The anticipated decision Tuesday of former Rep. Mark Walker to abandon his bid for the Republican Senate nomination and instead seek a return to the House from a newly carved district in North Carolina surprises relatively few observers of Tarheel State politics.
Walker had consistently been running third in most polls, behind former Gov. Pat McCrory and fellow Rep. Ted Budd (who carries the blessing of Donald Trump, the most-sought endorsement for anyone in a contested GOP primary).
The expectation is that without Walker, the Trump base among North Carolina Republicans will coalesce around Budd and be a big assist in helping him catch front-runner McCrory.
''If Walker bows out, it's Budd's to lose,'' veteran North Carolina political analyst Marc Rotterman told Newsmax. ''This is base election. And the base of the North Carolina Republican Party overwhelmingly supports former President Trump.''
McCrory and his supporters have long insisted that the former governor has a cordial relationship with Trump. But as Rotterman put it, ''fair or not, former Gov. McCrory is perceived as a ‘Never Trumper.’''
A Cygnal Poll earlier this month showed McCrory leading Budd among likely GOP voters by 24% to 19%, with Walker trailing at 7%.
The primary was initially scheduled for March 8, but court challenges to the lines drawn by the Republican-ruled Legislature have resulted in it being postponed to an unspecified later date.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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