Reports: Pat McCrory preparing to launch U.S. Senate bid

Former North Carolina Republican governor Pat McCrory may jump into the 2022 U.S. Senate race as early as this week, according to Politico.

Former Congressman Mark Walker (R) became the first Republican last December to declare a run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Richard Burr (R).

McCrory is expected to make an announcement about his future plans Wednesday on his Charlotte radio show.

Here’s more from Politico reporter James Arkin:

McCrory has been expected to run for Senate for months, but he has not publicly indicated that a decision was finalized. He’s expected to formally launch the campaign this week and has been assembling a state and national team for the campaign, according to a source familiar with his plans.

North Carolina is expected to be one of the most expensive races in the country next year and is a key state for Republicans to hold as they aim to win back the Senate majority from Democrats, who control the chamber 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties.

Former Rep. Mark Walker is the only major Republican candidate in the race so far and has been consolidating endorsements since launching his campaign in December. Rep. Ted Budd is also seriously considering a bid. Lara Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law and campaign adviser, has said she is considering running in her native North Carolina but has not yet taken any public steps toward launching a campaign.

Recent polling conducted for McCrory shows he would enter the race with a large lead over Walker and Budd, as well as extremely high name identification among likely Republican primary voters, according to a copy of the polling memo obtained by POLITICO. His high name ID and an early lead in a hypothetical primary matchup are not surprising given his past statewide campaigns and one term as the state’s governor, while neither of the potential opponents has run statewide before.

The survey was conducted by Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, and the memo was addressed to McCrory and Paul Shumaker, a veteran Republican operative in the state who has worked with Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). Shumaker declined to comment Monday morning.

The memo said McCrory was viewed favorably by 58 percent of likely primary voters and unfavorably by 13 percent. Walker was viewed favorably by 20 percent of GOP voters and unfavorably by 4 percent; Budd was viewed favorably by 16 percent and unfavorably by 5 percent.

McCrory led with nearly half the vote in a hypothetical three-way matchup: 48 percent, compared to 13 percent for Walker and 9 percent for Budd. He also led both in one-on-one matchups. The polling memo did not include Lara Trump.

Read the full story on Politico.

A Meredith College poll of nearly 700 North Carolina voters conducted in March found most voters understandably undecided about the open Senate seat in 2022, with name recognition helping Lara Trump earn 27% of the vote. McCrory held 16.6% of the potential vote in that poll.

Republican Congressman Ted Budd (NC-13) is also exploring his options for higher office.

Source: Meredith College poll

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