RALEIGH — The conservative Club for Growth is taking aim at former Gov. Pat McCrory in television ads across North Carolina. The TV ads are aimed at making McCrory less popular with Republican primary voters. The group is also touting former President Donald Trump’s June endorsement of three-term U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in the race.
The Washington, D.C.-based group released part of a poll they conducted showing that the endorsement of Budd by Trump could prove decisive.
In a public memo, the group shows McCrory with a lead of 45% to 21% over Budd. Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker pulls in 13%, and 21% of those polled were undecided.
The memo states that the lead for McCrory is “unsurprising as 90% of Republican primary voters know who he is” and that Budd’s name ID was around half of McCrory’s.
When Republican voters were told of Trump’s endorsement of Budd, he subsequently led the race, with 52% to McCrory’s 28%. Walker suffered as well, falling to 8% of the vote.
“The Republican primary election for U.S. Senate is likely to swing to Ted Budd as more voters become aware of Donald Trump’s endorsement of Budd,” said WPA Intelligence pollster Bryon Allen in a statement.
The Raleigh News & Observer reported that TV ads totaling $3 million began last week and are set to run through November.
In one ad, Club for Growth targets McCrory over taxpayer incentives paid to a Chinese company during his tenure as governor.
The first game of the Carolina Panthers’ season featured a football-themed ad that calls McCrory a “two-time loser,” referencing his two losses for the state’s chief executive position in 2008 and 2016.
The ad buy also includes an ad using footage from the NCGOP convention in Greenville earlier this year in which Trump made his surprise endorsement of Budd.