GREENSBORO, N.C. — The pitch and tenor from the candidates who want to succeed the retiring Richard Burr and represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate is becoming slightly more elevated just two days after their nominations.

The Republican nominee, Rep. Ted Budd, was fervent if now loud during his celebratory speech after the Primary Election on Tuesday, immediately linking Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley to President Joe Biden and the other Democratic leaders in Washington.

He used a favored phrase for describing their policies: “Under Joe Biden, America is woke and broke.” He said Beasley is the “most radical and liberal candidate ever had for Senate in North Carolina.”

Beasley, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, didn’t assail Budd in her comments after winning the nomination with nearly 80% of the vote, but she addressed him in a statement issued on Thursday morning after the House voted on measures to help address a national shortage of baby formula:

“Congressman Budd has again shown he will not stand up for North Carolina families, voting against a bipartisan measure to help families impacted by the infant formula shortage get what they need to feed their babies,” Beasley said in the statement “As a mom, I know there is nothing more important than ensuring our children are cared for, and it is inexcusable that Congressman Budd is playing political games instead of stepping up to do everything he can to help ensure families can feed their children.” 

That was perfunctory but also curious: It had arrived hours after a statement from Budd, who represents the 13th Congressional District, that he had voted for HR 7791, the Access to Baby Formula Act, saying:

“The current baby formula shortage is unacceptable. Instead of hoarding stockpiles of baby formula at the southern border, the Biden administration should prioritize the needs of the American people first. I was proud to vote to loosen federal restrictions for families to get formula for their infants and prevent future supply chain disruptions. The infant formula shortage is an emergency and is one more consequence of the Biden administration’s mismanagement hurting North Carolina families.” ​

That also was odd given that 6th District U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) had issued a release saying that she voted for the same bill. Only nine Republicans voted against it, and there were six people who didn’t vote, including 5th District Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk).

The Senate later approved that bill, too, with Republican Senator Thom Tills issuing a statement to say that the bill “gives the FDA the authority they need to be flexible during a crisis.”

2 other bills

But it turns out that before that vote there was another for HR 7790, called the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022, which would have provided $28 million in emergency funds to address the shortage of formula.

Budd was one of 192 Republicans – including all GOP representatives from North Carolina except Foxx – to vote against that bill. There were 12 Republicans who voted for it.

That vote was the target for Beasley’s dart. There was no statement from Budd’s office about why he voted against that bill. The NC Democratic Party also issued a release addressing the vote from the seven Republicans from NC who did likewise.

Beasley then also issued a statement to assail Budd for his vote on a measure to address gas price gouging. All Republicans and a handful of Democrats in the House voted against the bill, which would ban “excessive” pricing during a fuel emergency.

“North Carolinians across the state are struggling with high gas prices and rather than holding big oil companies making record profits accountable for price gouging, Congressman Ted Budd once again has put corporate special interests above the needs of North Carolinians. It’s clear: Congressman Budd is wrong for North Carolina,” she said.

NC GOP in Greensboro

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Republican Party has brought its state convention to Greensboro, gathering through Sunday at the Koury Center on Gate City Boulevard. Speakers include Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida), Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and David Bossie, president of the Citizens United super PAC, among others.

Scott, considered by some to be a candidate to be the Senate Majority Leader, if Republicans take control in November and possibly for president in 2024, is the author of the 11 Point Plan to Rescue America.

Some of the elements in that plan – specifically his tax plan and his sunset concept for Social Security and Medicare – have been at the heart of strategic attacks by Democrats.

The NCDP is having a counterprogramming press conference at 11:30 a.m. Friday in Greensboro, calling it “This Budd Is Not For North Carolina.” State and local party leaders will speak about how Budd has addressed points in Scott’s plan.