Beasley and Demings
Cheri Beasley (Left: AP) and Val Demings (Right: FL Dems) battle it out against Republican men in North Carolina and Florida to become the first Black women elected to the US Senate from a Southern state
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There is a growing possibility voters could send a Black woman to the US Senate to represent a southern state for the first time. Cheri Beasley and Val Demings are fighting Trump Republicans to make history in North Carolina and Florida.

Beasley, the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Demings, a Florida Congresswoman, both face uphill battles. But amid the fall of Roe, a strengthening economy and the mounting case against Trump, odds for Democrats are improving.

Beasley gaining ground in North Carolina

Just two months ago, it was a foregone conclusion that Cheri Beasley would lose her race to become North Carolina’s first Black and first woman Senator. But since winning the Democratic primary, Beasley has seen the race start to shift in her favor.

She has been employing a “go everywhere” approach, according to NC Policy. Rather than just focusing her efforts on urban, Democratic strongholds, Beasley is campaigning in rural areas generally won by Republicans.

Beasley said she’s learned from her experience winning two prior statewide elections that campaigning everywhere is key.

In addition to campaigning in towns across the state, Beasley is arming herself with an anti-partisanship message. “I don’t really know that people are as divided as pundits would have us believe that we are,” Beasley said. “We are all committed to working hard for our families and for our communities and for the institutions around us.”

Recent polls show Beasley closing in on her opponent, Ted Budd. A few of the most recent polls even show her leading Budd. In the last two months, Budd’s lead over Beasley has shrunk from roughly 7% to now less than 3%.

Demings faces strong headwinds in Florida, but fights on

Further south in Florida, Val Demings is waging a valiant battle against incumbent Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio, who has been criticized for his run to the right and coziness with Trump, is seeking a third term.

While her chances have also been improving slightly over the summer, Rubio’s lead remains strong. The Trump sympathizing Senator maintains a ten-point lead over Demings in a state that has become increasingly Red.

Demings, for her part, has been campaigning on Rubio’s fealty to Trump, while also amplifying her own bonafides. The former police chief is using her experience to combat attacks from Rubio that paint her as anti-law enforcement.

According to the political blog Five Thirty Eight, Rubio remains highly favored to win reelection as Senator. But Demings continues to fight on and take her message to all Floridians.

Should Beasley or Demings be successful in their races, it would be a profound political and historic victory. A win for either of them could serve as a roadmap for Southern Democrats as the party looks ahead to 2024 and beyond.

Nate Morris moved to the Tulsa area in 2012 and has committed himself to helping build a more equitable and just future for everyone who calls the city home. As a teacher, advocate, community organizer...

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