“If someone did have a credible story that our senior U.S. senator, who would have worked with both Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders on Capitol Hill, would prefer the openly socialist Sanders to a member of his own Republican Party — that certainly would generate news,” he said.
Burr's record as a senator and political policies show no sign he would support a Sanders administration, Kokai said.
True or not, the traction this story has received means something to Larry Holmquist, Burr's contender for the state's Republican senate primary.
“The fact that this story and the controversy that is swirling around this, to me, this shows the level of mistrust and almost disgust that I think conservatives in North Carolina have towards Sen. Burr,” he said.
Holmquist said without evidence, he cannot make judgment on the comment.
"I disagree with him on just about everything, or a lot of things," he said. "But again, I don't think you can paint the person as guilty until it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt."
But Holmquist said it does not seem completely out of character.
"I wouldn't put it past him," he said. "I think Sen. Burr is perfectly capable of saying that."
He said Cruz is his top choice for president.
Kokai said he expects Burr's statement will not threaten his campaign for reelection.
“I don’t think there would be many people who were inclined to support Burr beforehand who are going to be swayed to support someone else because of this story,” he said.
Kokai said without any hard evidence, the claim is unsubstantiated.
“We are running full steam ahead getting Senator Burr’s message out there,” Johnson said.
He said the Burr campaign is not planning to re-strategize in response to the claims.