RALEIGH — Three-term U.S. Rep. Ted Budd is poised to join the growing 2022 Republican primary field to replace Richard Burr in the U.S. Senate.
Budd, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016, is a native of Davie County and the owner of a successful Piedmont Triad gun shop. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and has been a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus in his three terms.
Michael Luethy, a state political consultant who has helped lead Budd’s campaigns for Congress, told North State Journal that Budd was leaning towards running for Senate, but “no final decision has been made.”
Luethy added that his final decision would come sooner than later.
The Republican field is shaping up in the month of April, as Budd and former Gov. Pat McCrory consider joining former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker in the race.
Walker has been running for the seat since December 2020, starting earlier than the other candidates, a trait of Walker’s first run for Congress in 2014.
Both Budd and Walker have represented the Triad area in Congress, and Budd leads the money race — according to the latest Federal Election Commission reports — with around $232,000 more than Walker in reports filed in January of this year.
Lara Trump, the New Hanover County native and daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, is increasingly unlikely to enter the primary.
Notably, Budd is the only current elected official eyeing the Senate race.
Walker opted not to run in any race in 2020 following a court-mandated redistricting session that shifted the makeup of his district and led to the election of Greensboro Democrat Kathy Manning to the seat.
McCrory, meanwhile, has hosted a radio show on Charlotte’s WBT since his 2016 gubernatorial loss to Roy Cooper.
Walker came out firing at McCrory’s expected announcement, saying, “Taking back the Senate majority hinging on our success in North Carolina, why would we gamble on Pat McCrory — a career politician who has lost more statewide races than he’s won?”
“He (McCrory) has routinely attacked conservatives including President Trump, and if Pat wasn’t good enough for Trump’s administration, he’s not good enough for our state. I am running for the U.S. Senate to provide North Carolina with its first real conservative senator in years,” Walker added.
Budd’s entry into the Senate race will also impact the state’s Congressional redistricting plans later this year. The Piedmont-focused area Budd represents, which is solidly Republican, also would likely produce a crowded field to replace him. In 2016, 17 candidates ran for the nomination.