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On Friday night, North Carolina voters will see their candidates for Senate face off for the first and probably only time. The debate, hosted by Spectrum News 1, will take place in Raleigh and will start at 8 p.m. ET.
Former state chief justice and Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, 56, will square off aganst GOP candidate Rep. Ted Budd, 50, on stage in a swing-state race that could help decide the control of Congress.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Budd leads Beasley by less than 1 point.
Beasley has heavily run her campaign on issues such as access to abortion and lowering health care costs. Meanwhile, Budd, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has emphasized combating crime and supporting law enforcement in the Cardinal state.
North Carolina residents have been recently bombarded with TV and radio ad’s from both campaigns as Beasley and Budd have ramped up attacks on one another.
About 41% of respondents in a WGHP/Emerson College/The Hill Poll of likely voters in North Carolina cited the economy/inflation as the most decisive factor on Nov. 8, and 12% said that abortion was more important (following the threat to democracy, 14%, and just ahead of health care, 11%). But a majority (59%) say they are much more likely (46%) or somewhat more likely (12%) to vote because of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Budd heavily messaged the Trump endorsement in the primary, he now has to walk a tightrope of appealing to moderates without alienating hardline conservatives.
Beasley told Vanity Fair, “I’m running to represent all of North Carolina—Democrats, Republicans, and independents. I mean, if someone you love cannot afford prescription drugs and they are missing doses and skipping pills, these are not partisan issues.”
Prior to Friday’s face-off, neither candidate took part in any primary debates. Beasley cleared the Democratic field before a debate could even be put together and Budd declined to take part in any events with his Republican challengers. This is the only scheduled debate between the two candidates.