Senate candidate Beasley running strong 2022 bid
By Cash Michaels
Former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is certainly attracting both support, and scrutiny in her bid for 2022 U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by the departing Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr.
"I’m so grateful for all of the support and enthusiasm we’re seeing across NC," she wrote on Twitter recently. “For too long our senators have been more focused on their own self-interest than serving our state. It’s past time for that to change. And together we’ll make that happen.”
The former Chief Justice lost a razor thin race against Associate Justice Paul Newby by just 400 votes statewide in the November 2020 elections. She formally joined the 2022 race for the U.S. Senate in April 2021.
On the support side, the Beasley campaign reported raising $1.3 million for its war chest, with donations coming in from 93 of North Carolina’s 100 counties (90% being $100.00 or less) keeping pace with her Democratic primary opponents thus far, and also keeping pace with the GOP U.S. Senate frontrunner, former NC Governor Pat McCrory, who has also reportedly raised approximately $1.3 million.
In McCrory’s case, the once-moderate Republican and one time mayor of Charlotte faces a primary field of two others - Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC-6) and former District 6 Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC-6) and leads both in fundraising. However, McCrory has already challenged both to primary debates, most likely because he’s seen as weak with North Carolina’s rock-solid conservative base.
Indeed, when former Pres. Donald Trump visited North Carolina last month, he surprised everyone by publicly endorsing Budd for the Senate seat. Walker has already agreed to the debates, but Budd has not responded thus far.
No such drama on the Democratic side, as Cheri Beasley leads a primary field of six, which includes state Sen. Jeff Jackson, former state Sen. Erica Smith, Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton, pharmacist Ava Edwards and virologist Richard Watkins.
The primaries are slated for March 8th, 2022.
Republicans are already trying to soften Democratic frontrunner Beasley up, with the NC Republican Party releasing statement alleging that Beasley “…has agreed to partner with Democratic Socialist U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) in a joint fundraising committee…a member of Justice Democrats, the most leftwing caucus in Congress, which includes congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tiaib (D-MI).
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is also accusing Beasley of flip-flopping on voter ID, alleging that she’s trying to have it both ways in a statement both supportive of H.R. 1 “For the People Act that is against voter I.D., but also supportive of a proposed compromise by moderate Sen. Joe Manchin that tout’s voter I.D.
For the record, Beasley has been against voter ID since 2014, but apparently is willing to compromise on the issue, like many other Democrats, in order to get important voting rights legislation passed.
On the support side, NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has publicly endorsed Beasley as “…a trailblazer who has dedicated her career to the people of North Carolina…, “adding that “Cheri can flip this seat and help us hold our Senate majority…”
Political observers see at least ten U.S. Senate seats flip in 2022, and North Carolina is one of them. They also see the prospect of two Black female Democrats winning Senate seats - Val Demings in Florida and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina.
As of press time, Cheri Beasley has received endorsements from at least 70 leaders from across North Carolina, including from Color of Change; former NC Supreme Chief Justice Henry Frye; state Senators Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford); Deb Butler (D-New Hanover); state Rep. Evelyn Terry (Forsyth) and former state Rep. H.M. “Mickey” Michaux (Durham).