Prospects of Lara Trump running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina next year got an unexpected boost Friday night. Her father-in-law, former President Donald Trump, suggested a Senate run during an impromptu public appearance in Florida.

“I want to thank Lara, who’s been so incredible,” the 45th president said from the stage of a dog rescue fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“I don’t know, you’re running for the Senate,” Trump quipped. “I hear she’s going to run for the Senate.”

The former president had not been scheduled to appear at the fundraiser for Big Dog Ranch Rescue. Lara Trump had helped put the event together.

A West Palm Beach, Florida, television reporter captured the president’s remarks on video and posted them on social media.

The turned the remarks about Lara Trump’s potential Senate bid into a featured article.

Three-term Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr announced back in 2016 that he would not run for re-election in 2022. Speculation about the race to replace Burr has heated up since the end of the 2020 election cycle.

Two new candidates joined the race this month. First, virologist Richard Watkins of Durham announced his plan to seek the Democratic nomination, joining state Sen. Jeff Jackson and former state Sen. Erica Smith.

Meanwhile, a former Republican named Kimrey Rhinehardt plans to run as an independent. Rhinehardt first gained public notice when she publicly dropped her GOP affiliation in the wake of the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Carolina Journal has reported on other potential candidates for the open 2022 U.S. Senate contest.

Among Republicans, former 6th District U.S. Rep. Mark Walker has announced plans to run. Former Gov. Pat McCrory is among the other names mentioned as potential GOP candidates.

Among Democrats, CJ was first to report that former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is a likely candidate for the open Senate seat.