As the 2021 election season comes to a close, conversations surrounding North Carolina's 2022 midterms are picking up.
And with open seats across a variety of statewide and local offices, many candidates have already begun their campaigns.
North Carolina's open U.S. Senate seat
The largest-scale election Orange County residents will vote in during the 2022 election cycle is the U.S. Senate seat open in light of incumbent Richard Burr’s retirement announcement.
With the primary elections scheduled for March 8, many candidates on both sides of the aisle have begun to campaign.
The Democratic frontrunners include former North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice Cheri Beasley and N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg.
Candidates on the Republican side include U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker.
Budd received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump at a N.C. Republican Party convention.
North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District
Since David Price announced his retirement, several contenders have announced their campaigns to represent Orange and Durham counties and the surrounding region in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and N.C. Sens. Wiley Nickel, D-Wake, and Valerie Foushee, D-Chatham, Orange, have all thrown their hats into the ring to represent the area, which was placed in the state's 6th District in the newest congressional maps.
Allam was the first Muslim woman ever elected to public office in North Carolina and said she hopes her campaign and career create change for other Muslim women, immigrants and people of color in the South.
“I've really seen the need to have a progressive elected at the federal level who’s a champion for our public schools and champion for our working-class individuals,” Allam said.
Nickel's platform focuses on strengthening local schools, expanding access to health care and protecting the environment.
Foushee was the first Black woman elected to serve on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. She also served in the N.C. House and Senate, where she focused on education, jobs and advocating for underrepresented communities.
Orange County is split into districts 50 and 56 in the state House, and both seats are up for grabs in 2022.
Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Caswell, Orange, currently represents District 50, but he has announced his run for state Senate. As a result, Hillsborough Town Commissioner Matt Hughes and Orange County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Renee Price have entered the race.
Hughes has served as the chairperson of the Orange County Democratic Party and was the first openly LGBTQ+ elected official to serve the Town of Hillsborough.
Price was first elected as a commissioner in 2012. She is a co-founder of Free Spirit Freedom, a cultural arts project to celebrate the diversity of Orange County.
Buansi is a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council and was previously the deputy director at the UNC Center for Civil Rights.
“I was raised here in Chapel Hill, so I have the perspective of being someone who went to school here and grew up here as a kid, and then now the flip side as an adult in Chapel Hill and Carrboro,” Buansi said.
He said his main goals include creating more avenues to financial aid for students, combating climate change and expanding Medicaid.
Garson previously served as the chairperson of the Orange County Democratic Party, and according to his website, he hopes to fight for the values of Orange County and represent them on the state level.
Meyer and Jamie DeMent, an author and chef in Orange County, are vying for Foushee's seat as the representative for District 23 in the state Senate.
Meyer said his near decade of service in the state House has prepared him to represent Orange County in the Senate.
“I will continue to stay focused on what I think North Carolina's most pressing challenges are: those that deal with climate, education, access to affordable health care, elections,” Meyer said.
He said he wants to enact paid family leave insurance, reduce carbon emissions and continue to fight to adequately fund public schools.
DeMent, a UNC graduate, has worked as a legislative aid on Capitol Hill and served as the director of special projects for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.
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