North Carolina’s Senate race didn’t start out as one of the must-sees in 2022, but in the final weeks of the midterms the race is gaining national attention.
This is because before Friday night’s debate between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd, Many studies have shown the race to be tied or close enough to not call.
For most of the year the competition has flown under the radar, but that has started to change in recent weeks.
Beasley, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court, leaned toward him character and record as a judge as she seeks to become the first Black Women senator. He is focused on protecting abortion rights and improving health care.
Budd, a three-term candidate, crossed over from the GOP thanks to the support of former President Donald Trump. He emphasized reducing violent crime, protecting the border and to be a check on President Joe Bidenwho held a 34% approval rate in the government.
Given that the Senate is evenly split at 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris as the break vote, Democrats have been forced to pour more money into the race to help unseat the GOP.
So far, Beasley has outpaced Budd by taking in more than $16 million through June 30 versus $6.5 million, according to campaign finance records.
Here’s a breakdown of Friday’s debate.
Budd circumvents the country’s abortion ban
The Tar Heel State, like many others, had a statute of limitations that went into effect when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
It now prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Budd has they supported a law that will end the ban in the country after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but Beasley said the congressman supports a total national ban.
Budd said he has “always been pro-life” and is committed to fighting Beasley’s views. He said he signed the bill as a way to challenge House Democrats in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act.
“If they’re going to do it, I’m going to be against the union, but at the same time, I believe it’s for the state,” Budd said.
He was asked twice about supporting a total ban in the country, however, the congressman did not answer directly.
Beasley said women deserve access to life-saving measures and that as a former judge he believes in the protections and restrictions that existed under Roe.
“The bottom line is that Congressman Budd wants to be between a woman and her doctor,” he said. “And there was no room in the congressional examination room for Budd.”
Both win Biden v. Trump rematch
Like most votersBeasley and Budd didn’t seem interested in the back-and-forth between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Asked twice if he would join the current president on stage when he campaigned in North Carolina, the former judge declined the opportunity.
“If it is a legal visit, we have to see if it is something we are getting,” he said.
The deputy then asked Budd if Trump was a crime with the voters. Budd said the former president won North Carolina twice.
Budd said Trump endorsed him during the GOP primary because he is “America’s first candidate.”
When asked if Trump should run for president again in 2024, however, the congressman shrugged it off, saying he would “just look at this (race) for now.”
Beasley was then asked if Biden should seek re-election in two years.
“You know, I don’t think he’s going to ask me so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
What about the 2020 election?
Budd was among 147 Republican members of Congress who refused to release the results of the 2020 presidential election, and would not say whether Biden was the legitimate president during Friday’s debate.
The congressman said he stood by the vote, arguing that the GOP doesn’t have enough votes to overturn the final race for the White House.
“The purpose of this vote was to encourage more debate,” he said.
Budd’s campaign argued that Beasley is a hypocrite and that he disputed the outcome of his 2020 loss to the state Supreme Court.
But Beasley said it was “disgusting” to compare Budd’s rejection to the election in which he is seeking a recount after losing by 400 votes out of nearly 5.4 million. The former judge said how he once said the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol was. “Only the Patriots stood.”
“Once we saw the results, we were happy to accept,” he said. “That’s different (from) what happened with Congressman Budd, and the denial of the election is dangerous for this country.”
Beasley, Budd differ on marijuana
The two had very different views on Biden’s announcement that he was the one to forgive people for using marijuanawhich would affect more than 6,500 people.
Budd stormed out, saying it sends “a bad message to our children” and that he thinks it’s beyond the president’s authority.
“And why would you want to give amnesty to those who broke our laws and encourage even more breaking the law and encourage even more drugs… I think it’s bad on both sides,” he said.
Beasley said his understanding of the presidential pardon is that it applies to low-level marijuana offenses. He said he supports the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use.
Budd said he opposes the legalization of recreational use but is open to discussing medical use.
Beasley insisted on crime, police cuts
When the conversation turned to gun control, Budd said that the state must balance protecting the Second Amendment while keeping guns away from dangerous people.
But he went on to call the debate surrounding guns part of a larger conversation about public safety and law enforcement. He called Beasley soft on crime and said he supports efforts to reduce the police budget.
“We need to treat police officers like the heroes they are,” Budd said. “We can’t be extorted, like my opponent is trying to get money from the leader of the police extortion party.”
Beasley dismissed Budd’s claims and denied that he raised campaign funds with anti-police groups.
“I do not support defunding the police,” he said. “We need to give the police money to make sure they have the resources to keep them and our community safe.”
But Beasley said the state also needs to invest in community violence prevention programs. He said Budd should not teach him about crime when he called the violence of January 6 patriotic.
“I mean, Congressman Budd is all about talking,” Beasley said.