Jun 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump endorses N.C. Rep. Ted Budd for Senate as Lara Trump declines to run

Former U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Ted Budd announce he's running for the NC Senate at the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina.

Rep. Ted Budd on stage with Former President Trump at the N.C. GOP state convention in Greenville, North Carolina, on Saturday. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former President Trump said Saturday that North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd has his "complete and total endorsement" to replace the state's retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.

Why it matters: The 2022 race for Burr's seat is set to be one of the most watched in the U.S. It could determine the balance of power in the Senate, which is technically split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris having the tie-breaker vote.

  • Trump made the endorsement at the 2021 North Carolina GOP state convention in his first public appearance outside his home state of Florida since leaving office in January.

The big picture: Trump vowed on stage at the convention that "we're going to campaign with" Budd, who joins a packed Republican primary field.

  • His endorsement came after his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who had been tipped to run, said "no for now" to entering the race — though she added, "Not no forever."
  • Other Republican candidates in the primary race include former state Gov. Pat McCrory and former N.C. Rep. Mark Walker.
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