The Jacksonville Daily News recently reported that former Rep. Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican and one of the first candidates to seek the nomination for the state’s open Senate seat, is still upset that former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd instead of him — and speculated that it was an “orchestrated” plot by Mark Meadows, Trump’s former Chief of Staff and also a former congressman from North Carolina.
Walker told USA Today:
“Ah — my first thought — it was that Mark Meadows had orchestrated this whole event,”
The event in question was held by the Fayetteville Republican Women’s Club to celebrate Trump’s 75th birthday on Monday, according to Paul Woolverton. “Walker accused Meadows of not telling Trump that Walker led a straw poll of Republican delegates earlier that day for the GOP 2022 Senate nomination,” wrote Woolverton.
Budd received the endorsement shortly before Trump took the stage two weeks ago for a speech at the North Carolina Republican convention.
Budd does currently not lead in the polls for the Republican nomination, in spite of the Trump nod. A poll strangely touted by Budd himself shows him down over 25 points to former Governor Pat McCrory, who called him a “Washington insider” who is “not electable.”
Trump’s meddling in Republican state politics hasn’t worked out well thus far. Look no further than Georgia, where state Republicans continue to blame former President Donald Trump for costing them the Senate seats of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the January runoff, while Republicans nationally also by and large thusly blame him for losing their Senate majority, many in the southern state are worried that the damage Trump has done to them is not over.
Speaking to The Hill, Georiga Governor Brian Kemp wondered if Trump’s actions could cost them the governorship next year, as activist Stacey Abrams appears to be gearing up for a 2022 rematch of the 2018 race between herself and Kemp.
Another Georgia Republican echoed those thoughts to The Hill:
“He’s done a real number on us already. My concern is Trump becomes a distraction. You never want to have to deal with nonsense, and right now we really can’t afford his nonsense.”
A former GOP Senate campaign aide addedl that Trump’s unfounded claims of a “rigged” and “stolen” election in Georgia last year sunk their plans to blitz then Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock with damaging opposition research dumps:
“There was loads of good [opposition research] on Warnock, and it didn’t come out until the runoff. By that time, he looked like the nice guy — the guy who hugs puppies.”
State GOP officials are fully expecting that Donald Trump will once against insert himself into Georgia’s elections, as he’s already endorsed a primary opponent against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as part of his pledge to “primary” any and all Republicans at every level who he believes did not do enough to help him overturn the election.
Another Republican campaign aide explained:
“There’s going to be some rough primaries. I don’t think there’s a way around that… everyone is going to be going after that Trump endorsement and tearing each other apart to get it.”