North Carolina congressional candidate drops out of race after Trump endorses rival


The one-time front-runner in the GOP congressional primary race in North Carolina ended her campaign on Thursday, citing former President Trump’s endorsement of her opponent.

“In light of President Trump’s endorsement of Brad Knott for the Congressional seat in District 13, it has become clear that a pathway to victory is no longer feasible. I believe in the democratic process and respect the endorsement of our President,” Kelly Daughtry said in a statement announcing the end of her campaign.

“The time has now come to suspend my campaign. Although I will no longer be a candidate, I will not stop using my voice for the things I believe in. I will focus on conservative voter registration operations and supporting the nominated conservative judicial candidates running in November,” she continued.

In the March 5 primary election for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, Daughtry led with 27.4 percent of the vote, followed by Brad Knott’s 18.7 percent, according to The Hill/Decision Desk HQ’s election results tracker.

Neither candidate met the necessary threshold of more than 30 percent to clinch the nomination, sending the race to a runoff. The second primary is slated to take place on May 14, and early voting has already begun at certain sites in the district.

Daughtry endorsed Knott’s bid for the seat and called on the Republican Party to unite behind him. Trump endorsed Knott early last month.

“Brad Knott will be the Republican nominee on May 14th. I extend my congratulations to him and wish him well. Brad has my full endorsement, and I want him to know that I am here to support him, not to oppose him,” Daughtry said in her statement. “It is time we bring the Republican Party together. I have asked my supporters to formally support Brad’s campaign.”

“Likewise, I have spoken with Brad and know he will advocate and fight for the entire District. We are all on the same team and I hope that the ending of my campaign at this time will show and foster our unity as a party,” she added.

The 13th District is currently represented by first-term Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.), who declined to seek reelection after the state’s congressional redistricting process moved his district to the right ideologically. Democrat Frank Pierce will face off against the Republican nominee in the general election in November.

“To those who voted for me — thank you for believing in me and giving me the civic and sacred honor of your vote,” Daughtry said. “The time is now for Republicans to unite together and win in November. I will be right beside you in working to deliver that victory.”

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