By Dallas Woodhouse
Carolina Journal News Service
RALEIGH — In a creative campaign video, highlighting a monster truck shown “crushing the liberal agenda,” 13th District U.S. Rep. Ted Budd entered the U.S. Senate race Wednesday morning, April 28.
Budd is shown in the video driving a red “Ted Budd U.S. Senate” monster truck over three junk cars labeled “Liberal Agenda.”
Carolina Journal first reported April 8 that Budd would enter the high-profile Senate race.
Budd becomes the third major Republican candidate to enter the race. He joins former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker. As of now on the GOP side, it is a three-man race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.
The video has a direct appeal to Trump supporters, with clips of former President Trump praising Budd in previous campaign rallies.
Trump is shown saying, “Ted Budd is a champion for the people of this state. … He voted to cut your taxes, build a border wall, and protect your Second Amendment rights. … Ted, what a great warrior you’ve been.”
Fox News is reporting that Budd was at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, last weekend for a fundraiser and talked with the former president about his likely bid for the Senate.
The video includes Budd criticizing President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I believe in freedom, capitalism, and putting America first,” Budd state. “And that whole defund-the-police thing is crazy.”
“Biden is a weak leader who won’t stand up to the radical left,” Budd said, adding that “the U.S. Senate is the last line of defense against becoming a woke socialist wasteland. And I’m running to stop that. Period.”
Budd twice mentions his Davie County background. He graduated from Davie County High School and Appalachian State University. He also earned his master’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University. He owns a gun store in Rural Hall.
Budd focuses the video on growing up on a family farm. “I’ve shoveled a lot of manure on my family’s farm, and it’s not the dirtiest job that I’ve ever had now that I’ve been to Congress.”
Budd was first elected to a new 13th District in 2016 after courts ordered new congressional district maps.
The 13th currently includes some high-performing GOP counties that would be key in the 2022 U.S. Senate GOP primary, including all of Davidson and Davie counties and parts of Guilford Iredell, and Rowan counties.
Michael Luethy, who managed Budd’s two winning congressional campaigns, will once again serve as Budd’s primary campaign consultant. “Congressman Budd will bring a unique voice to the race,” Luethy told CJ. “He is a small business owner who serves on the Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Budd can bring the message we don’t need to grow government; the key to success is growing small business in our rural and urban parts of North Carolina.”
Budd won his first campaign with backing from the Club for Growth, which is encouraging his U.S. Senate run and is likely to spend heavily in independent efforts to assist his primary efforts.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson and former state Sen. Erica Smith have already jumped into the race for the Democratic Senate nomination, and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced her candidacy this week. CJ also reported that some top-level Democrats were engaged in a high-stakes recruiting effort to get Dr. Mandy Cohen into the Democratic primary. Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, is an appointee of Gov. Roy Cooper. Political observers consider her a Cooper loyalist.
Virologist Richard Watkins and Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton are also in the Democratic field.
Along with Luethy, consultant Jonathan Felts, who makes a cameo in the Budd for Senate campaign video as the “director,” is also assisting in the effort.