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The Raleigh News & Observer reported Sunday that Budd, a Davie County native, is leading by the double digits in the polls ahead of former Gov. Pat McCrory, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and political newcomer Marjorie Eastman. He has skipped debates, strategizing to instead rely on campaign events and millions of dollars in advertisements to resonate with voters and secure the party ticket.
The influential conservative PAC Club For Growth plans to spend $14 million supporting Budd in the primary. McCrory has accused the super PAC of “trying to steal this election through deception,” after the release of a new ad of North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson endorsing Budd. The ad, which began airing on statewide television Wednesday, criticizes McRory as the state GOP’s former standard-bearer.
SELMA, USA – APRIL 9: Bo Hines speaks during former US President Donald Trump’s rally sponsored by Save America with Ted Budd, Madison Cawthorn, Bo Hines, Dan Bishop, Mark Robinson and Greg Murphy in Selma, NC, on April 9, 2022. ((Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images))
The committee plans to spend $1.3 million over two weeks running the commercial on TV.
The testimonial by Robinson, a recent rising force among North Carolina Republicans, sticks to themes of other ads associated with Washington-based Club for Growth Action that portray McCrory as liberal.
SELMA, NC – APRIL 09: Ted Budd, who is running for U.S. Senate, joins the stage with former U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally at The Farm at 95 on April 9, 2022 in Selma, North Carolina. The rally comes about five weeks before North Carolinas primary elections where Trump has thrown his support behind candidates in some key Republican races. ((Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images))
“Now look, I voted for Pat McCrory in the past, but not this time. Pat’s a nice guy, but he’s no conservative,” Robinson says in the ad, calling Budd, a current U.S. House member, the “principled, conservative choice for U.S. Senate.”
Robinson, elected the state’s first Black lieutenant governor in 2020, had already announced his endorsement of Budd earlier this month at Trump’s rally in Johnston County, where the former president stumped for Budd and other candidates in GOP races he had already backed.
Budd traveled to Trump’s home at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, last April and by June Budd received Trump’s endorsement to replace Burr. Budd’s campaign said he has already traveled to about 80 of North Carolina’s 100 counties and aims to visit all 100 before the primary on May 17.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.