Last week, two more high-profile public officials announced their candidacies for the U.S. Senate seat which will be vacated by Richard Burr (R-NC) next year. The two newly announced candidates, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC-13) and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, represent a dramatic contrast in political philosophies and qualifications.
Budd is a three-term member of Congress who has focused on culture war issues like his opposition to gun safety laws. A vocal ally of Donald Trump, Budd echoed the former president’s baseless claims of widespread 2020 voter fraud, and sought to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election even after the attempted January 6 insurrectionary assault on the U.S. Capitol. Budd won a crowded primary for the Republican nomination in 2016 with the help of about $500,000 in advertising from the anti-environment Club for Growth Super PAC. According to the national League of Conservation Voters’ (LCV) annual scorecard, Budd’s career environmental voting score is atrocious: just 4% during his four years in Congress thus far.
Former Chief Justice Beasley’s announcement focused on improved access to quality health care, education, and economic opportunity. She has won statewide election as an appellate judge twice, and narrowly lost her bid last year to retain her Chief Justice seat, falling short by fewer than 500 votes in a contest where more than 5 million votes were cast. During her statewide judicial races, Beasley has been widely supported by progressive groups, including LCV.
Other declared candidates for the race include two former GOP elected officials — Rep. Mark Walker and Gov. Pat McCrory — and two Democrats, current state Sen. Jeff Jackson and former state Sen. Erica Smith, with a few minor candidates also in the running on each side and more who could yet announce.