Two major events in the last week have shaken up the GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).
"Backroom deal-making threatened to shake up North Carolina’s Republican Senate primary last week. Now, it’s given way to public brawling," Politico reported Friday. "On Saturday, former Rep. Mark Walker got Trump’s word he would endorse Walker to run in a newly drawn congressional district if he exited the Senate race, a shift that was expected to serve as a boost for Budd. But on Thursday, after days had passed without an official endorsement announcement from Trump, Walker said he will remain in the Senate race for now, and he will continue to consider a House run through the end of the year. The Associated Press first reported Walker’s latest thinking."
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) had endorsed Walker's bid in February and reportedly was at the meeting figuring out an exit strategy for his candidate. A flier Cawthorn handed out at the meeting with Trump may have violated House Ethics rules.
With Trump having failed to-date at clearing the primary, the race has been getting nastier.
"Negative attacks are ratcheting up in the fight for the open seat. A 12-page mailer landed in voters’ mailboxes this week calling former Gov. Pat McCrory 'fatally flawed' and criticizing his ethics, while TV ads hammered him as a 'Trump-hater, liberal faker' and attacked McCrory for endorsing Mitt Romney for president in 2012. They’re all paid for by the Club for Growth’s super PAC, part of a multimillion dollar effort to back Ted Budd (R-N.C.), who has received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement in the Senate race," Politico reported.
The nasty race is now going to last two months longer than was scheduled.
"Walker’s deliberations aren’t the only thing hanging over the primary: The contest’s negative turn, heralded by the wave of new ads this week solely targeting McCrory, could leave the eventual GOP nominee bloodied and cash-poor ahead of the general election in a state Trump narrowly won twice," Politico reported. "Meanwhile, that fight just got longer. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered North Carolina’s primaries delayed two months, from March 8 to May 17, as other courts consider cases challenging North Carolina’s congressional and legislative maps as illegal gerrymanders."
Read the full report.