Ted Budd launches Senate bid in North Carolina

Rep. Ted Budd entered the already crowded North Carolina Senate race on Wednesday, in what is likely to be one of the top battleground races in the country next year.

Budd, who was first elected to the House in 2016, had been widely expected to launch a bid to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. North Carolina is one of five states where Republicans are facing competitive primaries to replace retiring senators, and it is one of the most closely-divided and expensive swing states in the country.

A video announcing his campaign features a monster truck referred to as the “liberal agenda crusher,” and Budd jokingly saying he doesn’t need the monster truck, a marching band or a dog in sunglasses to amplify his campaign announcement. He then delivers his introduction to his campaign in front of a monster truck with “Ted Budd U.S. Senate” on the side. The video features clips of former President Donald Trump praising Budd in previous campaign rallies, and Budd criticizing President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“We all know that Joe Biden is a weak leader who won’t stand up to the radical left. Today, the U.S. Senate is the last line of defense against becoming a woke, socialist wasteland, and I’m running to stop that,” Budd said in the video.

He joins former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker in the race. Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and a North Carolina native, has said she’s seriously considering a bid but has not yet taken any official steps towards running. Budd met with the former president last weekend to discuss the race, a Budd adviser told POLITICO earlier this week.

Walker, who was the only announced candidate for the first three months of this year, raised $209,000 and had $913,000 in the bank as of March 31. Budd raised $140,000 for his House account, which can be transferred for a Senate run, and had $1.1 million in the bank. McCrory announced his bid after the end of March and won’t have to report his fundraising numbers until July.

Budd will be vacating his central North Carolina House seat, though the state’s congressional map will be redrawn to add an additional district.

Democrats are also facing a crowded and competitive race for their nomination. Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, launched her campaign on Tuesday. State Sen. Jeff Jackson is also running, as is former state Sen. Erica Smith, who is running again after losing the Senate primary in 2020. Jackson raised $1.3 million in the first quarter of this year, while Smith raised $197,000.

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Rep. Ted Budd entered the already crowded North Carolina Senate race on Wednesday, in what is likely to be one of the top battleground races in the country next year.

Budd, who was first elected to the House in 2016, had been widely expected to launch a bid to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. North Carolina is one of five states where Republicans are facing competitive primaries to replace retiring senators, and it is one of the most closely-divided and expensive swing states in the country.

A video announcing his campaign features a monster truck referred to as the “liberal agenda crusher,” and Budd jokingly saying he doesn’t need the monster truck, a marching band or a dog in sunglasses to amplify his campaign announcement. He then delivers his introduction to his campaign in front of a monster truck with “Ted Budd U.S. Senate” on the side. The video features clips of former President Donald Trump praising Budd in previous campaign rallies, and Budd criticizing President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“We all know that Joe Biden is a weak leader who won’t stand up to the radical left. Today, the U.S. Senate is the last line of defense against becoming a woke, socialist wasteland, and I’m running to stop that,” Budd said in the video.

He joins former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker in the race. Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and a North Carolina native, has said she’s seriously considering a bid but has not yet taken any official steps towards running. Budd met with the former president last weekend to discuss the race, a Budd adviser told POLITICO earlier this week.

Walker, who was the only announced candidate for the first three months of this year, raised $209,000 and had $913,000 in the bank as of March 31. Budd raised $140,000 for his House account, which can be transferred for a Senate run, and had $1.1 million in the bank. McCrory announced his bid after the end of March and won’t have to report his fundraising numbers until July.

Budd will be vacating his central North Carolina House seat, though the state’s congressional map will be redrawn to add an additional district.

Democrats are also facing a crowded and competitive race for their nomination. Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, launched her campaign on Tuesday. State Sen. Jeff Jackson is also running, as is former state Sen. Erica Smith, who is running again after losing the Senate primary in 2020. Jackson raised $1.3 million in the first quarter of this year, while Smith raised $197,000.

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