Former North Carolina governor set to launch Senate bid

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is preparing to launch a bid for the state’s Senate seat this week, according to a prominent North Carolina Republican strategist.

McCrory was first elected to the governor’s mansion in 2012 but lost reelection in 2016 to Democrat Roy Cooper. Many Democrats have attributed McCrory’s loss, in part, to his decision to sign legislation that aimed to ban transgender people from bathrooms that match their gender identity.  

The same source also said Rep. Tedd Budd (R-N.C.) is strongly considering a bid as well. Additionally, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) is polling his own potential strength as a statewide contender, according to one North Carolina Republican who was polled. Robinson, 52, won election just last year.

The former governor would be entering the Republican primary to replace outgoing Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) has also declared a bid, while former President Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who worked on his campaign and is a North Carolina native, is also said to be considering a run. 

The Tar Heel State’s Senate race, which will take place in 2022, is thought to be one of the most competitive of the campaign cycle.

The race will likely play a major role in deciding which party controls the upper chamber. Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Senate, with Vice President Harris serving as a tie-breaking vote.

History also shows that the sitting president’s party usually loses seats during the first midterm of the presidential term. However, Democrats maintain the seat is a prime pickup. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.” 

On the Democratic side, Air Force veteran and Beaufort, N.C., Mayor Rett Newton announced a bid last week, joining state Sen. Jeff Jackson (D), former state Sen. Erica Smith (D) and Richard Watkins. Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is also expected to launch a campaign for the seat. 

The Hill has reached out to McCrory for comment.

—Reid Wilson contributed to this report. Updated at 2:17 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Lara Trump Mark Walker Richard Burr

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