RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Following the final debate for the Republican nomination for North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate seat, we’re taking a closer look at some of the claims the candidates made.

On Tuesday, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker attended the debate hosted by Nexstar Media stations across North Carolina, including CBS 17.

U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, who polling has shown to be the frontrunner in the race, did not attend. McCrory and Walker spent much of the time attacking him for skipping all debates and going after him on his record.

“He’s avoiding these debates. He’s avoiding his record on voting against Trump’s wall,” McCrory said.

He made that claim as security at the U.S. border with Mexico has become one of the top issues in the race.

Budd has been running a TV ad where he visits the border and pledges to “finish this wall.”

A spokesman for McCrory said he was referring to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Republicans were in control of the House at the time and were trying to pass an immigration reform bill.

More conservative Republicans disagreed with moderate Republicans on various provisions, including providing a pathway to U.S. citizenship for immigrants brought into the U.S. as children.

Amid negotiations, there ended up being two versions of the bill, which became known as “Goodlatte 1” and “Goodlatte 2” after Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia, who was leading the effort to pass the legislation. The second one was billed as a compromise after the first bill failed to pass.

Budd voted in favor of the first bill but against the second one about a week later. According to Roll Call, he was among 112 Republicans who voted against the compromise bill.

Budd explained why in a recent interview.

“I voted for Goodlatte 1, which got more votes and had more Republican votes and had more funding in it,” he said. “And, I’m supporting the one that the National Border Patrol Council supported which had more border funding, so (the claim is) very deceptive.”

COVID funding

During part of the debate that was focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the candidates were asked about federal relief programs.

Walker was critical of Budd’s family receiving a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was aimed at keeping workers on the payroll as restrictions went into place across the country.

“Out of 147,000 businesses in the southeast, there was only one company that received the full $10 million PPP grant package. That was the Budd family’s business,” Walker said.

A search of data from the Small Business Administration confirms that The Budd Group did indeed receive a $10 million PPP loan. The data shows ten other businesses in North Carolina received the maximum amount as well.

The Budd Group, which employs about 500 people, is run by Budd’s brother Joseph R. Budd, who is CEO.

Walker described the situation as “a problem.”

In April 2020, Rep. Budd voted in favor of $321 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, as the initial round of funding ran out quickly. “Renewing the Paycheck Protection Program was a necessary step to provide additional lifelines to workers and job creators across the country,” he said at the time.

School textbooks

Gov. McCrory pushed back on what he called “deceitful ads” that have run in recent weeks, attacking his record as governor.

The group “Club for Growth” is backing Budd and spending $14 million on ads to highlight former President Trump’s endorsement of him and attacking the other leading contenders in the race.

In one of the group’s ads, Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is backing Budd, says he won’t vote for McCrory and accuses him of “putting liberals in charge of school textbooks.”

He’s referring to appointments McCrory made to the state’s textbook commission. Under state law, the governor makes those appointments based on recommendations from the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, who is independently elected. At the time, the superintendent was June Atkinson, who is a Democrat.

The commission is comprised of educators, administrators and parents. The members make recommendations to the State Board of Education on what textbooks to adopt, but the commission does not have the final say. After state adoption, the Dept. of Public Instruction says that “local textbook selection committees begin another round of review and evaluations to determine which materials best suit the needs of their students.”