CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Recent polling shows the North Carolina U.S. Senate race continues to be extremely tight. Republican Congressman Ted Budd and Democratic former Chief Justice Cheri Beasley are seemingly tied in public support. Newly released campaign finance reports show Beasley has a significant cash advantage over her opponent.
The results of this race will play a big role in determining the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. When it comes to outside spending, some think Democrats are not doing enough to support Beasley.
U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley is trying to break a seven-year streak without a Democratic senator representing North Carolina.
A Marist poll out this week shows she’s tied with her opponent, Republican Ted Budd, among registered voters.
“But Budd’s ahead among those who are definitely going to vote," Scott Huffmon, a political science professor at Winthrop University said. "This tells you right away that the Democrats are possibly going to have a turnout problem and whether they can make it over the top in this election is going to depend on turning people out for this race."
State data shows as of Friday, 925,076 North Carolinians have voted early: 39% are registered Democrats, 31% are registered Republicans and 29% are unaffiliated voters.
Huffmon predicts this election will have a higher turnout than usual.
“The issues that we’re seeing play into getting that voter turnout for each side,” Huffmon said. “You have to use that spending, either that you raise yourself or that comes in nationally, to not only up your name recognition but to make sure that when voters go to the polls, they’re thinking about the issues that help your side.”
Beasley’s campaign has far outraised Budd’s but it’s offset by substantial outside spending against her.
“I think it says that the national groups knew far better than most folks locally did that this was never going to be that competitive of a race," Larry Shaheen Jr., a Republican strategist, explained. "The polls are tight now, but you have to remember that the polls going into 2020 showed Thom Tillis losing, the polls going into 2014 showed Thom Tillis losing, the polls going into 2016 showed Richard Burr losing. The fact that they’re tied shows Ted Budd has a structural advantage.”
The Senate Majority PAC has committed more than $2 million to Beasley in the final two weeks of the campaign.
“You have to look at where you have your best opportunity and I think that the national party who says they invest in Black women and believe in Black women needs to put their money where their mouth is in this race here,” Doug Wilson, a Democratic strategist said.
More people have voted early this year than at the same point in the last midterm election in 2018.
Early voting sites are open seven days a week with shorter hours on the weekends.
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