x
Breaking News
More () »

Charlotte's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Charlotte, North Carolina | WCNC.com

Already crowded field in NC senate race sets stage for another expensive campaign

Catawba College professor Michael Bitzer says the 2022 race will continue North Carolina's recent tradition of costly and razor-close campaigns.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina's 2022 U.S. Senate campaign is quickly becoming a crowded field with Republicans and Democrats expected to have a long list of candidates to choose from in next March's primary election. 

"It could be the key race yet again to determine who controls the U.S. Senate," said Dr. Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics at Catawba College. 

Currently, the Senate is split evenly among Democrats and Republicans with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker. In recent campaign cycles, North Carolina's Senate races have drawn national attention for costly, contentious and razor-thin campaigns.

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

"This 2022 cycle will top that yet again," Bitzer said.

So far on the Republican side, congressmen Ted Budd and Mark Walker along, with former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, have announced candidacies.  On the Democratic side, the big names running are former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, and state senators Jeff Jackson and Erica Smith.  

RELATED: 'Your mindset has to be to attack it' | Back at work, Sen. Tillis takes an aggressive approach to cancer diagnosis and recovery.

The field of candidates is expected to grow in the coming months, with all eyes on a possible candidacy of Wilmington native Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of former President Trump. 

"I think that's what everyone is waiting for," said Bitzer.

A Trump candidacy could be key in deciding the GOP primary, with each Republican vying for the former president's endorsement.  For Democrats, Bitzer sees a shift left from the more moderate views of past candidates in North Carolina. 

"It's not about persuading a mass group in the middle, it's more about energizing and mobilizing your supporters," he said.

RELATED: NC House approves series of law enforcement reform bills

Contact Ben Thompson at bthompson@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || Google Podcasts

All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.