RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The ballot just got more crowded in the critical November face-off for North Carolina's soon-to-be-vacant senate seat in Washington. A federal judge, Thursday, rejected a last-ditch appeal from Democrats to keep the North Carolina Green Party off the ballot.
Thursday night before North Carolina starts printing election ballots for the crucial midterms, Matthew Hoh, an Iraq War veteran armed with the backing of the Green Party, is now one of the contenders vying for U.S Senate against Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd. If Hoh's candidacy gains any serious traction come November, it's likely to come at the expense of Beasley.
Hoh and the Green Party are hoping to disrupt the two-party race with a more liberal voice aimed at working families over big-money interests. Hoh's message could prove a bigger threat to Beasley's bid to become the state's first Black senator, peeling away Democratic voters
NC State political science professor Steven Green told ABC11 that the Green Party's biggest impact could be with younger voters dissatisfied that Beasley and the Democrats are fighting hard enough for progressive principles.
"I think there's a high possibility that it is a very close race," Green said. "Even just a few thousand votes for the green party can make a difference."
Former President Donald Trump's endorsement helped Budd win the Republican nomination. Now, Hoh is adding a new dynamic to this race that will help decide the balance of power in Washington.
Green contends the largely unknown candidate has an uphill battle.
"There's going to be very few voters who vote third party," Green said. "They recognize for the most part, the stakes."
Thursday's federal ruling is not the last word in the case. However, with the election board's printing machines set to fire Friday, it's all but certain the Green Party candidates will be on November's ballot.