Ted Cruz campaigns for NC’s Ted Budd and Bo Hines in Selma

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd, center, and Bo Hines, right, Republican running for the 13th Congressional District, campaign with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during a rally in Selma, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd, center, and Bo Hines, right, Republican running for the 13th Congressional District, campaign with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during a rally in Selma, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022.

As campaigning ahead of the midterm elections enters the final stretch, Republicans Ted Budd and Bo Hines, running in important races for Senate and House that could help their party capture control of Congress, called upon Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to rally with them Tuesday.

Over the past week, leaders of both parties have traveled to North Carolina to campaign for Budd and his opponent, Cheri Beasley, as well as Hines and his opponent in the 13th Congressional District, Wiley Nickel. Speaking to Budd and Hines supporters and campaign volunteers in Selma, a town of about 7,000 people in central Johnston County, Cruz criticized the Biden administration for the impact of inflation on the economy, and said the country was in a crisis.

“We see what’s happening in Washington,” Cruz said. “Biden and Harris and Pelosi and Schumer, everything they do is wrong. It’s actually impressive to get every policy wrong. If they rolled the dice, if they threw darts at a wall, by accident they’d get something right. Every single thing they touch turns to garbage.”

Cruz also attacked the Biden administration for not focusing more of its attention on rising rates of violent crime and on illegal immigration across the southern border.

He said Democratic lawmakers in Washington had neglected the issue of increasing illegal border crossings until Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida started to bus and fly migrants seeking asylum in Texas to cities and towns in the northeast, including Boston, New York, Washington, and Martha’s Vineyard.

“And then suddenly, the white-bread, lily-livered, hypocritical, billionaire socialists, discovered there was a crisis,” Cruz said to laughs from the crowd.

Cruz: GOP will halt ‘crazy spending’

Two weeks out from Election Day, Cruz said he was hopeful Republicans would win majorities in both houses of Congress, due to President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings, which fell to the lowest of his presidency in July at 38%, before rising to 44% in August and falling to 40% as of this month, according to Gallup.

Part of Biden’s struggling popularity has stemmed from record-high levels of inflation, which reached 9.1% in July, a rate over a 12-month period not seen since 1981. Cruz said the similar cost-of-living crises makes Biden “eerily, uncannily” like Jimmy Carter, who left office at a time of surging inflation.

Cruz said the analogy made him hopeful, because “it took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan.”

Answering a few questions from reporters after the rally, Cruz said Democrats had injected too much money into the economy through a series of bills that provided COVID relief, invested in infrastructure, health care, and climate change programs, which were passed over the last year and a half.

He vowed that Republicans would “stop the crazy spending” to try to slow down inflation, but acknowledged “it can be hard to turn it around.”

GOP candidates vow to fight for conservative agenda

During the rally, Cruz stressed the important of Budd and Hines winning their seats so that Republicans can stop Biden from passing any more of his agenda during the remainder of his current term in office.

“The people from North Carolina want to send fighters like Bo and Ted to stand in Washington and fight, and say ‘Enough is enough, stop the madness, pull our country back,’” Cruz said.

Budd and Hines both won the Republican nominations in May after defeating multiple opponents. In both cases, the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who held rallies with the candidates in April and September, was critical in shoring up the support of GOP voters.

Ahead of the election, Budd emphasized the importance of voting in other races on the ballot too, and noted that Republicans need just a handful of pickups in the state legislature to achieve a supermajority that could allow them to bypass vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, and just one on the N.C. Supreme Court to gain a majority there.

Hines, a political newcomer who won the GOP nomination in May after receiving former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, said his mother and wife were talking to voters at polling locations on Tuesday while early voting was underway.

“We’re excited about what we’re seeing early in this election cycle,” Hines said. “Republicans are enthusiastic to vote, they’re getting out, and they’re ready to take this country back by storm in November, I promise you that.”

Democrats criticize Budd for campaigning with Cruz

Ahead of Cruz’s visit, Democrats criticized Budd for campaigning with the Texas senator.

“It’s no surprise that Congressman Budd is playing host to Ted “Cancun” Cruz, best known for fleeing town during one of Texas’s worst winter storms that left millions of his constituents without power,” N.C. Democratic Party spokesperson Kate Frauenfelder said in a statement. “During Budd’s six years in Congress, he’s also abandoned the people of North Carolina, reliably rubber stamping the far-right party line.”

Beasley, Budd’s Democratic opponent, campaigned with Democratic members of the Senate last week, and on Tuesday morning, received an endorsement from former President Barack Obama.

Later Tuesday evening, the N.C. Democratic Party was scheduled to host a Dave Matthews concert in Raleigh in support of Beasley and other candidates.

For more North Carolina government and politics news, listen to the Under the Dome politics podcast from The News & Observer and the NC Insider. You can find it at or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Avi Bajpai is a state politics reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He previously covered breaking news and public safety. Contact him at or (919) 346-4817.

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