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Trump-backed Candidates Face Off In North Carolina’s 13th District Runoff

Kelly Daughtry and Brad Knott vie for Republican nomination in a closely watched race with Trump's endorsement.

Kelly Daughtry (R) and Brad Knott (R) are running in the Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District on May 14, 2024. 


A view of a building in Greensboro, North Carolina. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Brad Knott for the 13th District. (ANDREW NEEL/UNSPLASHED) 


Daughtry and Knott were the top two finishers in the March 5 primary with 27.4% and 18.7% of the vote, respectively. Incumbent Wiley Nickel (D) did not seek re-election, leaving the district open.


According to Meredith College professor David McLennan, the runoff will be “a test of who can align him or herself more with Trump…between two candidates – Kelly Daughtry and Brad Knott – who run more strongly in different parts of the district.”


Daughtry is an attorney with experience in business disputes and family law. Daughtry says she is running “to restore sanity in Washington; defend conservative, Christian, North Carolina values; secure our border and end Biden’s disastrous leadership of our country.”


She described that “voters are seeking a candidate who will prioritize America first…I will work with Trump when I get to Congress to secure the border, reduce inflation, and refocus our foreign policy.” As of March 29, 2024, Daughtry had raised $2,146,546, including $2,060,132 in self-funding.


Conservative voters in the 13th have voiced their displeasure with Bidenomics with high rate of inflation and the higher cost of living that North Carolina natives had been suffering throughout the Biden years.


Knott is a former federal prosecutor. Knott says he is running because “I saw firsthand the devastating harm serious crime does to our communities…The laws need to be stronger and more rigid to protect law-abiding Americans.” 


Knott says that he and Trump kept America safe together before Joe Biden (D) took office. Knott says he will “work with President Trump to secure our border and to put criminals behind bars.” As of March 29, 2024, Knott had raised $670,612, including $250,000 in self-funding.


Trump endorsed Knott for the congressional seat then took aim at Daughtry as an anti-MAGA candidate on Truth Social.


“Brad Knott is a Strong Patriot who is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District against a RINO, Kelly Daughtry, who has given money to Far Left Democrats, pledged to vote for Obama, and is no friend to MAGA,” said Trump on Truth Social. 


The primary runoff is taking place in the context of court-ordered redistricting. Under the previous district lines, national political observers described the 13th District as a toss-up. Wiley Nickel (D) defeated Bo Hines (R) 51.6%–48.4% in 2022. 


As of March 29, 2024, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball both rated the general election Solid/Safe Republican. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rated the general election Likely Republican.


Produced in association with Ballotpedia

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