Rep. Budd Cements Lead in NC;
Sen. Manchin Goes Republican?

By Jim Ellis
May 5, 2022

Senate

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance)

North Carolina: Rep. Budd Cements Lead — The Club for Growth, running a support independent expenditure for Rep. Ted Budd’s (R-Advance) US Senate campaign, released the results of their most recent WPA Intelligence poll (April 24-26; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters; live interview). While Rep. Budd led in the last six consecutive polls, the WPAi numbers now post him to a 20 percentage point lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory, 43-23 percent. Ex-US Rep. Mark Walker trails with nine percent support, while author Marjorie Eastman records four percent preference.

Considering North Carolina only has a 30 percent threshold to win a nomination outright, it appears the congressman is in strong position to clinch on May 17. The GOP winner will face consensus Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. Sen. Richard Burr (R) is retiring after three terms.

House

FL-15: Candidates Enter Race — With the Florida congressional map now adopted, candidates are beginning to come forward. In the new open 15th District that contains half of the city of Lakeland and part of Hillsborough County, former US Rep. Dennis Ross is drawing Republican primary opposition. In the race are state Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), retired Navy officer Kevin McGovern, and Afghan war Navy veteran Demetrius Grimes.

The seat leans Republican, but expect Democratic competition in the general election. At the early going, considering he represented more than 70 percent of this district for eight years in the House before retiring, Ross is the clear favorite for the party nomination and to capture the seat.

WV-2: Manchin Involved in Republican Campaign — The paired Republican congressional campaign between Reps. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) and Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) has drawn an unusual advocate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has endorsed Rep. McKinley, and is now starring for him in a new testimonial ad. Sen. Manchin dispels the notion that Rep. McKinley supported the Build Back Better legislation and directly criticizes Rep. Mooney.

With the primary fast approaching on May 10, we can expect Rep. Mooney to quickly counter the message. Sen. Manchin’s approval numbers are strong in West Virginia, but bringing a Democratic figure in to help decide a Republican primary battle could well backfire. Expect Mooney to attempt to turn the tables regarding this endorsement.

Helping explain Rep. McKinley’s move to highlight the Democratic senator, the latest public poll (Public Opinion Strategies for the Mooney campaign; April 26-28; 400 likely WV-2 Republican primary voters) gives Rep. Mooney a 20-point, 50-30 percent advantage as the two candidates begin the final week of campaigning. The two were forced into one district because West Virginia lost one of its three seats in national reapportionment.

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