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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.

POLITICAL WRAP: Former President Trump Returns to Political Stage

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former President Donald Trump is back on the political stage.

He was the keynote speaker at the North Carolina Republican State Convention on Saturday.

Trump to the Rescue (Maybe) in North Carolina

OPINION — When Donald Trump travels to North Carolina this week, it won’t be for one of the campaign-style rallies that are his oxygen — especially needed now when the air is filled with praise for his nemesis John McCain, who is being lauded in death in terms the president can only dream about.

This Friday in Charlotte, host of the 2020 GOP convention and with the Trump National Golf Club not that far away in Mooresville, the president is scheduled to make a lunchtime appearance at a country club for an audience of those willing and able to pay at least $1,000 ($25,000 will get you admission to a “roundtable” and a photograph with Trump). It is a party with a purpose: to raise enough cash to keep two possibly vulnerable House seats in Republicans hands.