Vote 2022 | U.S. Senate seat tops list of hot NC Election Day races

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Sunday, November 6, 2022
Beasley and Budd make closing arguments in hotly-contested Senate race
Downtown Raleigh turned into campaign battleground Wednesday in the high-profile U.S. Senate race between Cheri Beasley and Ted Budd. Both candidates held rallies in the Capital City, six days before Midterm 2022 Election Day.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina's open U.S. Senate seat is atop ballots statewide. Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd are seeking to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. The outcome could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Voters also get to choose a U.S. House delegation that's growing by one thanks to the state's rising population. Legislative races will decide whether Republicans can pad their General Assembly majorities so that they'll be veto-proof against Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in his final two years in office. And Republicans hope to regain control of the state Supreme Court.

These are some of the hot races up for grabs across North Carolina on Election Day, but there's none hotter than the race for U.S. Senate.

High-stakes Senate race

Statewide elections are generally closely divided affairs, but Democrats haven't won a U.S Senate race since 2008. Party officials were encouraged that the streak could be broken this year when Cheri Beasley got in the race last year.

Beasley got in the race after losing her reelection bid as former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. Other Democrats dropped out of the race to pave the way for Beasley, who would be North Carolina's first Black senator if elected. She's been the top fundraiser throughout the campaign, but Republican three-term Rep. Ted Budd has benefited from the Senate endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

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Trump's endorsement still means a great deal in the Tar Heel state. Budd was little known outside Washington or his central North Carolina congressional district, which included Alamance County when he entered the Senate race in the spring of 2021. At the time. former Gov. Pat McCrory was considered by many as the GOP primary front-runner. But Trump's announcement in June 2021 endorsing Budd and indirectly disparaging McCrory was the game-changer over time. Budd ultimately beat McCrory in the May primary by 34 percentage points. Trump's support has remained a key element of Budd's strategy.

Beasley and her allies have criticized Budd for his anti-abortion views and for his votes against bills related to controlling health care costs.

"The bottom line is Congressman Budd wants to be in between a woman and her doctor, and there is no place in the exam room for Congressman Budd," Beasley said at their debate on Oct. 7.

Budd's camp has attacked Beasley for supporting President Joe Biden's policies and for her written opinions while on the state Supreme Court that they call weak on crime.

"Joe Biden is on the ballot on Nov. 8, and he goes by the name this year of Cheri Beasley because she would be an absolute rubber stamp for everything that's led to this country being on the wrong track," Budd said.

This race may prove pivotal nationally as it could determine whether Democrats keep their razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate or whether Republicans will regain control.

U.S. House race

Republicans currently hold eight of the 13 U.S. House seats, with North Carolina gaining a 14th seat based on census figures. Redistricting litigation ultimately put Democrats in a strong position to win six U.S. House seats, with a chance to reach parity with the GOP in a new open Raleigh-area district considered a toss-up.

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This race pits Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel against Republican Bo Hines, a former N.C. State football player who like Budd is endorsed by Trump.

State legislature

The GOP has controlled the General Assembly since 2011 but hasn't held veto-proof majorities since 2018, which has allowed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to block Republican-led efforts on guns, abortion and immigration. The GOP needs only two additional Senate seats and three House seats to overcome the governor's vetoes.

State Supreme Court

The outcome of the two state Supreme Court races could have a lot to say about whether abortion restrictions or challenged Republican policies will be upheld. Democrats currently hold a 4-3 seat advantage. Republicans need to win one of the two to take back a majority they last held in 2016.

Things to know

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls close at 7:30 p.m.


A: North Carolina counts ballots very quickly, partly because so many votes have come in before Election Day. In 2020, 99% of votes were counted on Election Day.


A: North Carolina allows candidates to request a recount in close races. The threshold is a 0.5% margin or 10,000 votes (whichever is less) for statewide races and 1% of total votes for non-statewide races. The state covers the cost of recounts.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.