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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Three-term Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s plans to retire from the Senate has left an opening that several North Carolina Republicans hope to fill. During his weekend speech at the state GOP convention, Donald Trump made clear that he is still the party’s leader and intends to play a part in the primary process. Now that his daughter-in-law, North Carolina’s own Lara Trump has said she is not running – for now — Trump has endorsed U.S. Rep. Ted Budd.

While others running aren’t that happy, count former Gov. Pat McCrory among them, others in the GOP establishment wonder if Trump is a help or hindrance as he continues to focus not on the future but on the past. That past is the 2020 presidential contest and Trump’s continued false insistence that he won and that there was widespread fraud.