RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd won North Carolina’s open Senate seat on Tuesday, defeating Cheri Beasley while extending a losing streak for state Democrats seeking a spot in that chamber.
Budd, a three-term congressman, will succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr, who entered the Senate in 2005.
As a candidate endorsed by Donald Trump and ready to embrace the former president’s support, Budd will provide a more hardline conservative voice in the Senate than Burr, who voted in 2021 to convict Trump at his impeachment trial related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Beasley, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court attempting to be the state’s first Black senator, fell short despite having a significant fundraising advantage over Budd’s campaign. But national Republicans came to Budd’s defense with a large wave of spending attacking her judicial record and support for President Joe Biden’s policies.
“It’s time now to put the brakes on the Biden agenda of reckless spending, overregulation and higher taxes,” Budd during his speech to supporters late Tuesday night in Winston-Salem. “It’s time to fully support the men and women of law enforcement who keep us safe each and every day.”
Beasley’s defeat means Democrats have now lost seven of the eight Senate elections this century; their only victory coming in 2008. While North Carolina statewide elections are usually closely divided affairs, Democrats have won all but one gubernatorial election since 1992.
The Senate Leadership Fund, which is linked to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., alone spent $38 million against Beasley, along with other conservative groups whose spending effectively canceled out her fundraising edge. The Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC committed to spending well less than half of that amount.
Budd was relentless during the fall campaign in attempting to link Beasley to Biden, saying last month that “she would be an absolute rubber stamp for everything that’s led to this country being on the wrong track.”
David Goodall, 51, of Apex, said he voted on Tuesday for Budd and other Republicans “because of the craziness that’s going coming out of Washington, D.C., right now — all the inflation, the craziness, the overspending, just the ridiculousness that’s coming from the left party.”