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Trump’s approval by the NC Senate topples voters – and wealthy donors


Some high net worth donors to former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory put their money behind Rep. Ted Budd, his main opponent in the U.S. Senate, after Donald Trump endorsed Budd this year, records show.

Why is this important: The endorsement of the former president can be a literal motto in Republican primary fights. The shifting allegiances between McCrory and Budd illustrate how Trump single-handedly can alter not only support but the race for money in high-profile political battles.

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What is happening: David Congdon, executive chairman of trucking giant Old Dominion Freight Line, gave the legal maximum to McCrory’s primary campaign in April, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The big picture: In general, an endorsement from Trump has the ability to affect the thinking of voters and donors in a number of ways.

  • He remains immensely popular among Republicans, who may be inclined to vote for his favorite candidates out of loyalty or a belief that he has the best interests of the party at heart.

  • For this reason, an endorsement from Trump also makes a GOP lead candidate more viable – and donors in particular tend to look to candidates with a better chance of winning.

  • The ex-president’s notorious aversion to perceived disloyalty can also sway potential candidates, donors, and campaign workers keen to attract the wrath of his political team.

Between the lines: Trump’s political influence is more apparent within the grassroots, and the North Carolina Senate primary saw smaller voters change allegiance after Trump’s approval.

  • A retiree from Cashiers, North Carolina, paid McCrory $ 250 in April. Four days after Trump backed Budd, she gave him twice as much.

  • Another retiree from Sanibel, Fla., Gave McCrory $ 300 in May. A month later, after Trump’s approval, he gave Budd the same amount.

  • Both people donated to Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns.

Looking forward: Most of Trump’s major GOP approvals this year have come in recent months, and any further effect on donor loyalty will be more apparent in campaign fundraising numbers in the third quarter.

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