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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.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Mike Lindell moves the goalposts on a run for Minnesota governor

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell waits outside the West Wing of the White House before entering on Jan. 15. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The will-he-or-won't-he speculation surrounding a possible gubernatorial run by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is destined to continue at least a bit longer.

What he's saying: Lindell told Axios that his focus is currently on proving his (baseless) claims of election fraud. He won't make a decision until that fight is resolved.

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

5 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.