In North Carolina, which is holding primary elections Tuesday, former President Donald Trump is trying to sway races for the US Senate and House in a state he won twice with narrow victories.
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Trump endorsed Republican Rep. Ted Budd for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Richard Burr, surprising many at last year’s state GOP convention. Budd’s top competitors in the 11-way primary are former US Rep. Mark Walker, who had actively sought Trump’s support, and former Gov. Pat McCrory, who is considered a moderate in the race, but is best known nationally for signing a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people in 2016 that cost the state billions.
On the Democratic side, Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, has appeared to clear her 11-person field of significant rivals. She would be North Carolina’s first Black US senator if she wins in November.
In congressional races, Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Madison Cawthorn in the 11th District didn’t stop establishment figures from opposing the 26-year-old first-term Republicanman.
Cawthorn — a speaker at the “Stop the Steal” rally before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol — has become vulnerable in recent weeks in an eight-candidate GOP primary. Sen. Thom Tillis has endorsed state legislator Chuck Edwards in the race.
Trump, in a post on his social media site Truth Social overnight Monday, urged voters to give Cawthorn “a second chance,” acknowledging the candidate had recently made some “foolish mistakes.”
In two Democratic-leaning districts, Democrats are holding robust primaries for the nominations to succeed the retiring Rep. David Price in the 4th District and Rep. GK Butterfield in the 1st District. Former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken is among the Democratic candidates running for Price’s seat.
In the open 13th District, considered a toss-up in November, the Republican field includes Bo Hines, a former college football player endorsed by Trump.
Tuesday’s primary may not be the final word for would-be nominees: First-place candidates must get more than 30 percent of the vote to avoid a July 26 runoff.