On Wednesday, former Vince President Mike Pence made the case for electing Rep. Ted Budd for U.S. Senate in a final-week push before the 2022 midterm elections.
In a fundraiser at NCGOP headquarters, Pence sat with Budd and party chairman Michael Whatley to talk about goals and policy that focuses on inflation, empowering parents in education, and addressing a crime surge. Prior to the Pence event, Budd met with law enforcement groups in Asheboro.
The Pence stop comes as polls show Budd building a narrow lead over his opponent, Democrat Cheri Beasley, his 47% to her 44%, who has focused much of her campaign on abortion access. Polls also show that the economy or inflation are the top issues for 46% of N.C. voters, over abortion being the top for 18% of voters.
“North Carolinians are worried about rising crime, skyrocketing inflation, and want to have a say in their kids’ education. Thanks to VP @Mike_Pence and Chairman @WhatleyNCGOP for joining me for a forum in Raleigh this afternoon,” Budd tweeted Wednesday.
Budd is endorsed by Pence’s former boss, President Donald Trump, and his support for Budd indicated Republicans’ desire to highlight unity in the party as control of the U.S. Senate is a jump ball going into Tuesday’s elections.
In the U.S. House, Republicans need to gain eight seats to win a majority of the chamber, something that pollsters believe they will do. The Senate is currently split 50/50 between the two major parties, with Republicans now within reach of a majority. The seat Budd and Beasley are vying for was already in the Republican column, as it is now held by Sen. Richard Burr.
Historically, the wind is at Budd’s back. Since the end of World War II, the sitting president’s party has lost an average of 26 House seats in midterm elections. Plus, North Carolina has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 2008.
Pence’s stop in Raleigh is part of a whirlwind multicity tour in the midterm homestretch to help Republican Senate candidates unite party faithful, who may be hungry to see their candidates look forward, not back. Pence was in Georgia campaigning for Gov. Brian Kemp’s re-election against Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams. Following the Budd event, Pence went to work phones in Virginia and speak to voters for U.S. House candidates. Later this week he heads to Michigan to stump for Republican House candidate Tom Barrett, while Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, a vocal Trump critic who was defeated in the primaries, campaigns for Barrett’s Democrat opponent.
Meantime, Beasley is spending her last week on the campaign trail focused on access to abortion, a key talking point for Democrats up and down the ballot this year. Beasley has not appeared with President Joe Biden or former President Barack Obama in any campaign stops, although Obama did endorse her in a campaign ad. On Wednesday she made several campaign stops in the Triangle.
Early voting ends Saturday. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. More than 1.5 million N.C. voters have already cast their ballots.