Former President Donald Trump on Saturday endorsed GOP Rep. Ted Budd in the North Carolina Senate race, making a surprise pick in a key contest for Republicans aiming to flip control of the chamber next year.
Trump’s endorsement came on stage as he addressed Republicans at the state party’s convention in Greenville, N.C., the former president’s first major speech in months. He announced his support of Budd shortly after his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, told the crowd that she would not run for Senate.
Trump’s endorsement is a major boost for Budd, who is running against former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker in the Senate primary. The three are running in the primary to replace GOP Sen. Richard Burr, who is not seeking another term.
North Carolina is expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country next year as Democrats defend their 50-50 Senate