North Carolina elections could determine who controls the US Senate

title=

Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd are running for the US Senate in North Carolina.

North Carolina voters are ready in November to help sever the tie between the country’s two political parties battling for control of the U.S. Senate.

One Democrat and six Republican senators, including Richard Burr of North Carolina, announced their retirement at the end of 2022. Another 15 Republicans and 13 Democrats are up for re-election.

That leaves voters to decide whether to replace Burr with another Republican or a Democrat in a battleground state that Inside Elections considers Republican.

The battle for the US Senate in North Carolina is expected to be bitter and costly.

As of December, former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley was considered the presumptive Democratic Party nominee. Voters confirmed his nomination Tuesday in the North Carolina primary.

RAL_PRIMARYELECTION-NE-051722-RTW_3.JPG
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley thanks supporters after her primary victory acceptance speech on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina Robert Willett [email protected]

She will face Republican Representative Ted Budd who, with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump and a multi-million dollar investment from the Club for Growth, an influential conservative organization, was able to ward off fellow Republicans and secure the GOP nomination. .

The attacks on began immediately.

Challenges

North Carolina Democrats are hungry for a senator to represent their interests in the upper house.

The party has been unable to send a representative to the US Senate since Kay Hagan was elected in 2008.

“What’s at stake is potentially control of the US Senate and potentially whether North Carolina moves further into Democratic territory,” said Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University.

Beasley’s election would make her the only black woman in the Senate and only the 12th black female senator in history.

“Representation matters and diversity matters,” Beasley said. “I will never forget the time I saw an African American woman in the chair and I was a practicing attorney at the time and it changed my life.”

But she added that she wanted to be clear that her election means she will represent all of North Carolina.

At the start of the primary season, Beasley faced in-state challengers Senator Jeff Jackson and former State Senator Erica Smith. They walked out of the race in mid-December saying they wanted to spare the party a costly primary and that Democrats needed to unite behind Beasley.

Their decisions seemed to reinforce the party’s understanding of what was at stake. And that messaging worked.

Beasley launched a campaign that allowed him to get out, meet constituents, avoid throwing mud at competitors, and raise money without having to spend it on defense like Budd did.

Beasley currently has nearly $3.3 million, compared to Budd’s $1.1 million.

But a Friday morning Politico article surprised even Cooper when he reported that neither the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee nor the Senate Majority PAC had committed funding for Beasley’s campaign.

“I think this is potentially the death knell for her campaign,” Cooper said, “and could also spell disaster for Democrats in general in North Carolina. She needs that money and the Democratic Party needs that. money.

PXL_20220518_004419626.PORTRAIT.jpg
U.S. Representative Ted Budd waves to the crowd during election night in Bermuda Run, North Carolina, after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. His wife, Amy Kate, and the three children of couple joined Budd during his victory speech. lars dolder [email protected]

bad for you

The primary wasn’t even over when the National Republican Senate campaign invested $1.3 million in an attack ad accusing Beasley of being soft on crime. The Democratic Party immediately launched a “Ted Budd is not for North Carolina” campaign, playing on the Budweiser “This Bud is for you” ad campaign.

Senator Thom Tillis warned voters that Beasley would be a rubber stamp for President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. NC Democratic Party Chairwoman Bobbie Richardson warned that Budd was “a Washington insider” who puts his interests above those of his constituents.

Jonathan Felts, campaign adviser for Budd, told The News & Observer on Thursday that he thinks the race will be competitive and both sides will deliver strong messages.

“I think the reason Ted won so massively on Primary night is because he’s a different kind of politician,” Budd said. “And he’s very authentic. He doesn’t fear what he believes in and he’s not going to start running away from what he believes in. He’s a conservative fighter, he’s a small businessman, and he fights for the America First agenda.

Beasley told the N&O on Wednesday that she knew the race was going to be tough, but she was ready for it and had already proven her naysayers wrong.

“It’s not about partisan games for us, and people’s lives are not a political ball,” Beasley said. “They want to know that the next senator is going to fight hard for them and work on the issues that help save lives.

Jason Husser, professor of political science and political studies at Elon University, said how Ukraine’s economy and war plays out by November will determine a lot about the general election.

“If we still see $4.25 gas prices and Republicans are able to make that the first order of business and they’re able to say enough that Biden is responsible for that, it doesn’t bode well for Beasley,” Husser said. “If the Democratic Party, nationally, can frame the election around a non-economic issue, let’s say women’s rights, for example, then maybe they’ll be better off.”

James V. Hayes