- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Rep. Ted Budd said Wednesday he is running for the GOP Senate nomination in North Carolina, casting himself as an acolyte of former President Trump and fighter against the nation “becoming a woke, socialist, wasteland.” 

In his announcement video, Mr. Budd says he is a “small businessman who is so fed up with the liberal attacks on our faith, our families and our way of life” and highlights a clip of Mr. Trump praising him as a “warrior” and a “champion” for lower taxes, border security and gun rights.

“Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi are shredding our Constitution, creating an unprecedented crisis at our southern border, cutting American’s jobs and mortgaging our children’s future with massive debts,” Mr. Budd, 49, says in the video. “I am 100% pro-life, and I even think elections should be fair and secure.”

The seat opened up after Sen. Richard Burr decided against seeking reelection. 

The race to replace him is expected to be one of the most important contests of the 2022 elections. 

Democrats are looking to flip the seat and hardened their grip on the 50-50 Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote.

Political handicappers rank the race as a “toss-up.”

Mr. Budd enters a GOP primary race that includes former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker. Speculation also is swirling around the possibility of Lara Trump entering the race.

Mr. Budd scored an immediate endorsement from The Club for Growth, a conservative anti-spending group.

“Rep. Budd has already proven that he is a conservative champion in the House fighting against reinstating earmarks, bloated budgets, and tax increases,” said Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh. “Rep. Budd would be an excellent addition to the Senate and North Carolinians can always count on him to protect their taxpayer dollars and stand up to the special interests in Washington.”

The list of Democrats running for the seat includes: state Sen. Jeff Jackson; Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton; former state Sen. Erica Smith; former congressional candidate Richard Watkins III; and Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Mr. Budd won his House seat in the 2016 election. He joined 147 Republican lawmakers who objected to the certification of electoral votes in the 2020 election.

In his announcement video, Mr. Budd casts himself as a “political outsider who can’t be bought by the swamp, and I don’t give a riff about their Washington games.”

Mr. Budd says the “defund the police thing is crazy,” and he says President Biden “won’t stand up to the radical left.”

“Today, the U.S. Senate is the last line of defense against becoming a woke, socialists, waste land,” the congressman says.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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