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Editorial: Who will Ted Budd really be working for in the U.S. Senate?

Posted December 2, 2022 5:00 a.m. EST

U.S. Rep. Ted Budd celebrates his endorsement at a rally with North Carolina voters in Johnston County held by former President Donald Trump in Selma on Saturday, April 9. Trump touted his endorsements for several Republican candidates ahead of the May 17 primary election, including Budd. (photo by Bryan Anderson)

CBC Editorial: Friday, Dec. 2, 2022; editorial #8809

The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

When Republican Ted Budd takes his seat in the United States Senate next month who will he be representing?

If you say North Carolina, don’t bet on it. The people who will really get his attention will be the handful of billionaires who, through dark money campaign operations and super political action committees (super PACs) , accounted for 85% of the $83.2 million raised and spent to get him elected.

To be sure, Cherie Beasley, his Democratic opponent got plenty of outside help to have $57.4 million to try to get her elected. But where Budd raised a paltry $12.5 million on his own for his campaign, Beasley directly raised $33.9 million with another $23.5 million from outside PACs – a mere 41 percent of the total spent on her behalf.

Just four outside operations – the Senate Leadership Fund Super Pac, the Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and the National Republican Senatorial Committee accounted for $65.3 million of the $70.7 million spent by outside groups to get Budd elected.

David McIntosh takes stage at Trump rally

The folks behind these organizations have little connection to North Carolina or the needs of the state. Top donors to Club for Growth, that spent $11.7 million to get Budd elected, are billionaires Richard Uihlein, an Illinois packaging magnate and billionaire investment trading executive Jeff Yass of Pennsylvania. Other PACs are financed by Las Vegas hotel fortune heiresses and investment tycoons from New York and Miami.

In politics, it’s a truism that: “You got to dance with them what brung you.” That means, as the great commentator Molly Ivins says: “When you get to public office, you vote with the folks who put you there. And that used to mean your constituents, the people who voted for you. But more and more what it means is you vote with the special interests who put up the money to get you to public office.”

In the Senate, don’t look for Budd to be tripping the light fantastic with many partners who have tar on their heels -- $70 million is a very exclusive dance ticket.

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Capitol Broadcasting Company's Opinion Section seeks a broad range of comments and letters to the editor. Our Comments beside each opinion column offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about this article.

In addition, we invite you to write a letter to the editor about this or any other opinion articles. Here are some tips on submissions >> SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR