GOP Candidates Trade Blows At Candidate Forum

The GOP circus came to Moore County last week as local Republicans held a candidate forum for the U.S. Senate primary. McCrory and Walker “leveled sharp criticism” and “stepped up their attacks” on Budd as he continues to gain ground in public polling and benefit from millions of dollars in support thanks to Club for Growth Action.

McCrory lashed out at Club for Growth, calling their mailer “full of lies,” while Walker questioned Budd’s independence, saying: “Somebody spends $6 (million) or $7 million on you, who owns that voting card?” Budd’s team fired back, calling McCrory a “thin-skinned, professional politician” who “doesn’t like to be held accountable for his mistakes.” 

North Carolina Republicans enter 2022 in a combative, negative primary. Check out the latest nasty infighting:   

News & Observer: Republican U.S. Senate candidates unite, targeting fellow candidate on the rise in polls 

  • With just a few months left until North Carolina’s U.S. Senate primary, two Republican candidates stepped up their attacks on a third endorsed by former President Donald Trump and steadily moving up in the polls.  
  • Former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker each leveled sharp criticism of U.S. Rep. Ted Budd and the political action committee supporting him at the Moore County Republican Men’s Club luncheon Thursday afternoon — a sign they may be growing concerned by his rise, though they say otherwise.
  • Budd spoke to attendees via video conference because he was in Washington, D.C., for votes, but did not mention other candidates in his speech. He also only mentioned his most important backer, the former president, once, in the context of foreign affairs. /p>
  • McCrory, by contrast, slammed the group backing Budd, which FEC reports show has spent more than $3.5 million in support of Budd and nearly $500,000 in opposition to McCrory. McCrory then called out to Walker from his small stage. “Ain’t that right, Mark?” McCrory asked. 
  • “100 percent,” Walker replied from the crowd.  
  • McCrory, a former governor and former Charlotte mayor has led in the polls in recent months, according to internal polling from both McCrory’s and Budd’s campaigns. McCrory’s lead is shrinking and Budd’s is rising, however, according to those same polls. 
  • For Growth Action, which backed Budd in his 2016 U.S. House race, has committed to spending $10 million to support Budd’s election to the Senate. It’s spent millions already for ads touting Trump’s endorsement of Budd and for ads critical of McCrory. It also sent out a full-color mailer attacking McCrory. 
  • “They’re throwing ads out there that are the most deceptive, deceiving ads. You ought to, if you get a mail out, put it in the fireplace. It’s full of lies,” McCrory said.  
  • Budd’s campaign pushed back on that. “Since 2016, Governor Pat McCrory has failed to support President Trump’s America-First Agenda,” Budd senior advisor Jonathan Felts said in a text. “Now he’s being held accountable for it, and like the thin-skinned, professional politician he is, Governor McCrory doesn’t like to be held accountable for his mistakes.” 
  • “This is the voting card given to every member of the US Congress,” Walker said, holding his up to show the crowd. “Somebody spends $6 (million) or $7 million on you, who owns that voting card? Do you? Or those people that tell you?”