GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – The daily back and forth of emails that deliver criticisms and touts from candidates for various offices can be head-spinning and issue-numbing.

Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley (WGHP file photo
Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley (WGHP file photo)

The greatest battle of the inboxes is between the two prime candidates for North Carolina’s open Senate seat, Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance) of the 13th District and Democratic former Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.

No day and nary an hour go by without a missive from one or the other or some of their supporting organizations, such as state and national parties. And that’s just the stuff not filtered out as spam.

Most of the emails seek to stake their positions in valid terms, but before we show you some of that, we thought we would start with the ultimate email that arrived on Friday.

That’s when the North Carolina Democratic Party delivered a basket of chips to Budd’s district office to reinforce his vote against the recently passed legislation to expand the production of semiconductor chips in the U.S. The NCDP included a photo with this one.

“The sad reality is that the working families of North Carolina are paying a whole lot more for potato chips thanks to Biden policies supported by Cheri Beasley,” Samantha Cotten, Budd’s communications director, wrote in an email to WGHP.

Ted Budd for SenateThe “conversation” about this issue had begun earlier in the week when Beasley’s staff sent out a release advocating her support for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, which had bipartisan support that did not always include Republicans from North Carolina.

“Investing in a Made-In-America economy is essential to creating good-paying jobs, lowering costs, and keeping them low so events abroad won’t raise prices and create shortages here in North Carolina. The House should quickly pass this bipartisan legislation to strengthen our economy, create good-paying jobs, hold China accountable, and boost U.S. manufacturing,” Beasley said.

NC Democrats sent this basket of chips to Rep. Ted Budd’s district office (NCDP)

Then she noticed that Budd had voted against the bill and sent out a second release that offered a typical salvo from Democrats: “His vote today against legislation that will create good-paying jobs, boost our economy, and lower costs is the latest reminder that he is, at his core, a Washington insider who puts politics over North Carolinians.” 

That was followed by the basket of chips from the NCDP.

Budd didn’t say in an email or on social media why he voted against that bill, but he certainly has delivered his own onslaughts, attaching Beasley to every breath taken by President Joe Biden and the policies with which he disagrees. Budd is quick to attack inflation and immigration for what he thinks are “destructive” policies.

He also recently wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to call for the release of documents about the U.S. evacuation in Afghanistan.

“It has been 11 months since the Biden Administration mismanaged the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Essential questions have been unanswered, and Department of Defense (DOD) leadership has offered little insight to the public into how failures in intelligence and execution occurred. You and your team must communicate to the American people how those painful experiences can inform and improve future decision-making and strategic planning.”

That’s far from all

But there are a lot more examples of the back-and-forth. Here are some in recent weeks, mostly in chronological order:

  • Rep. Ted Budd has proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to expand the Veterans-to-Classrooms program, which provides financial incentives for current and former members of the military to become teachers and school resource officers.
  • “North Carolinians are struggling to afford the medication they need, and when Congressman Budd had a chance to do something to lower costs, he instead sided with Big Pharma,” said Dory MacMillan, spokesperson for Cher Beasley wrote about Budd’s vote against a bill to rein in prescription drug costs.
  • Budd submitted an amendment to the FY 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration Appropriations bill designating $50 million in funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program.
  • Budd introduced the Promote Work and Improve Health Act. The bill directs states to prioritize ways to promote the dignity of work as a way to fight substance abuse.
  • Budd introduced the Build More Pipelines Act. The bill codifies the Trump Administration’s rule limiting state-based regulatory roadblocks to pipeline contraction.
  • Beasley called out Washington politicians after the Senate refused to pass the Honoring Our PACT Act, which would expand access to health care and benefits to roughly 3.5 million veterans exposed to burn pits and give Camp Lejeune families the right to seek monetary relief due to harms from water contamination.
  • Budd and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) topped a letter to NC Attorney General Josh Stein calling on the North Carolina Department of Justice to utilize the Freedom of Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994 to protect North Carolina-based Crisis Pregnancy Centers and bring the perpetrators of previous attacks to justice.
  • Beasley kicked off canvassing in Winston-Salem by door-knocking with volunteers and saying, “Voters know we have a chance to elect a Senator who will stand up to Washington and special interests to put the people first – and I’m grateful to fight alongside North Carolinians to bring change to our state in November.” 
  • Budd sponsored H.R. 623, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 passed by the House in February 2022. The bill extends the Pediatric Research Initiative through 2027 and nearly doubles the annual funding from $12.6 million to $25 million.
  • Beasley continued to outline how she will stand up to both parties, releasing a new ad: “64 members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, have broken a law to stop insider stock trading, yet Washington refused to do anything about it. Let’s ban members of Congress from trading stocks all together.”

An interesting poll

Former national security adviser John Bolton (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

John Bolton, a diplomat who served as former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser in 2018-19, used his John Bolton Super Pac to poll Trump’s impact in battleground states. A release on the finding didn’t discuss the sample size or process for the sampling, but the results were noteworthy if mixed.

The report said that nationally 12.5% of Republicans call themselves “Trump Republicans” and that 2 out of 3 prefer someone other than Trump as their 2024 nominee.

In North Carolina, Beasley has a 43%-40% lead on Budd, with Trump showing a 33% favorable rating in the state.

In other close Senate races, the data showed the Democratic nominee to be leading in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Republican Herschel Walker to be ahead in Georgia, where most other polls have shown him behind.

Primary voters

Chris
Cooper
Michael Bitzer

Chris Cooper, an elections expert and professor at Western Carolina University, reported that 20% registered voter turnout on May 17 was the highest for a midterm election primary and that only 2002 was slightly higher. Only in 2014 did the turnout exceed 14%, he said.

One of Cooper’s partners on the Old North State Politics blog, professor Michael Bitzer of Catawba College, broke down voters who participated in the primary on May 17 for his blog and for NC Spin and found some interesting trends:

  • Unaffiliated voters voted 21% of their ballots in the Democratic primary and 31% in the GOP primary. They also voted 21% for Libertarian and Unaffiliated ballots, for which there were few decisions.
  • Some 22% of registered GOP voters and 15% of registered Democrats voted the limited unaffiliated ballot.
  • Democrats voted their ballot at a 79% rate, and the GOP voted its ballot by 68%. So crossover voting was limited.
  • Even with their recent rise to the top among registered voters,  Unaffiliated voters didn’t show up at the same turnout levels. Only 15% of them voted in the primary, compared to 24% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats.
  • Statewide voting was 37% by Republicans, 35% by Democrats and 27% by Unaffiliated.

Tidbits

  • Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, the Republican from Greensboro who lost to Budd in the Senate primary, said recently he was serving as a consultant on judicial races, using his well-worn bus to travel around the state. He also said after November he would take a look at his political options. In the time being he is partnering with Rev. Odell Cleveland of Greensboro for a weekly show on WGHP called “Swing State.” You can find it at 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Speaking of inboxes, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord), who is the nominee in the 9th District that will include Randolph County, spoke on the House floor against recent legislation to ban assault weapons, which he called “a gun control measure that will do nothing to save lives or address the root causes of violence. … This and other gun control measures like red flag laws, they make the other side feel better. … The simple truth is criminals don’t follow the law.”
  • Christian Castelli, the resident of Southern Pines who is the GOP nominee in the 6th Congressional District, will make a public appearance at a Republican Speakers Forum in Greensboro on Aug. 16. Castelli is scheduled to appear at 11:45 a.m. at Kickback Jack’s on Battleground Avenue. There will be lunch for $20. To reserve a spot or find out more, contact Wayne Ford of the Guilford County Republican Party.