NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Republican Ted Budd defeats Democrat Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate in North Carolina

In what was an extreme­ly close race right up until the fin­ish, Repub­li­can U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Budd defeat­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date and for­mer state Chief Supreme Court Jus­tice Cheri Beasley for U.S. Sen­ate, 51% to 47%.

The can­di­dates were vying for an open seat, as incum­bent Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Richard Burr had decid­ed to not seek reelection.

Cheri Beasley was first appoint­ed to the bench as a state dis­trict court judge in North Car­oli­na in 1999, then won the seat out­right in a 2002 elec­tion and was re-elect­ed in 2006 (a wave year for Democ­rats) with­out opposition.

In 2008 she was elect­ed to the state Court of Appeals, becom­ing the first black woman to win elec­tion to statewide office in North Car­oli­na with­out hav­ing been pre­vi­ous­ly appoint­ed to the giv­en posi­tion. In 2012, she was appoint­ed to the state Supreme Court, and won the seat out­right in a 2014 election.

In 2019, she was appoint­ed Chief Jus­tice of the state Supreme Court, but lost an elec­tion to retain the seat in 2020 by a heart­break­ing 401 votes.

The Repub­li­can can­di­date, Ted Budd, has rep­re­sent­ed the state’s 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict since 2017. He is a mem­ber of the far right wing Free­dom Cau­cus and owns his own gun store. He had the sup­port of both the Club for Growth and Don­ald Trump. Budd vot­ed against cer­ti­fy­ing the 2020 elec­tion in the hours after the pro-Trump insur­rec­tion­ist mob was cleared from the Unit­ed States Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021. More recent­ly, he was quick to embrace South Car­oli­na Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Graham’s pro­pos­al for a nation­al ban on most abor­tions after fif­teen weeks, co-spon­sor­ing the com­pan­ion House version.

The Repub­li­can cam­paign focused on infla­tion, that Beasley was “soft on crime”, exag­ger­at­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic posi­tions on abor­tion and feed­ing trans­pho­bic fears, then trans­lat­ing it into increased per­ceived risk in pub­lic schools.

At one point tele­vi­sion sta­tions through­out the state decid­ed to pull an attack ad against Beasley that accused her, while Chief Jus­tice, of vot­ing in favor of “set­ting free… a child porn offender.”

The Democ­rats focused on increas­ing black vot­er turnout, espe­cial­ly through “souls to the polls” out­reach at black church­es, ref­er­enc­ing the dan­ger­ous effects of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs deci­sion, and, inter­est­ing­ly, acknowl­edg­ing infla­tion and pro­vid­ing options to lim­it its effects on families.

Nei­ther cam­paign received the lev­el of nation­al vis­i­bil­i­ty or the out­side fund­ing of oth­er races. North Car­oli­na has been a very tough state for Democ­rats with­in the top tier of offices for over a decade, but nei­ther can­di­date seemed to want the strongest like­ly draws for media atten­tion — Pres­i­dent Joe Biden for Beasley, and for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for Ted Budd — stump­ing for them in North Car­oli­na. They set­tled instead for House Major­i­ty Whip Jim Clyburn and Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz.

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