Republicans throughout North Carolina are still reeling over the announcement last week by Rep. Ted Budd that he will seek the Republican nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr in 2022.
In a primary that so far includes former Gov. Pat McCrory and former three-term Rep. Mark Walker, Budd, 49, is inarguably the least known of the trio.
But Budd feels strongly that his “working background” and Trump-like outsider status is what is needed to win the primary and election.
A small businessman, he overcame 16 opponents to win the Tar heel State’s 13th District in 2016. Now he is now giving up a seat he has made safely Republican to run in one of the nation’s most uncertain Senate contests anywhere.
“This is about holding this [Senate] seat and gaining more seats so that we can regain control of the Senate so that we can stop the radical left agenda,” Budd told Newsmax hours after his announcement, “And it’s about putting forth our agenda that can bring forth freedom, opportunity, and hope — not only to this generation but to the next generation.”
Budd believes his business background and his belief that “we just need more working people in Congress” sets him aside from his opponents.
In his words, “I want to stand up for the same working families President Trump stood up for. And I can do this because of the mix in my background: being a risk-taker, making a payroll weekend and week out, growing up on a family farm, a janitorial and landscaping background, unloading trucks in 120 degrees — and not being from big government or a career politician.”
Rather than discuss any of his opponents for nomination, Budd did discuss the possible “star” candidate who isn’t there — not yet, anyway — and may not run after accepting an on-air position with Fox News.
“Lara Trump may retain the option [of running],” said Budd, “She certainly has a unique capability in her relationship with the former president — having the Trump name. Lara was a great friend to me and helped my race in 2016 when I was first running.”
But he made clear he is in the race to stay and is already trying to secure the blessings of former President Donald Trump.
“I’ve [met with Trump] multiple times at Mar-a-Lago,” Budd told us, “He understands that Lara is considering her options and she certainly has a lot of opportunity ahead and that’s up to her. What I can tell you is I’m in the race.”
Nearly all conversation about Trump and politics eventually works its way back to the events at the Capitol January 6. Is it fair to blame Trump, we asked, for any of the violence?
“I blame the lack of transparency for what happened,” replied the congressman, “Not only do you have to have full transparency and election integrity, you have to have free and fair elections.
So I think the lack of transparency at the state level for six or so states really created so much angst that people came to the Capitol to express that. Of course, there were some bad actors in the crowd. You want to support law and order, whether it’s on the streets or in our nation’s capital. Protests were warranted. The violence was not.”
Budd does believe, however that “at the end of the day, Joe Biden was the rightful president.”
The North Carolinian signaled some of the broadsides he intends to fire at the agenda of Biden and congressional Democrats,
“They are very destructive policies,” he stressed, “The messaging is bipartisan but the reality is that they are very leftist, very progressive, and very destructive. Look at HR 1, which is about election takeover. Look at the infrastructure bill, but 50 per cent has nothing to do with infrastructure. It is very deceptive and it has a lot to do with spending. His attack on the 2nd Amendment is of great concern.”
Budd had no interest in discussing the Democratic primary, in which ten candidates are already in the race. Many Democrats privately hope State Sen. and National Guard Captain Jeff Jackson becomes their nominee because he is considered a centrist.
“Joe Biden used to be a moderate,” Budd shot back, “Once people get to Washington, they throw away the garb of moderation and they run hard to the left. In the Senate, they support [Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer and they just vote ‘yes’ on all these radical proposals. You don’t see anyone as the conscience of their party.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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