NC Republicans in no rush to support Trump

Illustration of the state of North Carolina as if it were the zipper emoji.

Image: Maura Losch/Axios

North Carolina’s top-elected Republicans are in no rush to endorse former President Trump after he announced his 2024 presidential nomination earlier this week.

Why it matters: While top Republicans across the country are already defecting from Trump, who won the state in 2016 and 2020, North Carolinas are simply staying calm.

  • Particularly silent are the incumbent and recently elected officials who have benefited from his endorsements in recent years.

“Said he was the leader of our party,” said former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who lost to Trump-backed Ted Budd in this year’s Republican Senate primary, of elected officials yet to endorse Trump. “They used his name to raise money and seek his endorsement.”

Driving the news: Axios asked every recently elected Republican in the US Senate and state House of Representatives if they plan to support Trump. No one responded, and none appear to have publicly expressed support for the former president, including Rep. Richard Hudson, who was elected chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday and vowed to support Trump even before announcing it reported Politico.

Yes but: The election is in two years.

  • “[The announcement] just happened last night, but I think most of them are in wait-and-see mode,” former Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye said Tuesday.

New survey (yes, already): Of 600 North Carolinans polled in a poll commissioned by the conservative Carolina Partnership for Reform, 46% said they have a positive view of Florida Gov. Ron Desantis. President Biden and Trump had the same sympathy ratings at 41% each.

  • Among Republican voters and nonpartisan voters who participated in Republican primary elections, a hefty proportion — 47% — said they would prefer Republicans to nominate someone new for the presidential race. 44% said they would like to see Trump run again.
  • However, the difference between the two answers is within the 4% margin of error of the survey.

Using the numbers: Trump has won every race he has raced in North Carolina, even when the state was elected Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in 2016 and 2020. That’s how it’s done:

  • 2016 primary: He placed first in a field of 12 candidates and received 40.23% of the vote, defeating Ted Cruz (36.76%), John Kasich (12.67%) and Marco Rubio (7.73%) to overtake.
  • 2016 overall: Beat Hillary Clinton by nearly 175,000 votes, or nearly 4 percentage points. McCrory also lost to Cooper.
  • Primary 2020: Received 94% of the vote, and runner-up “don’t care” with 2.5%.
  • 2020 overall: Beat Joe Biden by about 74,000 votes, a margin of 1.34%.

The bottom line: The only notable Republican from North Carolina to endorse Trump this week was scandal-plagued US Rep. Madison Cawthorn. who said“I will follow this man until the day I die.”

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