'Why wouldn't I?': Budd suggests he would accept 2022 election results

U.S. Rep. Ted Budd indicated Tuesday that he would accept the results of the 2022 election, an acknowledgment that comes after his campaign faced criticism for brushing aside questions about the issue.

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Republican Senate candidate Ted Budd hosts campaign event in Raleigh
Paul Specht
, WRAL state government reporter
DURHAM, N.C. — Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd indicated Tuesday that he would likely accept the results of the 2022 election, an acknowledgment that comes after his campaign faced criticism for brushing aside questions about the issue.

Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley are vying to win the seat of Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, who’s retiring this year.

Various news agencies have asked candidates in recent weeks whether they would accept the results of their election. Budd’s campaign declined to answer those questions from The New York Times, The Washington Post and others, those outlets reported.

In a brief conversation with reporters Tuesday, Budd said concerns over his position are overblown. He intimated that he would uphold the results and pointed the finger back at Democrats. “This is pretty much a false narrative from the left,” Budd said before speaking to a law enforcement group in Durham. “I mean, why wouldn’t I [accept the results]?”

He added: “I have no reason why I wouldn’t, unless the Democrats do something to generate a cause” for concern.

Asked by the Times about whether she would accept this year’s election results, Beasley told the newspaper: “I trust that our 2022 election will be administered fairly.”

After Budd made his remarks on Tuesday, the Beasley campaign criticized him for not providing a yes-or-no answer. The state Democratic Party, meanwhile, issued a statement calling Budd an “election denier.”

“Actions speak louder than words, and based on Budd's actions, North Carolinians have every reason to believe Ted Budd will continue to undermine democracy if elected to the U.S. Senate,” Kate Frauenfedler, the state Democratic Party’s spokesperson, said in a statement.

Polling shows Americans are concerned about threats to democracy, as former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters continue to spread the false conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Budd voted against certifying the results of the election that year and is now endorsed by Trump. Last year, Budd said he saw “lots of question marks” throughout the election but that he considered Biden to be the legitimate president.

Budd and other Republicans have accused critics of turning a blind eye to Democratic efforts to game the elections. Budd, in speaking to reporters Tuesday, made reference to efforts by the North Carolina Democratic Party to keep the Green Party off the state’s ballots.

The Green Party recently petitioned the North Carolina State Board of Elections to allow its candidates on the ballot. The elections board in August approved the petition. The state Democratic Party later joined a federal case in an effort to deny ballot access to the Green Party’s candidates due in part to a fraud investigation into suspicious signatures collected for the Green Party.

Votes gained by the left-leaning Green Party’s U.S. Senate candidate, Matthew Hoh, could diminish Beasley’s chances of winning the race. The National Republican Senatorial Committee filed a brief in support of the Green Party’s efforts.

Budd made his remarks ahead of a speech before the state Fraternal Order of Police. Budd and Beasley have each been angling to show voters that they’re favored by law enforcement, hosting a smattering of events with public safety groups.

Early last month, Budd pitched himself as the law-and-order candidate in, leveraging a high-profile endorsement from the North Carolina Troopers Association.
Later in the month, Bealsey, a former public defender, district court judge and chief justice on the state Supreme Court, announced the formation of “Law Enforcement for Beasley,” a slate of current and former law enforcement officers committed to electing the Democrat.

“I just want to let [police] know that they have the support,” Budd said Tuesday ahead of his speech. “This is a known profession and we want to encourage folks to take a look at law enforcement. I know there are recruiting challenges with the false narrative from the left for the past couple of years. And I want them to know that as an elected official — whatever role I'm in — that they have my support.”