We won’t have Sen. Richard Burr, Wake Forest University’s most sock-less graduate, to kick around come 2022, when he retires, a promise made literally months after he won his last re-election in 2016.
Burr once considered himself the most conservative member of the Senate. But that was back in 2010, when all you had to do to be a conservative was love guns, hate abortion and push hard against anything Barack Obama wanted to do. Burr upped the ante by actually reading bills, understanding policy and holding an authoritative voice on national security.
And Burr looks like freakin’ Dumbledore compared to the Republicans vying to take his place.
First we have Trump’s choice, Rep. Ted Budd, the gun-shop owner who won his congressional seat after a 17-way primary to replace the departed Howard Coble. Trump, who announced this surprise endorsement at the NCGOP conference earlier this month, probably liked Budd because he was a full-throated supporter of the Big Lie, and exerted his influence to overturn the 2020 election. And he almost certainly did it because Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, told him to.
But Burr, despite the similarities in the spelling of their names, has endorsed former Gov. Pat McCrory over Budd, the same guy who presided over the state after the Republican takeover in 2012 and was the architect of the transphobic HB2 “Bathroom Bill” that sowed misunderstanding and hate amongst our citizenry, and cost North Carolina many millions in lost tourist dollars as well as canceled film shoots, sporting events and business relocations.
Guilford County’s Mark Walker has acted like the seat is his to lose since he declined to run for re-election in his re-drawn Congressional district in order to concentrate on his Senate campaign.
But the only person from Trump’s circle who’s endorsed Walker in this race has been Mick Mulvaney. And nobody even remembers who that is.
Forgotten in this conversation is that this is the seat that once belonged to John Edwards, before he ran for president and made an absolute fool of himself. And that, despite a long, disturbing run by Sen. Jesse Helms, Democrats have always fared better in NC Senate races.
Helms notwithstanding, most of the Republicans we’ve had in the Senate of late, such as Liddy Dole, Lauch Faircloth and even sitting Sen. Thom Tillis and Burr himself, bear no resemblance to the rabid candidates coming in from the right in 2022.