RALEIGH, N.C. — Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has launched a bid for the state’s open Senate seat.
“For the last few years, I’ve sat on the sidelines and watched people like Chuck Schumer & the far-left drag this country toward radical liberal policies,” he said in his announcement. “I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore. So I’m in!”
McCrory was elected in 2012 and lost reelection in 2016. When he launched his campaign, he became the early frontrunner in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.
He has been putting together a state team and national team in preparation for the launch of his campaign, a source familiar with the former governor’s plans tells Politico.
North Carolina is a key state for Republicans to hold as they plan to win the Senate majority back from the Democrats. The North Carolina race is expected to be one of the most expensive throughout the country in 2022.
The only major Republican who has entered the race so far is former Rep. Mark Walker. He launched his campaign in December and has been consolidating endorsements since then.
Rep. Ted Budd is also considering running for the open Senate seat. Lara Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law and campaign adviser, has said she is considering running in her native North Carolina as well. She hasn’t publicly mentioned launching a campaign.
McCrory enters the race with a sizable lead over Walker and Budd, according to recent polling conducted by Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies for McCrory.
McCrory also has the advantage of extremely high name recognition among Republicans who are likely to vote in the primary.
The memo conducted by Public Opinion Strategies was addressed to McCrory and Paul Shumaker, who is a veteran Republican operative in the state who has worked with Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
Shumaker declined to comment when asked Monday morning.
According to the memo, 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, while Budd was viewed favorably by 16 percent and unfavorably by 5 percent.