The US Senate race between Democrat Cherie Beasley, former NC Supreme Court chief justice, and GOP Rep. Ted Budd for the open seat vacated by Sen. Richard Burr was too close to call until almost midnight, when Budd was up by three points with 98.83 percent of NC counties reporting. Budd’s lead held for the win.
While Budd wasn’t in attendance at the Marriott Hotel in Winston-Salem that featured Trump and MAGA cars out front, his presence was keenly felt.
A sea of blue sport coats and red ties made their way to a ballroom on the second floor into a crowded room of cocktail dresses, cameras and a giant projection screen displaying election results on Fox News.
Random cheers erupted when other states were called for Republicans, most notably in Georgia where Herschel Walker was coming out ahead. (As of press time, the Georgia race is still too close to call.) Ohio Senate hopeful JD Vance elicited some cheers, as well as the Governor’s race in Florida.
With the Senate balance at an even 50-50, the seat was an opportunity for Dems to turn one blue or for Reps to keep their edge. And the difference between the candidates was stark. Beasley was the first Black woman to serve as chief justice in NC; Budd owns a gun shop in Rural Hall, got a full-throated endorsement from Donald Trump and voted to overturn the 2022 election.
At press time, the Senate stood at 46 Democrats and 46 Republicans, with races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin and Washington too close to call.
Rep. Kathy Manning didn’t come to her own watch party until she knew she had it in the bag.
She waited until “every ballot was counted,” she told her assembled staffers and supporters at Bain & Elm event space on Tuesday night at 10:16 p.m., almost three hours after the polls closed and more than two hours after she took a commanding lead in early returns.
In the end the Democrat won re-election in the 6th Congressional District by more than 8.5 points over Republican challenger Christian Casselli, a margin of more than 20,000 votes. Libertarian candidate Thomas Watercott received 1 percent of the votes cast.
After thanking her husband, Greensboro businessman Randall Kaplan, and her campaign and Congressional staffers, Manning felt obligated to thank the North Carolina Supreme Court, which struck down in February a set of partisan, gerrymandered maps put forth by the state GOP leadership that would have obliterated the 6th District, which now covers most of Greensboro and Winston-Salem and the area between.
“Our Republican-controlled General Assembly tried so desperately to kill this district,” she said. “But those justices in their wisdom threw out those outrageously partisan maps.”
She then outlined her accomplishments in the last two terms, including the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, the Postal Restoration Act and her new bill, the Right to Contraception Act.
At the same exact time, 100 miles west, in Boone, Rep. Virginia Foxx issued her declaration of victory in the 5th Congressional District by a hefty margin: more than 26 points against Democrat challenger Kyle Parrish, a margin of more than 70,000 votes.
Foxx, who voted to overturn the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021, said this in her statement:
“It’s time to bring common sense back to Washington. Americans spoke today and endorsed a different direction for our country. It’s past time to get inflation under control, to restore sanity in our schools, to address the growing immigration crisis at our borders, and end the Biden administration’s reckless experiments with socialism.”
Both races were part of a national dogfight for the House majority, which stood 222-213 in favor of Democrats before this election.
With wins by Dems Don Davis, Deborah Ross, Valerie Foushee, Alma Adams, Wiley Nickel and Jeff Jackson, and Republicans Greg Murphy, David Rouzer, Dan Bishop, Richard Hudson and Chuck Edwards, the NC Congressional Delegation will stand at seven from each party.
The House itself, at press time, favored Republicans 173-124 of the 435 seats therein.
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