Cheri Beasley Campaigns With D-List Dems as Party Gives Up on North Carolina

Obama, Biden, Oprah nowhere to be seen as Republican Ted Budd widens lead in US Senate race

November 7, 2022

What's happening: Cheri Beasley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, is slouching toward the finish line as Republican Ted Budd looks increasingly likely to win the race to succeed retiring senator Richard Burr (R.).

By the numbers: Budd has led every poll taken since Oct. 10 by an average of 5.3 percentage points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. FiveThirtyEight gives him an 82 percent chance of winning the election.

Put in the scrubs: Stroke victim John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, won Oprah Winfrey's endorsement and joined President Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama on the campaign trail in the final stretch of his campaign.

Alas, when it comes to helping Beasley on the trail in North Carolina in the last few weeks before Election Day, the Democratic Party isn't sending their best:

• Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.), former senator Doug Jones (D., Ala.), and former Navy secretary Ray Mabus joined Beasley for a final campaign push in the Raleigh suburbs.

• Dave Matthews, 55, played a show in Raleigh last month in an attempt to help Beasley turn out the Democratic Party's base of white college-educated professionals.

• Second gentleman Doug Emhoff attended a series of get-out-the-vote rallies with Democratic National Committee chairman Jamie Harrison in October.

Why it matters: The open Senate race in North Carolina was once viewed as a midterm pickup opportunity for Democrats. At the rate things are going, they will be lucky to hold onto Senate seats in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia.

Donald Trump narrowly won North Carolina by 1.3 percentage points in 2020, but Biden's abysmal approval rating in the state—just 34 percent as of late September—is a major reason why Beasley refused to share a stage with the president and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Race card: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) was widely criticized in 2020 for opposing black candidates in Senate primaries. "Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for Senate in North Carolina," said Erica Smith, a black state lawmaker who lost the primary to Schumer's hand-picked candidate, white man Cal Cunningham.

Party leaders cleared the field for Beasley to run in 2022. Maybe Schumer thought she could actually win in North Carolina—a state that hasn't elected a Democratic senator since 2008—or maybe he just wanted credit for being "inclusive." Either way, he's probably going to have a rough night on Tuesday.

Go deeper: Why No One's Talking About the North Carolina Senate Race