Donald Trump has at least one vote, and one new congressional endorsement, in the hard-fought North Carolina primary. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), a member of the 2010 tea party class of Republicans who is facing her second consecutive primary challenge, told the News & Observer that she supported the front-runner.
"I think they want someone to go to Washington and shake things up," she told the newspaper, referring to her constituents.
Trump has won only five endorsements from members of Congress -- four members of the House and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) -- and Ellmers's vote didn't amount to a sixth. But it was his first declared vote from a member close to congressional leadership, and the first from one facing a primary challenge. Ellmers's district was shored up in 2011's post-Census redistricting, but in 2014 she drew a challenge that foreshadowed the defeat of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Frank Roche, who ran a shoestring campaign almost exclusively on the immigration issue, pulled 41 percent of the vote -- higher than expected, but enough for Washington Republicans to write off the threat.
This year, Ellmers is facing a primary against Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.), a member of the post-redistricting 2012 class whose seat, like hers, was redrawn after a successful lawsuit.