Sep 29, 2022 - News

Crime takes center stage in NC's U.S. Senate race

A screengrab of the Cheri Beasley attack add, which reads "Cheri Beasley Dangerously Liberal"

Screenshot of the Club for Growth Action Ad. Source: Youtube

Republicans are ramping up attacks on U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley's judicial record, with just six weeks until Election Day.

  • A new ad, which aired yesterday, highlights that a repeat sex offender released from prison last week will not be subject to lifetime GPS monitoring.
  • During Beasley's time as Chief Justice of North Carolina's Supreme Court, the court agreed with a lower court that a law mandating some repeat sex offenders be monitored by GPS for life was unconstitutional. The majority, which included Beasley, said it violates the constitutional right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Why it matters: The attack, funded by the conservative Club for Growth Action, is a sign that criminal justice will be central to the final weeks of the Senate race, as Republicans point to Beasley's record as a judge to paint her as soft on crime.

  • "Social issues are not going to play to [Budd’s] favor — to any Republicans' favor — in North Carolina," Duke professor and political science chair Kerry Haynie told Axios, pointing to the issue of abortion. "Now he's moving to an issue that he thinks will play well and gain him some support."

The other side: "Congressman Budd's allies are continuing to misrepresent Cheri's record with the same kind of desperate, despicable attacks that law enforcement has refuted and multiple television stations refused to air," Beasley spokeswoman Dory MacMillan said in a statement to Axios. "In this case, Cheri agreed with a majority opinion concurring with a lower court opinion issued by multiple conservative, Republican judges."

Catch up quick: Beasley, who previously served as Chief Justice of North Carolina's Supreme Court, has in recent weeks touted her endorsements by law enforcement and distanced herself from the “defund the police” movement in an attempt to appeal to more moderate voters.

  • Budd has also highlighted endorsements from law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police (which announced its backing of Budd this week), NC Troopers Association and NC Police Benevolent Association.

Budd’s campaign also sent out a press release yesterday painting the differences between the two candidates when it comes to law and order.

  • "Ted Budd is the better choice to ensure law enforcement officers are supported to best handle the rising crime across the country," his campaign said in an emailed release.

Worth noting: A previous Beasley attack ad aired earlier this summer and paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee was pulled from the airwaves after TV stations were informed it contained a false statement, CBS News reported.


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