There is a lot of anxiety ahead of this year’s midterm elections. One of the key races to determine the composition of the nation’s Senate will take place here in North Carolina. Senator Richard Burr is not running for re-election, leaving an empty seat that many Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina are battling to fill. Since the Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties (two independent caucuses with Democrats), every seat counts in this election. Without a clear Burr predecessor, North Carolina could become a swing state in the November vote.
Currently, Democrats control the White House with Joe Biden in power in 2022, as well as a majority vote in the House and Senate; however, the prospect numbers for this midterm election show a lead in the Republican Party. The stakes in the US Senate race are at an all-time high due to the unknowns of the future of the Senate.
U.S. Senator Richard Burr, who represented North Carolina for 28 years, announced his retirement in 2016. Burr was first elected to the Senate seat in 2004, beginning a standard six-year term; however, his service did not stop there. From 2015 to 2020, he chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senate retirements left seats open in three swing states in this election: North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
What is the key information to understand this midterm election?
The person elected, taking the place of Senator Burr, would be one of two representatives in the US Senate. Their mandate will last six years. A third of the Senate will also be elected during this cycle.
There are two voting dates for midterm elections: a primary election day and a general election day.
Primary elections were originally scheduled for March 8, 2022, but were delayed due to redistricting issues – more on that later. The new date for the primaries is May 17, 2022. On that day, voters will vote for a candidate from the party they are registered with.
General Election Day is November 8, 2022. On this day, voters will elect someone from any party to be the next senator.
So what about this redistricting plan?
Each state redraws its electoral district lines every 10 years in accordance with the census. The 2020 census-based redistricting plan was manipulated and rejected by Governor Roy Cooper. The districts are redrawn, thus delaying the midterm election until the districts can be considered fair.
District lines determine which candidate is elected in each section of the state. As the population grows and people move out, the government is responsible for maintaining an equal number of people in the districts.
Senators represent the entire state, so they are not affected by redistricting except for voting day. The mid-term date was pushed back more than two months due to this controversy.
Where are we in the race?
Nadine Gibson, professor of political science at UNCW, focuses on American politics, political behavior, elections, state government, and methodology.
“Right now we are in the ‘invisible primary’ phase of the race. This means parties select candidates before a single ballot has been cast,” Dr Gibson said. This period is a time for candidates to prove themselves throughout the campaign trail – a time to raise funds and solidify themselves as viable candidates in the public eye.
If you don’t know what’s going on, you’re not alone.
“Even people who pay attention to politics are often exhausted. Of course, as the election approaches, more and more people are paying attention. This is especially the case during presidential elections, but the focus wanes during midterm elections, and even more so during primary elections,” said Aaron King, another UNCW professor who teaches political institutions. and American research methods.
“The problem is that a lot of people don’t pay attention to the primaries even though those are the races where the parties choose the candidates who will be on the general election ballot in November,” King said.
Who are the candidates?
The Seahawk reported on all candidates vying for the position in July; however, the race has changed since our last coverage.
There are now six Democratic candidates including Cheri Beasley, Chrelle Booker, Keith Davenport, Tobias LaGrone, Rett Newton and Richard Watkins.
The Republican candidates are Jennifer Banwart, Ted Budd, Kenneth Harper, Pat McCory and Mark Walker.
Two candidates are running as independents: Kimrey Rheinhart and Brenda Rodriguez.
Democrat Jeff Jackson campaigned at UNCW last semester but dropped out of the race Dec. 9. He backed Democratic favorite Cheri Beasley.
“I suspect prominent members of the North Carolina Democratic Party and prominent donors have flagged Cheri Beasley as the most viable option,” Gibson said.
Pat McCory and Ted Budd were willing to send millions of dollars into the fight for one of them to take the Republican seat, which would be detrimental to the race. In order to prevent this from happening, Jeff Jackson dropped out and was the first contestant to endorse Beasley.
Cheri Beasley is currently the favorite. In 2014, Beasley was elected Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, overturning the seat of Republican control. In 2019, she became the first African American woman to serve as the Court’s Chief Justice.
The main issues Beasley focuses on are accessible and affordable health care, creating jobs for a better North Carolina economy, supporting small towns and agriculture, and advocating for women’s rights, to to name a few.
Much of the news about the upcoming election is about Republican front-runner Ted Budd. His goal is to reject Biden’s presidential plans. He supports law enforcement, wants to cut taxes, secure the border, and fully support the Second Amendment.
What do voters think of the candidates so far?
The last time North Carolina saw a Democratic senator in office was in 1999, with John Edwards. Right now, prospective Senate polls for the United States are almost too close to see any real difference in the numbers. The ballots are nearly split with 42.9% of voters planning to vote Republican, 42.7% Democrat and 14.4% unsure.
In North Carolina, Ted Budd holds a 41.1% lead over Cheri Beasley for the Republican seat. Cheri Beasley’s prospect poll number sits at 37.9%.
The next step is the May 17 primary election. Candidates are gearing up for what could be one of the most historically significant elections in North Carolina.