE’s endorsement of Rep. Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddLara Trump lost her best opportunity — if she ever really wanted it Trump touts record, blasts Dems in return to stage Trump endorses Rep. Ted Budd for Senate in North Carolina MORE in North Carolina’s GOP Senate primary is setting off a round of finger-pointing among frustrated Republicans in the state.
The endorsement, made during a speech to the North Carolina GOP’s convention this month, came as a surprise to state party leaders and other candidates who had believed they were still in the running to receive the most sought-after endorsement in Republican politics. Budd found out about Trump’s decision only minutes before he made the announcement.
But the endorsement has also stirred concern among some Republicans that Trump may be elevating a candidate who they believe could be the least competitive of the top three GOP contenders in an expectedly fierce general election match-up next year.
“He picked a losing horse,” one North Carolina Republican strategist said, arguing that while Budd’s image as a hard-line conservative and Trump loyalist would play well in the GOP primary, “he’s going to have a problem in the general.”
The strategist argued that Budd’s decision in December to join an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit challenging the results of the November presidential election in four states, as well as his vote against certifying President BidenJoe BidenFormer Rep. Rohrabacher says he took part in Jan. 6 march to Capitol but did not storm building Saudis picked up drugs in Cairo used to kill Khashoggi: report Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting MORE’s Electoral College victory, pose a liability for Republicans, who are hoping to avoid relitigating the 2020 election during next year’s midterms.
Trump’s endorsement of Budd came moments after his daughter-in-law Lara TrumpLara TrumpLara Trump calls on Americans at border to ‘arm up and get guns and be ready’ Clear signs Trump intends to run in 2024 Lara Trump lost her best opportunity — if she ever really wanted it MORE announced at the convention that she would not mount a bid to replace retiring Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze Burr House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe Lara Trump lost her best opportunity — if she ever really wanted it Trump touts record, blasts Dems in return to stage MORE (R-N.C.) next year, putting to rest speculation that the current Republican field would have to contend with a member of the former president’s own family.
Two other top candidates in the GOP primary — former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerTrump endorses Rep. Ted Budd for Senate in North Carolina 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden to country: ‘Turning peril into possibility’ MORE — have vented frustration with the way the endorsement unfolded, suggesting that the former president’s advisers and lingering political tensions influenced Trump’s decision to weigh in on the race.
“The audience reaction was telling: the President got bad advice in picking a Washington D.C. insider,” McCrory tweeted after Trump announced his support for Budd. “North Carolina voters will pick the best person to represent them – and I’m looking forward to them supporting us in the Primary and the General.”
Walker, who previously served as the No. 4 House Republican, has pinned blame on Trump’s former chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBiden’s no-drama White House chief Ex-Trump aide Meadows pushed DOJ to probe multiple election theories: report Trump working with Gingrich on policy agenda: report MORE, a former congressman…