North Carolina Democrats hope former judge can halt Senate losing streak in pro-GOP environment
With control of the evenly divided Senate on the line , the differences between the candidates reflect the parties' divergent theories on how to win in North Carolina.
"The number of independents is ever-shrinking," said Doug Heye, a Washington-based Republican operative originally from North Carolina.
He'll get a boost Friday, when Trump travels to the state for a rally with Budd and other North Carolina Republicans.
"Voters don't think judges are politicians," said Morgan Jackson, a longtime Democratic strategist in North Carolina.
Beasley's first run for a statewide judicial position came in 2008 when she successfully ran for the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Bev Perdue appointed her to the North Carolina Supreme Court and Beasley successfully won a full term on the bench in 2014.
"The voters Democrats have a turnout problem with are minorities and young people, who are most affected by inflation."
But Democrats have been here before in North Carolina -- buoyant about a statewide candidate appearing well positioned to win, only for that candidate to narrowly lose on Election Day.
That includes 2020, when Democratic Senate nominee Cal Cunningham was sunk by a sexting scandal.
'Sometimes boring and reliable is the way to win'In Budd, North Carolina may have the closest candidate to a generic Republican.
Budd's low-key approach to his Senate bid is seen as an asset in a large and politically split state like North Carolina.
And Trump's return to North Carolina will help Democrats highlight Budd's votes against certifying certain 2020 presidential election results.