A civil war has broken out in North Carolina among Republicans over who will get the nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat after Donald Trump made a surprise endorsement weeks ago during a speech in the state.
At issue is the Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R) who is supporting North Carolina's former GOP governor, Pat McCrory to replace him -- which puts him in conflict with Trump's choice of lesser-known Rep. Ted Budd (R).
According to a report from Politico, "One Republican senator said Burr is 'telling everyone that McCrory is the only one that has a chance to win.' And the laid-back incumbent, who voted to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection in February, also appeared puzzled by the former president's decision-making in North Carolina."
The worry among Republicans in the state is that an ugly war for the nomination could leave a bruised nominee running against a Democratic opponent in a state that is increasingly turning blue and was once considered a safe Republican stronghold
"As Democratic Washington becomes consumed with the challenges of enacting President Joe Biden's agenda, Republican politics still revolve around Trump. But the open question is how long Trump's dominance will last: Budd's internal poll released after the former president's endorsement showed him lagging badly behind McCrory. Trump has lost his Twitter megaphone and the round-the-clock news coverage he had as president, potentially hamstringing the effectiveness of his seal of approval," the report states.
According to former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), Trump may have saddled Republicans with a candidate without a clear path to a general election win, whereas McGrory is a known commodity although he has his own baggage having lost re-election as governor.
"I don't see how [Budd] can win a general election," Walker lamented before adding, "This, to me, is kind of a Roy Moore situation if you're not careful."
Walker also noted that Trump could create more headaches for the North Carolina GOP.
"Right now, I still think Pat [McCrory] is the favorite due to running so many times statewide. However, I believe President Trump will unload on McCrory, which is going to damage him in a Republican primary when you have more people paying attention," Walker said.
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