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Jackson drops out of U.S. Senate race, endorses front-runner Beasley

Former Chief Justice and Senate candidate Chery Beasley answers student questions in the pit on Sept. 8, hosted by the UNC Young Democrats.

N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg, is dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate and will endorse former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, according to a Thursday press release. 

Beasley is one of several big names in the race, which also includes Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton, (D-NC). 

“I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished, but everyone needs to know when to step aside,” Jackson said. “Cheri Beasley has served this state honorably for over two decades and has always fought for justice. She’ll be a great U.S. Senator for North Carolina.“

The remaining Democratic candidates seek to fill Republican Senator Richard Burr’s open seat after Burr revealed he planned to retire. 

“Senator Jackson brought attention to the issues important to so many North Carolinians, and I know he will continue to do meaningful work in the state Senate,” Beasley said in a Thursday press release. “I’m grateful to have his support in this race.”

Jackson is the second Democrat to drop out of the race. Last month, former state Senator Erica Smith announced her run for the United States House, seeking to replace Democratic 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield, who is retiring. 

The Republican candidates for the Senate race include former Gov. Pat McCrory and 13th District Congressman Ted Budd. 

“Unlike the Republicans in this race, we won’t be participating in a costly and divisive primary," Jackson said. “If we’re going to flip this seat in November, we need to unite – and we need to unite behind Cheri.”