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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.

Go deeper

Trump hints at 2024 White House run during 9/11 visit

Former President Donald Trump. Photo: Andy Jacobsohn /AFP via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that it's an "easy question" whether he'll run for office in 2024 while talking to firefighters and police officers in New York City on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The big picture: Trump skipped the day's official events in lieu of his campaign-style appearance with first responders. He is also scheduled to provide commentary for a pay-per-view boxing match Saturday night in Florida.

Updated Sep 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump visits NYC but opts out of official ceremony on 20th anniversary of 9/11

Former President Donald Trump struck a divisive tone as he visited New York City on Saturday, opting not to participate in the official ceremony at Ground Zero honoring the victims of the terrorist attacks.

Why it matters: The 45th president's remarks were in sharp contrast to the calls for unity from President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President George W. Bush, who alluded to the Capitol insurrection and the dangers of homegrown extremists in his own remarks in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, which has been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin.