According to a report in the conservative Washington Examiner, the North Carolina Republican party buried the results of a straw poll taken at last week's convention that illustrated Donald Trump's waning influence with the party faithful.
Last Saturday Trump appeared at the North Carolina GOP convention in what was called his" coming out" party after being exiled to first Florida and now New Jersey after losing re-election to now-President Joe Biden.
What some Trump insiders hoped would be a tentative launch for a 2024 presidential bid instead became bogged down in commentary about Trump's "slurring speech" and questions about whether the former president was wearing his pants backward. He wasn't.
Less remarked upon was the ex-president's surprise endorsement of Rep. Ted Budd (R) for an open U.S Senate seat representing North Carolina, that led to some awkwardness for the state's GOP leadership.
According to the Times, Trump's endorsement held little sway with the convention attendees who took part in a straw poll on who should get the nod for the GOP nomination.
"The North Carolina Republican Party sat on the results of a straw poll that former Rep. Mark Walker won by a country mile," the Times' David Drucker reported. "Walker topped Budd 44% to 29.4% in a survey to gauge who grassroots Republicans support for Senate in the 2022 primary. Former Gov. Pat McCrory finished third, with 17.5%, in voting conducted at the annual state GOP convention."
While Drucker added, "The North Carolina Republican Party insists the results were not withheld to avoid embarrassing Trump," he also reported that the timing of the release of the poll results was unusual.
"State party officials shared the outcome privately with the candidates. But for two days, they refused to publicize to media outlets or the public. When the North Carolina Republican Party finally acknowledged the straw poll, the tally was buried at the bottom of a newsletter detailing the highlights of the weekend-long convention and emailed out in the evening after regular business hours," Drucker reported.
As for the GOP leadership of the state, they distanced themselves from Trump's selection, with state party chairman Michael Whatley issuing a statement reading, "When President Trump endorsed Congressman Ted Budd for U.S. Senate, he was not speaking on behalf of the NCGOP. He made the endorsement completely independently, and the NCGOP was not aware of the endorsement prior to his speech. The NCGOP will continue to remain neutral in all primary races."
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