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Trump-backed Ted Budd beats former governor McCrory in North Carolina Senate primary

Trump-backed Ted Budd beats former governor McCrory in North Carolina Senate primary
Victory was clean show of Trump’s power in Tar Heel State

Rep Ted Budd is the next GOP nominee for the US Senate in North Carolina after swiftly claiming victory in Tuesday’s primary over former Gov Pat McCrory, once one of the state’s most prominent conservatives.

The victory would be a shocking one for the little-known congressman but Mr Budd won the support early on of Donald Trump, virtually guaranteeing his frontrunner status in the race.

Mr Budd’s victory was called by the networks on Tuesday just minutes after polls closed at 7.30pm.

Within an hour of the polls closing, the second-term congressman was up over his opponent by a whopping 30 points, a resounding win that made clear Mr Trump’s endorsement is still just about the most powerful factor in a state GOP primary, especially in a southern state like North Carolina.

The race was one of the less-watched of the night as it has been overshadowed by the more-contested Pennsylvania Senate contest, where Trump-endorsed Dr Mehmet Oz, the celebrity TV doc, is hoping to win against two competitive challengers David McCormick and Kathy Barnette.

North Carolina’s US Senate seat up for grabs in 2022 is currently held by Sen Richard Burr, who is retiring. Democrat Cheri Beasley won her party’s primary for the seat on Tuesday by an even greater margin than did Mr Budd, and she will face the congressman in November.

Elsewhere in the Tar Heel state on Tuesday embattled congressman Madison Cawthorn, reeling from a series of scandals, is hoping Mr Trump’s endorsement will help him hold on to the seat he won for the first time in 2020.

The North Carolina Senate seat’s importance for Republicans is clear because should it fall into Democratic hands it will be much harder for the GOP, still smarting from its White House loss in 2020, to take back the Senate from a 50-50 Democratic majority.