Kelly Daughtry drops out of the race for Congress in North Carolina after Donald Trump endorses Brad Knott

The former front-runner in North Carolina’s Republican Congressional primary ended her campaign on Thursday, citing former President Trump’s endorsement of her opponent.

“In light of President Trump’s endorsement of Brad Knott for the District 13 Congressional seat, it has become clear that a path to victory is no longer feasible. I believe in the democratic process and respect our president’s support,” Kelly Daughtry said in a statement announcing the end of her campaign.

“It is now time to suspend my campaign. Although I will no longer be a candidate, I will not stop using my voice for the things I believe in. “I will focus on conservative voter registration operations and supporting the nominated conservative judicial candidates running in November,” she continued.

In the March 5 primary for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, Daughtry led with 27.4 percent of the vote, followed by Brad Knott’s 18.7 percent, according to The Hill/Decision Desk HQ election results tracker.

Neither candidate met the necessary threshold of more than 30 percent to win the nomination, sending the race to a runoff. The second primary will take place on May 14, and early voting has already begun in certain locations in the district.

Daughtry supported Knott’s bid for the seat and called on the Republican Party to rally behind him. Trump endorsed Knott early last month.

“Brad Knott will be the Republican nominee on May 14th. I congratulate him and wish him the best. Brad has my full support, and I want him to know that I am here to support him, not antagonize him,” Daughtry said in her statement. “It’s time for us to bring the Republican Party together. I have asked my supporters to formally support Brad’s campaign.

“Similarly, I have spoken with Brad and know he will advocate and fight for the entire district. We are all on the same team and I hope that the end of my campaign at this time will showcase and promote our unity as a party,” she added.

The 13th District is currently represented by freshman Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.), who declined to seek re-election after Congress’ redistricting process shifted his district ideologically to the right. Democrat Frank Pierce will face the Republican candidate in the November general election.

“To those who voted for me – thank you for believing in me and giving me the civil and sacred honor of your vote,” Daughtry said. “Now is the time for Republicans to unite and win in November. I will stand with you in achieving that victory.”

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