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'Definitely a toss-up' | Open NC Senate seat race features Beasley vs Budd

Seat had been held since 2005 by retiring Republican Richard Burr.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — With an evenly split U.S. Senate, every seat up for grabs in the November 8 midterm elections could be the one that tilts the balance of power.

North Carolina has one of the nation's most competitive Senate contests in the midterm elections.

Virginia Wesleyan University Political Science Associate Professor Leslie Caughell said the race is close and a flip from red to blue could happen.

"I think it's still a possibility," she said. "The seat is definitely a toss-up." 

The race features Democrat Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd.

Budd has attacked Beasley for being too philosophically aligned with President Joe Biden.

"Joe Biden is on the ballot on November 8," said Budd, during the candidates' only debate earlier this month. "And he goes by the name of Cheri Beasley. Because she would be an absolute rubber stamp for everything that's led this country being on the wrong track, whether that's inflation and having to choose this week between groceries or your power bill clothes for your kids."

Beasley has accused Budd of being an election denier, who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential results.

During the debate, she said if she wins, she'll fight for all North Carolinians.

"North Carolina deserves a senator who is going to represent all of us, who's going to represent one North Carolina," he said. "I've been so honored to serve North Carolinians for the last nearly 30 years as a public defender, judge and chief justice of the supreme court. My commitment to you is to serve you well."

The seat has been held by retiring Republican Richard Burr since 2005.

"Sabato's Crystal Ball" rates the race for the seat this year as "leans Republican."

A Marist poll published Wednesday shows Beasley and Budd tied 44%-44% among registered voters in the state. But, among those definitely planning to vote, the poll shows Budd ahead, 49%-45%.

Beasley has been endorsed by former President Barrack Obama. Budd has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

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