Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC), the freshman U.S. Senator who just won in the 2022 midterm elections, is formally endorsing former President Donald Trump for president in 2024, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
Budd, who won the GOP nomination last year in a crowded primary in large part thanks to Trump’s early support, replaced longtime former Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) after a contentious general election. Budd held on through a tough campaign through November to defeat Democrat Cheri Beasley in the general election, and now he is joining several other U.S. Senators and House members in endorsing Trump in 2024.
“Just a few years ago America was strong, but now under Joe Biden, we are a nation in decline,” Budd said in a statement provided exclusively to Breitbart News ahead of its public release. “Our economy is faltering, our wide-open southern border is tragically wrecking lives, and our country’s power and influence in the world is diminished. Under President Trump, our economy saw record-setting growth, and families were starting to get ahead. Neighborhoods were safer. Across the globe, we were achieving peace. We were respected by allies and feared by enemies. That’s why I endorse Donald J. Trump for President. Hardworking, everyday families need a return of the America First agenda to restore prosperity and peace.”
Budd’s focus on Trump’s issue strengths, particularly the economy and America’s place on the world stage, show a push from Trump and his allies towards eyeing the general election in November 2024, in large part because party leaders and officials have begun coalescing behind Trump in recent weeks as he shows stronger and stronger numbers in public polling both nationally and in key states, both in the primary and in the general.
Budd joins several key Senate colleagues like Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in formally endorsing Trump for president in 2024. Vance, Mullin, Schmitt, and now Budd were all elected to the Senate in 2022.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has also formally endorsed Trump for president in 2024, and more than a dozen U.S. House Republicans have joined the team as well. Trump rolling out several key endorsements from Florida’s congressional delegation in recent weeks, including those of Reps. Byron Donalds (R-FL), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Cory Mills (R-FL), has reportedly perturbed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
NBC News reported this week that DeSantis, in the wake of Donalds and Mills endorsing Trump, has activated his political operation to try to stop more Florida Republicans from backing the former president again in 2024. NBC News’ Matt Dixon wrote:
Since Donalds came out for Trump, DeSantis’ team has called at least six members of Florida’s congressional delegation, asking that they hold off on making any endorsements in the near future. The members called by DeSantis’ team are: Reps. Aaron Bean, Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Laurel Lee and Greg Steube.
Even so, while political consultants tied to or working for DeSantis might be trying to stop more elected officials from endorsing Trump in Florida, it seems, given recent polling and the state of things heading into 2024, that their efforts may be futile.
In the wake of Trump’s arraignment after his indictment on charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump has skyrocketed in GOP presidential primary polling to a massive lead over DeSantis both in crowded fields and in head-to-head matchups. Trump currently leads in surveys in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, Utah, Texas, and more.
2024 Post-Indictment GOP Primary Polling
Trump — 59% (+41)
DeSantis — 18%
Trump — 52% (+32)
DeSantis — 20%
Trump — 41% (+21)
DeSantis — 20%
Trump — 41% (+18)
DeSantis — 23%
Trump — 41% (+15)
DeSantis — 26%
Trump — 43% (+8)
DeSantis — 35% pic.twitter.com/yxDYe3mnd4
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) April 12, 2023
No state surveyed recently shows DeSantis in the lead, and Trump’s lead is well into double digits in most places.
National surveys also show Trump leading by significant margins, sometimes as high as more than 30 percent, while DeSantis has significantly slid in recent weeks and months. While DeSantis has not yet announced a campaign, the trend line seems particularly disturbing to people in Tallahassee, as many even ardent DeSantis supporters have recently begun encouraging DeSantis to wait until 2028 instead and let Trump have another shot at the White House.
The U.S. constitution term limits presidents to two full terms in the White House, even if served non-consecutively, so win or lose 2024 is Trump’s last shot at the office—and in 2028 the White House will be vacant if Trump wins or incumbent Democrat President Joe Biden were to win.
Trump’s dominance in the primary polling notwithstanding, the former president has also across several surveys—at least two now from YouGov, and at least one from Rasmussen Reports—taken a noticeable lead over Biden in national general election polling. Biden’s team has signaled through leaks from the White House that they like Trump getting lots of attention on television—Trump’s arraignment last week was a full-scale daylong global event of which every moment played out on Americans’ screens nationwide—but the slide in Biden polling and their inability to break through the noise to get past Trump would suggest otherwise.
There is still a very long way to go until November 2024, though, and lots of things can happen between now and then. Trump faces investigations from other would-be threats like Special Counsel Jack Smith from the U.S. Department of Justice and from Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis, both of which may or may not also pursue formal charges against him. The political effect of all these investigations remains to be seen, but so far, at least in the wake of Bragg’s indictment of Trump, the constant onslaught—and the attention that comes with it—seems to be energizing Trump and his supporters.
Trump, meanwhile, has taken advantage of the intense national interest and used it as a reset to discuss policy objectives of a would-be second presidency. During an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson this week that aired Tuesday evening, for instance, Trump focused in large part on the threat of nuclear war and the concerns of Biden’s mishandling of the Russian war in Ukraine, his disastrous and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, and his lackluster approach to confronting the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. Taken together, along with more worldwide failures, Biden’s administration has represented an America in decline with a much less safe planet, something Trump has seized on as a core message that separates him not just from Biden but also actual and possible GOP primary contenders.