Ted Cruz endorses Budd in US Senate primary

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

RALEIGH — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the latest national figure to back U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in the upcoming U.S. Senate Republican primary.

“I’m proud to endorse Ted Budd for U.S. Senate in North Carolina,” said Cruz in a statement. “Ted Budd will defend conservative principles and be a bulwark against the disastrous Biden agenda. He will protect the sanctity of life, fight for school choice, and safeguard the Second Amendment. I ask my fellow conservatives in North Carolina to join me in supporting Ted Budd.”

Budd’s campaign team noted that Cruz was first elected against a longtime state politician in Texas in 2012.

“Ted Cruz started his first U.S. Senate campaign down 29% to an Establishment favorite. Ted Budd started his first U.S. Senate campaign down 38% to an Establishment favorite,” the campaign’s email reads.

Budd said of Cruz’s endorsement, “Ted Cruz and I both know what it’s like to be told not to run because the Establishment has decided to anoint one of their own. Conservative principles are being challenged every day and it’s critically important we have conservative fighters representing North Carolina’s working families in the U.S. Senate and crushing the Biden agenda. That’s why I’m running.”

Budd has the air of a frontrunner in the race.

His opponents have criticized him for not appearing at TV debates, although the candidates spent months speaking at county-level forums across the state.

He has adopted a “100-county tour” strategy, making stops in the past week in Richmond County and Wayne County, among others that rarely see attention in a statewide primary. In addition, the Club for Growth’s political arm has continued its barrage of advertising against former Gov. Pat McCrory over issues relating to his tenure as governor.

Budd’s team also released a campaign video about how he and his wife, Amy Kate, met while on a missions trip in the former Soviet Union.

Early in-person voting begins on Thursday, April 28 for the May 17 primary.