Club for Growth launches $10 million in ad spending for US Senate primary

Former Gov. Pat McCrory (left) and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (right) are featured in this combination photo. Photo of McCrory via AP

RALEIGH — The Club for Growth, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative organization, announced it was increasing its spending to boost U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in the state’s competitive 2022 Republican U.S. Senate primary. 

The Club for Growth’s political arm has already spent $4 million backing Budd, according to a Breitbart story about the plan on Friday. The report confirmed that the group was spending $10 million in digital and television ads over the next two months. 

A publicly available media plan details the organization’s strategy. 

“As of Feb. 22nd, 27% of Republican primary voters are aware of President Trump’s endorsement. Ted Budd is winning 54% to 25% among those who are aware of the endorsement. He is losing by 33% among those who are not aware of the endorsement,” the media plan says. “During CFGA’s media buy that included 3000 GRPs in September through October, the Trump endorsement awareness increased from 21% to 45% statewide. This number has faded while CFGA has been dark the last two months. We need to get this number to 60% to comfortably compete in this race.” 

The most concentrated advertising will be done in the Greensboro-High Point-Winston-Salem TV market, nearly doubling the amount in the state’s other media markets. 

The increased spending is more than the amount of money raised by the candidates in the primary. 

Budd surpassed former Gov. Pat McCrory’s fundraising at the end of 2021, and the contest is shaping up as a battle between the two, with former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and Marjorie K. Eastman also earning support among primary voters, according to polls released by the campaigns. 

McCrory’s campaign has attacked Budd on foreign policy, accusing the three-term congressman of being “soft” on Russia and Vladimir Putin. 

In the former governor’s first TV ad of the primary, McCrory cuts portions of an interview Budd gave to Raleigh TV station CBS 17. 

The Associated Press said that the ad omits the full quote. 

According to the AP report, Budd said, “I would say Putin is evil, but that doesn’t mean he’s not smart. He’s a very intelligent actor, although I would say he’s been quite erratic in his approach to the Ukraine. It was very predictable what he would do, but at the same time, Putin is evil. He’s an international thug, but he is intelligent, so we have to treat him as such.” 

The snippet in McCrory’s ad focuses on Budd calling him “smart” and a “very intelligent actor.”

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Matt Mercer is the editor in chief of North State Journal and can be reached at [email protected]