The larger-than-expected triumph Tuesday of Trump-backed Rep. Ted Budd in the Republican primary for U.S. senator is likely to have a far-reaching impact on North Carolina and the Republican Party.
Several political experts from the Tarheel State told Newsmax that Budd's stunning (58.6% to 24.6%) win over former Gov. Pat McCrory is a strong sign that the GOP has moved to the populist right and finally defeated the party's so-called moneyed "establishment" wing.
"Congressman Budd's decisive victory represents a major paradigm shift in Republican politics," veteran Raleigh political analyst Marc Rotterman told Newsmax. "It's a huge loss for the establishment and the insiders in Charlotte and Raleigh."
Rotterman also warned that this is "only the beginning" and "a cautionary tale for Republican candidates who want to run statewide in 2024 and '26. If you ignore the base, you do so at your own peril."
Fueled by that base, his endorsement from Trump, and a $14 million independent expenditure by the Club for Growth, three-term Rep. Budd, 49, overtook the much better-known early favorite McCrory.
McCrory supporter Phil Kirk, one-time state senator and past president of the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry (NCCBI), told us he felt "some of the Club Growth ads are outright lies, and others are misleading. The Trump support certainly helped in the primary but not in the general election."
Kirk said he had told Budd he would vote for him if he were the nominee "but that was before he was embraced by Trump and the Club for Growth. I will, however, keep my commitment because I don't want [liberal former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court] Cheri Beasley to get to the Senate."
Beasley, who handily won the Senate primary Tuesday for the Democrats, lost her bid for re-election as chief justice by 402 votes two years ago.
Rotterman said he sees the trend toward populism within the Republican Party has similar counterparts in other states. In West Virginia, 10 GOP members of the state Legislature went down in primaries. In Idaho, conservative swashbuckler and former Rep. Raul Labrador won a stunning landslide in the Republican primary for attorney general over a 20-year incumbent.
On Tuesday, the triumph of Trump-backed state Sen. Doug Mastriano over two establishment Republicans for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Pennsylvania made national headlines.
Clearly, this is a pattern that is going to be watched closely in the coming primaries elsewhere.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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