Washington, D.C. – Crime and the economy are among the trigger issues in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina.
Polls show a very close race between third-term Republican U.S. Rep. Tedd Budd and recently appointed N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cherie Beasley. Budd surged to a 45-43.5 percent lead in an RCP average poll of Real Clear Politics conducted between August 29 and October 2, according to an RCP average poll of Real Clear Politics. Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting starts Thursday, Oct. 20.
They are the two main party candidates. They seek to succeed Republican Richard Burr, who is retiring after three six-year terms and to help determine the Senate’s political tilt.
Beasley was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 2012 and appointed as chief justice in 2019. She narrowly lost reelection a year later. She was a district court judge from 1999 to 2008 and then a Court of Appeals judge from 2008 to 2012. In 2008, she was the first black woman elected to a statewide office in N.C. without getting appointed first.
Beasley, 56, has a law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1991. She has a B.A. in political science and economics (concentrating in accounting and finance) from Rutgers University/Douglass College. Both candidates are married with children.
Budd turns 51 on Friday, Oct. 21. He serves the 13th U.S. House District. He lives on the cattle and chicken farm he grew up on in Davie County. He brings from his family’s landscaping business a “businessman’s outlook” to federal budgeting. Former President Donald Trump endorsed him in the GOP primary.
He serves on the Financial Services Committee, where he said he fights overly “restrictive regulations that strangle job creation.” He earned an MBA from Wake Forest and has a Master’s in Theology and Educational Leadership.
The GOP won the three prior U.S. senate races. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis won a second term in 2020 by merely two percentage points. Burr was reelected by six points in 2016.
“Budd” and “Burr” are merely one double consonant apart. But Budd and Beasley are worlds apart on several fundamental issues.
Beasley for ‘Targeted’ Aid
Beasley, on her campaign website, calls for “targeted investments in creating and growing good-paying jobs; workforce development; and expanding economic opportunity.” She wants to reduce “income inequality and the racial wealth gap.”
She favors expanding programs for small businesses and entrepreneurs that provide “technical assistance, access to capital, and help for small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially for entrepreneurs of color and women.” She backs “investments in infrastructure and renewable energy to create good-paying jobs” and expanded federal “training, certification, and apprenticeship programs.”
She favors a federally-funded paid pregnancy and medical leave program (as she created for state court workers) for workers; aid for affordable child care, making the Expanded Child Tax Credit permanent, and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Beasley also prioritizes such issues as affordable health care, reforming the criminal justice system and the immigration process, the “climate crisis,” education, and abortion and other women’s rights.
Budd Fights Crime, Drugs
Rep. Budd points to his record of fighting for greater public safety. Earlier this month, he co-sponsored H.R. 9092 – the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act. It would rescind recent authorization to double the IRS workforce for tax enforcement. Budd stated that money should instead beef up border patrol. “We should not be hiring 87,000 more IRS agents to treat working families like tax cheats. Instead of making life harder for middle class Americans struggling under the weight of the Biden Recession, those funds should be used to further fund our police and border patrol—as they battle the rise in crime and drug trafficking caused by the Biden open border policy.”
To slow the opioid epidemic and deadly fentanyl trafficking, Budd backs two bipartisan bills. The Save Americans from the Fentanyl Emergency (SAFE) Act replaces temporary measures with permanently declaring fentanyl-related substances as severe Schedule I narcotics. The Dark Web Interdiction Act to fund efforts to better detect clandestine online communication for trafficking.
Budd is one of four to introduce a bi-partisan bill to create a Center to Combat Organized Retail Crime in Homeland Security to unite state and local law enforcement and retail industry experts. This targets “smash-and-grab” gang looting of retail stores, and helps recover lost merchandise and proceeds. Budd calls it a “comprehensive strategy to fight back and support the law enforcement officers who do their best to keep our communities safe every day.”
Budd voted for H.R. 6448, the Invest to Protect Act to increase federal community policing grants to departments across North Carolina with fewer than 125 officers. “Backing the blue is especially important now, as we see rogue prosecutors and activist judges intervene to undercut those who fight crime,” Budd said. “Now is the time to increase police funding and give law enforcement our full support.” The VICTIM Act establishes a new $1 billion grant program to assist local law enforcement in dealing with violent crime cases such as homicide, non-fatal shootings, rape, and kidnapping.
Rep. Budd recently backed bills to halt federally-funded U.S. semiconductor chipmakers from building plants in China and to require U.S. firms to disclose any economic support from a foreign nation. He voted for more federal money for law enforcement across N.C. He chastised the Department of Energy for allowing the transfer to a Chinese company of “advanced, cutting-edge battery technology developed in a federally-sponsored laboratory.” Budd urged troops to get greater inflation pay allowances.
The candidates debated on TV Oct. 7 in Raleigh. They appeared separately a week apart on Fox TV. Sean Hannity’s guest on Oct. 5 was Budd. Beasley appeared on Fox News a week later.
“Soft on crime” is Budd’s tag on Beasley. He said she supports cashless bail for nonviolent offenders, letting them out to possibly commit more crime. Beasley avoided the topic when he appeared on Fox News. She disputed Budd’s charge that she was for police defunding. Beasley is “anti-police,” Budd said. “She’s done fundraisers with the leaders of Defund the Police.”
Beasley defended her record. She said on Fox News that “I’ve created the first human trafficking court here in North Carolina to hold violent offenders accountable and to support our victims.”
Hannity cited Beasley’s “pro-criminal rulings” on the state’s high court, her being very lenient about “cop killers” and “child sex predators,” and said she spoke in favor of 2020 race protests that turned violent. Hannity said Beasley is also publicly for expanding Medicare via Obamacare, the recent spending bill, abolishing the Senate filibuster, and overturning U.S. Census results.
Beasley said she differs from the Biden Administration—which she said can “work a whole lot harder” to reduce inflation. She said she opposed the lifting of pandemic restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border. She said in the debate that “we must secure our border and reform the system” with paths to citizenship for those who came here as children.
The two disagree about the cause of inflation. Budd blames bloated federal spending and “what Joe Biden’s done to (consumers) in the last two years. Gas is more expensive. Groceries are more expensive. It’s harder…It’s costing $7,200 more for the average family (of four) out there.”
In their debate, Beasley blamed rising prices on corporate greed. She claimed corporations nationwide have “70-year record profits” by “jacking up prices.”
Budd countered, “We need to stop over-regulating,” which in part means “keeping goods from being produced.” He said “we need to encourage work, and make sure we have enough folks that go back into the workforce” after the expiration of extensive government aid that made it more profitable for many to stay out of work.