GOP election denier Ted Budd to face Cheri Beasley for open North Carolina Senate seat

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Former President Donald Trump's handpicked candidate has pushed false claims about the 2020 election.

On Tuesday, North Carolina Republicans selected Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), a far-right extremist who has pushed false claims about the 2020 election, to be their Senate nominee. He will face Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the state's Supreme Court.

As of Wednesday morning, Budd had received more than 58% of the GOP primary vote. Former Gov. Pat McCrory received just below 25% of the vote, while former Rep. Mark Walker received about 9% of the vote.

Budd was a vocal backer of efforts to overturn President Joe Biden's victory over former President Donald Trump, baselessly claiming that Americans had no faith in the results due to "legitimate concerns over voter fraud, machine irregularities, and mail-in ballots."

Budd voted to overturn North Carolina's Electoral College results, citing "irregularities & constitutional violations" and defended that move as recently as Monday.

Though Budd did once admit that Biden was the legitimate president, Trump endorsed Budd anyway, telling supporters he was "someone you’ll be very proud of. He'll fight like hell."

Since getting elected to the U.S. House in 2016, Budd has repeatedly embraced extreme positions. He joined the far-right Freedom Caucus, voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, urged the Supreme Court to reject LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as "a very intelligent actor."

In 2019, Budd refused to say that it was inappropriate for a U.S. president to ask other countries to meddle in American elections, calling it a "tricky question."

The following year, he suggested that stay-at-home orders to curb the COVID-19 pandemic were being pushed by Democratic politicians with a "socialist bent."

Last June, Budd pushed to cut $111 million in transportation funds earmarked for his own state, calling it "pork-barrel spending."

As a candidate, Budd has presented himself as an outsider who "can't be bought by the swamp," despite receiving significant funding from lobbyists and lobbying firms.

With more than 81% of the vote, Democratic voters selected Beasley as their nominee. After years of working as a public defender and a judge, she was appointed to lead the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2019 — becoming the first Black woman to hold that post.

Her campaign has focused on justice for all, affordable health care, women's rights, and safeguarding the right to vote. Unlike Budd, she strongly supports codifying Roe v. Wade.

North Carolina has been a swing state in recent elections. The state narrowly voted for Trump in 2020 (49.9% to 48.6%), while also re-electing Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper (51.5% to 47%).

The seat is open because Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is retiring. The Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball both list the seat as leaning Republican in November.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.