‘Dirty trick’: Rep. Ted Budd sets up website with Democratic challenger’s name


Kathy Manning, a former immigration lawyer and fundraiser from Greensboro, was told to expect a wild ride in her first campaign for office.

She got a shock on her first day.

Manning filed her candidacy Wednesday for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina’s 13th District, a seat now held by first-term Republican Rep. Ted Budd. Manning’s announcement was first reported by The News & Record in Greensboro.

If you want to find out more about Manning, you can always visit her website.

But Budd’s campaign already claimed, offering its assessment of “The Real Kathy Manning” and labeling her as “an establishment Democrat insider” with ties to national Democratic political figures such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

“Everybody told me this would be difficult and I would come against things that would be unexpected. I didn’t expect dirty tricks before I even announced,” Manning said Wednesday afternoon. “If Ted Budd wants to spend his time playing political tricks instead of doing his job, that’s his choice.”

A “Ted Budd for Congress” logo is in the upper left-hand corner of the site. It includes a picture of Manning with former President Bill Clinton, a place to enter your email address to join Budd’s team and a link to donate.

“We see it as a fun way to highlight Kathy Manning and her background and what she’s going to bring to the race and what Ted is going to bring to the race. We had some fun with it. I don’t know if it’s as fun for their campaign,” said Andrew Bell, Budd’s campaign adviser.

manning website 2

Manning established her own site at

Manning said she has been active in the community, supporting preschool programs for underprivileged kids and job retraining and mortgage support programs for those impacted by the recession. She said the “dysfunction” in Washington made her jump in the race — citing problems with health care, tax and immigration policy.

“I decided it’s time to stop worrying and stop complaining and try to make a change,” Manning said. “I’ve been totally overwhelmed with the excitement and support I’ve gotten from people I know all over this community. The calls, emails and offers of help I’ve gotten have been incredibly gratifying. They know me. They know the work that I’ve done. They know the values I have.”

The purchase of domain names as a campaign tactic surfaced in last year’s presidential race, targeting candidates including Republicans Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Fiorina, a former executive at Hewlett-Packard, was mocked for not securing, which criticized her for layoffs at Hewlett-Packard.

“You can’t buy every domain name,” Fiorina said at the time.

Bell said the Budd campaign also purchased and will set it up with the same content as it attempts to portray Manning as an establishment Democrat.

“It’s a way to highlight her real story. She’s a big-time Democrat donor,” Bell said. “We think people need to know that.”

Manning has donated about $200,000 to Democratic candidates and the party since 2000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“I have supported great Democrats and followed them for many years,” Manning said.

Last year, with heavy backing from the conservative Club for Growth, Budd won a 17-way Republican primary for the seat, which was vacated by Rep. George Holding after redistricting. Holding, from Raleigh, ran in the 2nd District. Budd won 56.1 percent of the vote in November 2016, defeating Democrat Bruce Davis.

Budd is one of four North Carolina Republican incumbents targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a list that also includes Holding. Democrat Adam Coker entered the race against Budd in June.

Brian Murphy: 202-383-6089, @MurphinDC