Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) appeared at a loss for words after former President Donald Trump endorsed Representative Ted Budd (R-N.C.) in the Republican primary for the retiring senator’s seat.
“I can’t tell you what motivates him,” Burr said of Trump. “I’ve never seen individuals endorse a candidate a year before the primary. That’s unusual.”
Trump endorsed Budd’s campaign last month, almost immediately after his daughter-in-law Lara Trump confirmed she would not run for the open seat in 2022.
“There’s somebody in this room that I think is very special. This man is a great politician but more importantly, he loves the state of North Carolina,” Trump said of Budd during North Carolina’s GOP convention, offering him his “complete and total endorsement.”
Burr, however, says that former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) has the advantage in next year’s race, calling him “the only one in the race that can win the general election.”
That sentiment was echoed by McCrory adviser Jordan Shaw.
“If Republicans want a majority in the U.S. Senate, they will nominate Pat McCrory,” Shaw said. “Otherwise, Democrats are going to take this seat and keep the majority.”
The North Carolina race is one of the most closely watched for next year; it is one of the Democratic Party’s best chances at gaining another seat and retaining their majority. It is a vital race for Republicans, who need just one seat to take back their majority in the Senate.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.