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In this 2018 file photo, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-13th, answers questions from the media at his election party in Bermuda Run. Budd announced Wednesday that he’ll run for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr.

TRIAD — U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-13th, announced Wednesday that he will seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

Budd joins a growing field of candidates who want to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

Budd, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, was first elected to Congress in 2016. His district includes Davidson and Randolph counties.

His Senate bid means that next year’s election will involve an open seat in the 13th District since candidates in North Carolina can’t run for more than one office in the same election cycle.

Budd said in a video declaring his candidacy that he will push back against what he considers a radical agenda under President Joe Biden.

“We all know that Joe Biden is a weak leader who won’t stand up to the radical left,” Budd said. “Today, the U.S. Senate is the last line of defense against becoming a woke, socialist wasteland.”

The Winston-Salem native highlighted his upbringing in Davie County, noted he is a proud gun store owner and embraced several culture war symbols.

“The only trigger warning around here is keep your finger off it until you’re ready to fire,” Budd said.

Central to Budd’s campaign will be issues of immigration, religious liberty and the economy.

Budd is the third major GOP candidate to enter the race. Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory also have declared their Senate bids.

State Sen. Jeff Jackson and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley are the best known Democrats so far seeking their party’s nomination.