Rep. Ted Budd is off the rails.

I mean, the guy is looking to upgrade from his Congressional post to one of North Carolina’s Senate seats. He’s already won the primary — in no small part because of Donald Trump’s full-throated endorsement. But it’s like he didn’t read the playbook on how to win a statewide election: Use the primary to appeal to your base, and then tack towards center to win over voters in the general election.

Remember, he’s got to beat former NC Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, who has outraised him by almost $10 million through June. And despite his most sincere hopes and wishes, this is a purple state where registered Democrats still outnumber registered Republicans by a few hundred thousand and independents outnumber them both.

But Budd, who rose to prominence in North Carolina by posting obnoxious billboards for his gun shop and then winning a crowded primary in a stacked district for his Congressional seat, has been leaning even harder into extreme positions that, simply put, North Carolinians do not like.

For example: More than half of us want to keep or expand current abortion access in the state, yet Budd supports a near-total abortion ban, aligning with about 10 percent of the country. On July 15, he voted against a bill that would protect the freedom to travel for an abortion, part of a run of recent votes that run to the extreme.

The next day he voted against marriage equality, which has never been more popular in this country — 71 percent approve.

On July 21, he voted against Rep. Kathy Manning’s Right to Contraception Act, which ensures Americans’ right to birth control, a position that 96 percent of us align with.

Minority rule is alive and well in NC, but Budd would do well to remember that you cannot gerrymander a statewide election. And he should perhaps look to our sitting senator, Thom Tillis, who is plenty conservative but knows which way the wind blows in his home state.

Last year Budd went against the infrastructure bill, which was supported by Tillis and also Sen. Richard Burr, for whose seat Budd is competing.

This year, Tillis supported a bipartisan gun-safety compromise; Budd went against the House version of the bill, though 68 percent of Americans supported it. Tillis has also expressed support for marriage equality.

And let’s not forget how he got that Trump endorsement: By voting against impeachment, twice, and by voting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

This, while Tillis joined a bipartisan effort to reform the Electoral College and prevent something like that from happening again.

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