Former congressional candidate creates petition calling for Rep. Budd, other Republicans to be removed from office
By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY — Rep. Ted Budd’s former Democratic challenger Scott Huffman created a petition this week calling for Budd and six other North Carolina Republicans to be expelled from Congress following the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The petition, which amassed more than 5,300 signatures by Thursday evening, calls out Reps. Budd, Richard Hudson, Dan Bishop, Virginia Foxx, David Rouzer, Greg Murphy and Madison Cawthorn for supporting President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, which was proceeded by violence at the U.S. Capitol while Congress was counting Electoral College votes and finalizing President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory. In the petition, Huffman said what the North Carolina representatives have said about the election is akin to screaming “Fire!” in a movie theater and that they supported sedition.
“We’ve seen since the November election a constant rhetoric from Budd that enabled Trump’s false claims the election was stolen,” Huffman told the Post. “They’ve pushed this false narrative. And we’ve seen the result of that with Wednesday’s events.”
Huffman, a Democrat who grew up in Spencer, was defeated by Budd, the incumbent, by 142,497 votes in the 2020 election to represent North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
Asked if he had any concerns claims of a stolen election contributed to the events that took place at the Capitol, Budd told the Post “absolutely not.”
Huffman said lawmakers should be focused on helping people amidst the pandemic and that they took an oath to protect and serve the constitution. But such language has also contributed to lost lives amidst misinformation and denial of science related to COVID-19.
“That kind of language should never be spoken by people in positions of power,” Huffman told the Post. “It’s time we take a pause and look at where we are in our nation and our communities. There are more important issues than propping up a wannabe dictator.”
Budd told the Post that, while it was Huffman’s right to file the petition, he stands on the 68% of his district and hundreds of thousands of votes cast that supported him and the “real sentiment” that grievances related to the election be aired out.
Budd also said the violence was the result of a confluence of factors that people were frustrated by, including “unconstitutional modifications” to the voting process by state boards of elections rather than lawmakers and a continual assault on the president.
Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr broke from other North Carolina GOP lawmakers and did not contest the Electoral College votes cast for Biden. Tillis called it a precedent that shouldn’t be set, while Burr condemned Trump’s “unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point.”
Huffman said in some cases it’s a little too late for this type of reconciliation or conciliatory comments.
“In order for us to move on, Republicans have to admit the election wasn’t rigged,” Huffman said. And that will start the healing process. How can they demand unity when they can’t admit it was a lie?”
Budd told the Post that now is not the time to protest and that it’s a time to come together as we “get on the other side of Jan. 20.” And as vaccinations continue to roll out, the goal is to reopen the economy, which will ultimately get Americans’ minds off of the conflict, he said.
Additionally, Budd said he supports a measure that would establish a bipartisan panel to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in the violence on Jan. 6.
The goal for the petition is to receive at least 10,000 signatures from North Carolinians before submitting it to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.