Profile pictures of US Senate North Carolina candidates Cheri Beasley and Ted Budd from BallotPedia

Welcome to the race for the US Senate seat for North Carolina! This race for an open seat pits the Democrat Cheri Beasley, a former state judge (1999–2012) and state Supreme Court Justice (2012–2020), against the Republican Ted Budd, one of the US House of Representatives from North Carolina since 2017 and a gun-shop owner.

An open seat race means that there is no incumbent with a built-in advantage of incumbency (such as office staff, name recognition, a head start on fundraising, etc.). That said, both candidates are state officials with experience campaigning in North Carolina. North Carolina is a Republican-leaning state that, since voting for Obama for president in 2008 by less than half a percentage point, always seems on the cusp of swinging blue. One of the most important aspects of the North Carolina electorate is its large number of unaffiliated voters—voters who are not formally attached to any political party. These two million unaffiliated people (the largest number of unaffiliated voters of any swing state) are the target of Beasley and Budd’s persuasion efforts. Whichever candidate can better appeal to those independent voters in the middle will carry the day in this neck-and-neck race.  

An important note for this election season: Traditionally, the “party in power,” defined as the party in charge of the US presidency (which this year is the Democratic Party), loses seats in the midterm elections. But two additional competing trends are at play. On the one hand, the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 shifted momentum toward the Democrats (see 538 and NYT analysis at these links). But the continued economic concerns about inflation and gas prices work in the Republicans’ favor (see Politico and CNN analysis at these links). The race in North Carolina is one of the top nine Senate races to watch in the 2022 election, and its outcome will help determine which party controls the US Senate in January 2023. 



Local news sources:

General news sources:

Relevant news stories:

  • Article: “NC Senate candidate Ted Budd backs Graham’s proposed 15-week national abortion ban,” Raleigh News & Observer, September 15, 2022
  • Article: “Following public pressure, Budd implies he will accept the 2022 election results,” Charlotte Observer, September 20, 2022
  • Article: “Will North Carolina’s Senate Race Break Democratic Hearts Again?” New York Times, September 20, 2022
  • Article: “Why Democrats have a good shot at North Carolina’s open Senate seat,” Vanity Fair, October 5, 2022
  • Video: “North Carolina U.S. Senate Debate,” C-SPAN, October 7, 2022
  • Article: “Can Cheri Beasley build a winning coalition in North Carolina?” The 19th, October 11, 2022
  • Article: “North Carolina’s Overlooked Senate Race,” New Yorker, October 13, 2022
  • Article: “Beasley, Budd and the Nationalization of North Carolina Politics,” NC State University, October 17, 2022
  • Article: “Why Cheri Beasley might be Democrats’ most underrated Senate candidate,” Vox, October 18, 2022