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'We need strong leaders': Barack Obama endorses Cheri Beasley in US Senate race

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North Carolina Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley on stage during her rally at Fetzer Gym, on Oct. 16, 2022.

Former President Barack Obama recently endorsed Cheri Beasley, the Democratic candidate for North Carolina's U.S. Senate seat, just two weeks before the midterm elections.

Obama endorsed Beasley in an advertisement for her campaign that focused on her experience as a public defender and judge, as well as the importance of the race. Beasley was the first Black woman to be elected as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

“We need strong leaders to step forward — leaders who will do what’s right instead of what’s easy, leaders who will fight for you,” Obama said in the advertisement. “That’s why I’m supporting Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate.”

Obama said Beasley is honest, hard-working and puts people first. He also said she will fight for women’s rights and affordable prescription drugs.

Obama also said the race between Beasley and Republican nominee Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC 13th) is very close.

Budd has endorsements from former President Donald Trump, N.C. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gun Owners of America.

The Marist Poll released a new survey on Oct. 26 that had Beasley and Budd tied among North Carolina registered voters at 44 percent, with 10 percent of voters still undecided. Among independent voters surveyed, 17 percent remain undecided between the candidates. 

Beasley responded to Obama's endorsement on Twitter by encouraging supporters to get out to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8.

“You heard President Obama — this race is going to be close,” she wrote. “That means we need a whole lot of resources to organize in every corner of the state and make history in just two weeks.”

Voters in the state are not only voting for candidates at the federal level, but will also vote for state-level court seats and in races for the N.C. General Assembly.

Darren Jackson, the Democratic incumbent on the 11th seat of the N.C. Court of Appeals, said endorsements encourage people to get out to vote. He said Obama’s popularity in the Democratic Party can work to encourage hesitant voters.

“If you’re trying to reach a certain demographic, like the youth vote, if you have somebody who’s popular in culture doing endorsements it might encourage those folks to get out to vote,” he said.

N.C. Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Caswell, Orange), a candidate for N.C. Senate district 23, said there are two types of endorsements that politicians get — organizational and individual. 

“President Obama's endorsement is the ultimate individual endorsement,” he said. 

He said the stakes are high for the U.S. Senate race and the other races on the ballot this year. Meyer also said he is focusing on endorsements from community leaders for his campaign. He has received endorsements from both elected and unelected officials.

Meyer has endorsements from organizations such as the Sierra Club and Pro-Choice North Carolina, along with individual endorsements from Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils and Melissa McCullough, a local environmental activist.

Renée Price, the chairperson of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners and the Democratic candidate for N.C. House district 50, said she wants to remain optimistic about Democrats' chances in this election. 

She said endorsements are important because they give credibility to candidates on the issues that voters care about.

“I am very pleased to have seen the news that President Obama has endorsed Cheri Beasley and her campaign,” she said. “I think we need to come together in moments like this.”

@carojean44

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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