Budd fended off a field that included former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker in the race to replace Sen. Richard Burr, whose retirement has turned North Carolina into one of the most closely watched Senate races on the 2022 midterm calendar.
His win sets up a showdown with Democratic former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who is vying to make history by becoming North Carolina’s first Black senator.
With the Senate split evenly between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, the GOP’s hopes of winning a majority in November rest in part on its ability to hold onto the seats of retiring Republicans in two swing states that held primaries Tuesday: North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Budd had powerful support in the Republican primary. He was the first non-incumbent who Trump endorsed in the 2022 cycle, and he was also backed by the conservative Club for Growth’s political arm, which spent more than $11 million bolstering Budd and casting McCrory as too liberal. The Club for Growth and Trump have been at odds in other races, including Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Trump’s endorsement was not enough to clear the field. The former President told former Rep. Mark Walker that he would endorse him in a House race if he were to exit the Senate primary, an offer Walker rejected. Still, Budd consolidated support from conservative voters, despite Walker’s attempts to challenge him for that same pool of voters.