NORFOLK, Va. — Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Republican Sandy Smith in a U.S. House election covering a large part of northeastern North Carolina.
Trump announced his support for Smith at a campaign rally in Wilmington, North Carolina Saturday, one of the latest endorsements in his nationwide blitz for the 2022 midterm elections.
Smith faces Democratic State Sen. Don Davis in North Carolina's 1st Congressional District, which includes the counties of Hertford, Gates, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank and more.
In a news release Tuesday night, Trump wrote that Smith will be "a fantastic Representative," praising her conservative positions on the economy, education, gun rights and other issues.
He continued by attacking Davis as "a disaster for North Carolina" and "a Radical Left puppet of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi."
Smith took to social media to accept Trump's endorsement, saying she was "honored" to have his support.
"Under his leadership the economy was much better, inflation was under control, our border was secure and we took care of our veterans and military," Smith wrote.
Amid speculation of another presidential run in 2024, Trump has sought to demonstrate his pull within the Republican Party by endorsing candidates aligned with him.
NPR reports he has endorsed over 200 Republicans running for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and top state offices across the country in the 2022 elections.
Smith — who also ran in 2020, losing to long-time U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield — has positioned herself as a Trump loyalist, using descriptions such as "unapologetic America first" and a "Pro-Trump fighter" on her website.
She falsely attributed her 2020 loss to the Dominion voting machines, which weren't used anywhere in North Carolina, echoing a conspiracy theory that those machines "switched votes."
She was also at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to support Trump's efforts to stop Congress' certification of Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.
In response to Trump's endorsement of Smith, 13News Now reached out to Davis for comment. His campaign sent the following statement:
“As a six-term state senator, Air Force officer, minister, educator, and former mayor, I've spent my career in service to the people of eastern North Carolina. I'm proud of my record working with Democrats and Republicans to keep our communities safe, support our veterans, lower costs for families, and make healthcare more affordable. I’ve been a champion and advocate on the issues facing our district for over a decade in the North Carolina Senate and remain focused on serving the people of eastern North Carolina.”
Election forecasters, such as the Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball, predict that Davis is slightly favored to win, despite redistricting making the race more favorable to Republicans.