RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Republican National Committee was in Wake Forest during the weekend for an event marking 100 days until Election Day, where party leaders, including NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley, met with volunteers and advocates in support of candidates.
At the top of the ticket is Congressman Ted Budd, who benefitted from the endorsement of former President Donald Trump in fending off a strong challenge in the primaries from former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Congressman Mark Walker in a crowded field.
"We've got a great state party, and we're doing door knocking, I think they just hit a million doors across North Carolina," said Budd during a one-on-one interview with ABC11 on Friday.
Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican who has served in that role since 2005, is retiring, leaving a rare vacant seat up for grabs. With the Senate evenly divided, both parties are looking to North Carolina as a key race to secure control of the Senate.
Budd, who has represented the state's 13th Congressional District since 2017, discussed combating inflation, which continues to be a key issue for voters.
"We need to increase pipelines, we need to increase production. We need to encourage people getting back into the workforce. And we need to stop overregulating. If we do those things, we can turn this economy around," Budd said.
The US economy has shrunk for two consecutive quarters, and inflation reached 9.1% in June, the highest 12-month increase in more than forty years.
A report from the North Carolina Department of Commerce found there were nearly 400,000 job openings statewide in March, about double the amount from just two years prior. Despite that, North Carolina's unemployment rate of 3.4% is below pre-pandemic levels, and the state has earned praise for its economic performance.
"We have a great university system in North Carolina. We need to encourage it. We want to welcome people to North Carolina, and we want to talk about what's made this state great. What's made us great over the past 12 years and the Carolina Comeback. Thanks to Senator Tillis' work in the State Legislature, thanks to so many in Raleigh that make good decisions. They might not get the credit they deserve, but I want to give them a shout-out for what they've done to make this state great. And the conservative principles, the lowering the tax rates, the incentives for companies to come here that really hire a lot of our graduates from our university system. So we have to keep up that momentum, and we have to let them know that North Carolina is ready and open for business," said Budd.
There have been ongoing efforts to address drug overdose deaths, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle discussing the dangers of fentanyl. Earlier this year, NCDHHS reported a 40% increase in overdose deaths in 2020 compared to 2019, stating more than 70% of those likely involved fentanyl.
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"We're having the leading cause of death between 18 and 45 years old being fentanyl. 72 hours from crossing the border, it's right here in North Carolina," Budd explained.
During a tour of Durham Tech Thursday, Cheri Beasley, the Democratic Senate candidate, wore a necklace with the words "Protect Roe" sharing her displeasure with the Supreme Court decision overturning the nearly 50-year ruling.
"I've been very consistently pro-life. I want to save as many unborn lives as possible," said Budd, who backed legislation in his first year in office for a nationwide ban on abortion at 20 weeks.
When asked about the prospect of a debate, Budd said he was open to a discussion, while Beasley noted she was prepared to debate. Budd did not participate in the Republican debates during the primary election; Democrats also did not have any debates during the primary.