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Trump endorses Bennett in 11th District runoff

President Trump on Thursday endorsed Lynda Bennett in the 11th Congressional District runoff for the Republican nomination, calling her a "great fighter and ally" who would be strong on issues of crime, the U.S.-Mexico border and military veterans.

"She will be a great help to me in DC," he said in a Tweet, reminding his Twitter followers that early voting starts today.

It does not come as a surprise that Trump would endorse Bennett, despite a kerfuffle within the party over a recording of her calling herself a "never Trumper" before the November 2016 election.

During the Republican primary campaign, she has declared strong support for Trump. Moreover, Bennett has a very close link to the White House. Former U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, whose resignation created the open seat Bennett hopes to fill, is now Trump's chief of staff. Meadows and his wife, Debbie, are friends of Bennett, who has been a business owner and real estate agent in Maggie Valley.

In the March 3 primary, Bennett edged Madison Cawthorn, of Hendersonville, 22.7 to 20.4 percent, setting up the runoff. In-person early voting is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays from Thursday, June 4 to June 19, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, June 20. In Henderson County the only one-stop early voting location is the Board of Elections office, at 75 E. Central St. On Election Day, June 23, all polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.