Brad Knott, endorsed by Trump, emerges victorious in North Carolina GOP congressional runoff

Brad Knott, a candidate supported by former President Donald Trump, emerged victorious in the Republican primary runoff for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District on Tuesday. His opponent, Kelly Daughtry, who had suspended her campaign two weeks prior due to Trump’s endorsement, was defeated.

Decision Desk HQ declared Knott the winner with 90.7% of the vote, defeating Daughtry, a local lawyer and daughter of a former Republican legislative leader. Daughtry had finished first in the initial primary but did not secure enough votes to avoid a runoff, which Knott, the second-place finisher, sought.

In another GOP primary runoff statewide, Hal Weatherman, former chief of staff to then-Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, triumphed over Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill. The winner will face Democratic state Sen. Rachel Hunt in the general election. Voters were also selecting a Republican nominee for state auditor.

Trump endorsed Knott in early April, prompting Daughtry to suspend her campaign on May 2 and pledge her support to Knott. However, with early voting already underway, it was too late to remove her name from the ballot.

Daughtry acknowledged that Trump’s endorsement of Knott signified the end of her chances for victory. Knott’s win underscores Trump’s influence in North Carolina GOP politics.

Knott will now compete against Democrat Frank Pierce in the November election. The 13th District has been redrawn by the General Assembly to lean more to the right and covers parts of eight counties surrounding Raleigh.

Rep. Wiley Nickel of the 13th District opted not to seek reelection due to the redistricting. Republicans anticipate adding three U.S. House seats from North Carolina this fall as a result of redistricting.

Trump, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, carried North Carolina in the 2016 and 2020 elections. The state is expected to be a key battleground in the upcoming presidential election.

In his endorsement of Knott, Trump praised him as a “Strong Patriot” committed to law enforcement, border security, and gun rights. On the other hand, Trump criticized Daughtry as a “RINO” and not aligned with the “MAGA” agenda.

This is the second time Trump has endorsed a candidate against Daughtry. In a previous primary, he supported her challenger Bo Hines, who emerged victorious.

Trump’s endorsement has also been crucial in other primary races, including Ted Budd’s successful Senate bid and Addison McDowell’s win in the 6th Congressional District race.

The GOP auditor’s runoff featured candidates Jack Clark and Dave Boliek, with the winner set to face Democrat state auditor Jessica Holmes.

Registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters who participated in the March Republican primaries were eligible to vote in the GOP runoff.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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