Ted Budd accepts campaign contribution from gun makers who made Uvalde shooter's weapon


The founder of Daniel Defense and his wife each gave the GOP Senate candidate the maximum amount an individual can give a campaign during a general election, totaling $5,800.

Cindy and Marvin Daniel, co-owners of the gun manufacturer Daniel Defense, each gave the maximum permitted campaign contribution to Republican Rep. Ted Budd's campaign for Senate in North Carolina, campaign finance records show.

Budd is running against Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice, in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

Budd's campaign accepted a combined $5,800 from the owners of the gun manufacturing company, which made the weapon used in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May. An 18-year-old gunman allegedly killed 19 children and two teachers in what has been called the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.

Daniel Defense has faced legal complaints for allegedly targeting teenagers in its advertising by using pop culture references, including imagery from the Call of Duty video game series and the popular Netflix show "Squid Game."

In July, the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the company, alleging that its advertising and marketing tactics violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by "unfairly implying that its products are suitable for use by civilians in offensive, combat-like missions and by appealing particularly to teenage and young adult men who are attracted to violence and military fantasies."

Families of victims of the Uvalde shooting filed a lawsuit against Daniel Defense, among other parties, in September. "Daniel Defense chooses not to do any studies evaluating the effects of their marketing strategies on the health and well-being of Americans and chose not to look at the cost to families and communities like Uvalde, Texas," their complaint states.

The Daniels, for their part, have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates this election cycle, many of whom, like Budd, vote against gun safety measures that would regulate how guns are sold in the United States.

Other Republicans who have received donations from the Daniels include Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp; Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker; and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, the GOP nominee for Senate in the Show-Me State.

Budd is a gun store owner who has voted against enhancing background checks for prospective gun purchasers; against the Protecting Our Kids Act, which would raise the age requirement for purchasing semi-automatic weapons; and against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the gun safety law that Congress passed in June following the shooting in Uvalde.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls currently gives Budd a 4.5% lead over Beasley. Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political forecasting outlet, rates the race "Tilt Republican."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.