News: CJ Exclusives

Robinson sets deadline on U.S. Senate race decision

Race in Republican primary for U.S. Senate heats up with top names eyeing Burr's seat

Image from Mark Robinson for NC website
Image from Mark Robinson for NC website

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is still seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate and has set a deadline of the end of April to decide whether to enter the race, Robinson chief of staff and top political adviser Conrad Pogorzelski tells Carolina Journal.

“He has been contacted by his supporters, elected officials from all levels, donors, and spiritual leaders. He is taking everything into consideration and is getting closer to a decision,” said Mr.  Pogorzelski. “He has set a deadline for April 30.”

Carolina Journal was first to report that Robinson was considering the race on Tuesday, April 13, and reported Robinson had commissioned a poll to test certain issues connected to a possible U.S. Senate bid.  Carolina Journal broke the story just one day before that former Gov. Pat McCrory announced he was entering the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring three-term Republican Richard Burr.

An in-depth look at McCrory’s challenges and opportunities include high-profile controversies like H.B. 2, but also reduced taxes and economic growth. He enters the U.S. Senate race after narrowly losing the 2016 governor’s race, the closest such contest in N.C. history.

Robinson’s possible entry into the race has complicated the decision about a possible bid for 13th District Congressman Ted Budd. Carolina Journal reported on April 8 that Rep. Budd would enter the race.

Political consultant Michael Luethy, who managed Budd’s two winning congressional campaigns, confirmed on the record at the time that Budd’s entry into the U.S. Senate race is “more likely than not.”

Luethy confirmed Friday that Budd is still “looking at the race” and is “poised to get in.”

However, Robinson’s possible surprise entry into the race has at least slowed down Budd and given him pause.

According to sources close to the officials, Budd and Robinson are extremely close. Robinson previously was behind an independent spending effort to boost Budd’s congressional effort. Both men have very close ties to gun-rights groups and supporters of the Second Amendment. There are some concerns that Budd and Robinson would split a similar pool of voters.

Budd and Robinson are in regular contact as they both make their own individual determination about formally declaring for the U.S. Senate.

For now, McCrory and former Congressman Mark Walker are the only major announced candidates for U.S. Senate on the GOP side.