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Can NC Senate Nominee Cheri Beasley Beat Trumpy Election Denier? God, We Hope So.
Cross every finger while climbing every mountain.
Rick Scott is chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. His job is to deliver a Republican Senate majority, but Mitch McConnell apparently has little faith in Scott's talents. He's actively lowering expectations, which is reasonable considering he's saddled with so many clown car candidates. Here's what McConnell said at a Senate Republican leadership press conference with Scott standing right next to him, looking all sad.
MCCONNELL: I’ve consistently said for two years now that the Senate is 50/50, the country is 50/50, and I think the outcome for the Senate is likely to be 50/50. We’ve got a bunch of hard fought races, we’re all giving it our best on both sides, and I think it’s a jump ball.
Sure, the Senate is 50/50 but the country isn't. The Senate is inherently anti-democratic and favors white people and empty spaces. The 50 Democratic senators represent 41.5 million more people than the 50 Republicans. But even with all these structural advantages, Republicans still can't guarantee they'll run the show next year more than Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema currently allow them.
But this is what happens when you have South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham going rogue and proposing abortion bans most of the country opposes. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Democrat Cheri Beasley might just flip the seat that Republican Richard Burr is vacating.
Real Clear Politics ranks the North Carolina Senate race as a "toss up," and Republican nominee Ted Budd currently averages a narrow 1.6 point lead. Before Democrat Cal Cunningham stepped into his own dick in a sexting scandal, he consistently led Sen. Thom Tillis. We thought we had North Carolina and Maine in the bag but we got burned. Maybe that's why Democrats seem more bullish about Tim Ryan winning Ohio, a state Joe Biden lost by eight points.
Of course, Ryan is a dynamic candidate running against a walking zit. While I appreciate Beasley's no-sext platform, the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court could stand to make some noise.
But the lack of energy, ads and controversy raise the prospect of a lower turnout in November, however. And in a state with more unaffiliated voters than Democrats or Republicans, it's more difficult to judge the direction of the wind.
“If you'd have told me a year ago that this was going to be a sleepy race, I would’ve said we're in real trouble,” said Democratic political operative Morgan Jackson, who supports Cheri Beasley and believes she’s in position to win. “That’s not how we win these races.”
According to exit polls, Biden performed slightly better among white and Black voters in North Carolina than he did in Georgia. However, the percentage of the white vote was smaller and the Black vote greater in Georgia, which explains his narrow victory. The pattern holds for the Senate race. However, what doomed Cunningham is a mediocre showing among independent voters, almost a third of the electorate. He managed just 47 percent to Tillis's 44 percent. That's not enough to overcome the Republican edge over Democrats.
Conventional centrist wisdom was that Cunningham would knock independent voters' sensible socks off. That didn't pan out, perhaps because of the sexting October surprise. However, Biden didn't send mildly erotic texts to people, and he only beat Trump among independents by an insufficient four points.
Axios describes Beasley as "modest and reserved even at her own events as her campaign’s traveled to all 100 counties. In recent weeks she’s launched a series of 'Common Sense Connections' campaign events meant to highlight her independence and ability to float above partisan politics."
But we don't need "independent" Democrats who think they are "above" the fight against a radical rightwing fascist movement. Beasley is at her strongest when she calls out Budd as an anti-democratic election denier.
“First, Ted Budd voted to overturn the 2020 election. Now, he’s saying he won’t accept the results of our race if he loses. When people tell you who they are, believe them.”
— Cheri Beasley (@Cheri Beasley) 1663619281
Beasley can also hammer away at Budd on abortion, a top issue for key swing voters. Rep. Budd co-sponsored Graham's 15-week abortion ban. Budd is not as comically awful as Herschel Walker and Dr. Mehmet Oz, but he's bad news.
If gas prices continue falling and Graham helpfully reinforces the threat Republicans collectively pose to reproductive rights, Beasley could win this. McConnell would have to take his "jump ball" and go home.
[ Florida Politics ]
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