Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

North Carolina state senator Jeff Jackson to announce run for U.S. Senate

north carolina state senator jeff jackson running for u.s. senate

N.C. State Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) in 2019. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Charlotte’s most popular millennial politician dad, Democratic state senator Jeff Jackson, will announce a bid for U.S. Senate this morning, kicking off a 2022 race for Richard Burr’s seat that could include Lara Trump on the Republican side.

Why it matters: After a 2020 Senate race that was one of the most expensive on record, North Carolina again figures to be a pricey fight for the balance of power in the midterms.

  • A potential matchup between a member of the Trump family and Jackson — a media-savvy attorney and National Guardsman who in every campaign makes a point to say that his opponents are good people — certainly won’t diminish that intrigue. 
  • Jackson, a father of three, told his wife Marisa that if he were to win the primary, they could expect “$100 million in negative ads, just tearing me down” in the general.
  • As they watched the riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Marisa told him, “You have to run.”

Context: Many people remember the 2020 Senate race mainly for Democrat Cal Cunningham’s cringey texts and affair, which he was forced to apologize for. Cunningham was a veteran who also hinged his campaign on his character.

  • “There are going to be easy comparisons to make,” Jackson said. “But as the campaign goes on, within 60-90 days they’ll see that this is a completely different campaign and I’m a completely different person.”
  • State Sen. Erica Smith, who got 35% against Cunningham in the 2020 Democratic primary, is running again in 2022.

In a Jan. 21 interview with Real America’s Voice, Lara Trump said of a Senate run: “It’s possible. … We can’t stay away for long. We’re all again in this fight for the rest of our lives in some form.”

Fun fact: Jackson has about 200,000 followers across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, not bad for a local politician whose district only sees about 110,000 votes cast. His following took off one icy day in February 2015, when he was alone in the state capitol tweeting about all the bills he was passing with unanimous support. Of course he was the only one voting.

  • “This is going to be like, ‘Night at the Museum’ except at the end we’ll have a stronger middle class,” he tweeted.

Find more stories like this one in the forthcoming Axios Charlotte newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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