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Budd will face off against Beasley in North Carolina Senate contest, per AP race calls

Rep. Ted Budd, who was supported in the Republican primary by former President Donald Trump, will face off against Democrat Cheri Beasley in the closely watched North Carolina U.S. Senate election, according to race calls by The Associated Press.

In the GOP primary, Budd fended off opponents including former Gov. Pat McCrory.

Beasley, who was the first Black woman to serve as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, faced light opposition for the Democratic nomination. She coasted to the top after her main primary competitor dropped out of the race in December.

Budd had a consistent lead in polls over McCrory for months. The former president weighed in early, backing Budd last June over McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker.

The race exposed fractures in the Republican Party between more establishment candidates and ones Trump has endorsed.

Trump's somewhat-surprising choice for Budd boosted the relatively unknown congressman's standing. Budd was also helped by outside money, namely millions of dollars in support from Club for Growth's PAC.

McCrory, who gained national prominence when he signed the state's "bathroom bill," failed to shape a strong message against Budd, despite nearly matching him in fundraising efforts.

The Senate race is another competitivecontest that has high stakes for both parties. The seat is open thanks to the retirement of GOP Sen. Richard Burr, and Cook Political Report predicts the seat will lean toward staying red.

But Beasley raised $1 million in April and has more cash on hand than her Republican counterpart, in part because the Democratic primary was far less competitive.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
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