North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

October 21, 2022

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One Stop Early Voting in North Carolina began on October 20 for the 2022 midterm elections. Voters can visit any early voting location in the county in which they are registered to cast their ballot. For more information on locations and times to vote early, click here.

To learn more about the status of this year’s election, please join McGuireWoods Consulting’s national practice and federal affairs teams as they share insights on the top races that will decide control of the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state-level offices across the country. Our consultants will dive into the political environment, the latest polling, issues defining the races, and political spending just weeks prior to Election Day as the campaign season reaches the final stretch. The online webinar will take place Wednesday, October 26 at 11:00 AM EST. For more information or to register, click here

Election Preview

There are just 18 days to go before voters across North Carolina cast their ballots for who they would like to represent them in the US Senate and the US House, as well as in the state legislature and in judicial offices. For more information on how to register or how to vote in North Carolina, click here.

To catch up on all the races happening in North Carolina, you can check out the latest edition of Week in Review. For an overview of the races taking place in the Eastern part of the state, click here. For an overview of the races taking place in the Western part of the state, click here. And, for an overview of the races taking place in the Piedmont region of the state, click here. This week we focus on the United States Senate race, and the Congressional races occurring across the state.

North Carolina US Senate Race

For the past several election cycles, United States Senate races have been some of the most competitive in the country. In 2014, the race between the late Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and current Republican Senator Thom Tillis was the most expensive in the nation. This year, the race to replace retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr is not as costly as other races, such as the elections in Pennsylvania or Georgia, but is becoming more competitive as election day nears.

Since 2010, Democrats have lost every Senate race in North Carolina, but they are hoping to change that trend this year with their nominee, Cheri Beasley, the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Beasley faces Republican Ted Budd, the current Representative for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District. Polling since the summer has shown the race neck and neck, but Budd has pulled away with a slim lead in recent weeks. According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, as of October 17, Budd leads by two points.

As Election Day approaches, former Chief Justice Beasley has focused her campaign on protecting abortion access, after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and on lowering health care costs. Congressman Budd has tried to link Beasley to President Biden, who has a 34% job approval rating in North Carolina, according to a recent poll by High Point University. Budd has also hit on the issue of supporting law enforcement and tackling high inflation.

In early October, Beasley and Budd met on the debate stage for the first and only time. While Budd repeatedly called Beasley a “rubber stamp” for President Joe Biden, Beasley distanced herself from Biden, even saying he and Congress “could work a whole lot harder” to lower inflation. Budd, on the other hand, did not distance himself from former President Donald Trump, saying Trump endorsed him because he’s “an America First candidate.” In response to a question asking why he voted against certifying the election of President Biden, Budd said his vote was to “inspire more debate.”

Beasley and Budd are the two main party candidates, but they are not the only candidates on the ballot. Shannon Bray, a Libertarian, and Matthew Hoh, the Green Party candidate, are also running for North Carolina’s US Senate seat.

North Carolina Congressional Races

North Carolina has seen their Congressional district maps end up in court over a dozen times since the 1990’s. Earlier this year, following the decennial redistricting process undertaken by the Republican-led General Assembly, the maps were challenged by plaintiffs alleging legislators unfairly redrew maps to give Republicans an advantage. The North Carolina Supreme Court, which is controlled by Democrats, agreed with the plaintiffs, and ordered a panel of special masters to redraw a statewide map to be used only in the 2022 election. The Republican legislature is currently appealing that ruling to the United States Supreme Court, but the court-ordered district lines are currently in effect for the November election.

Competitive Congressional Races

There are two districts in North Carolina with competitive congressional races, in which both Republicans and Democrats have invested over a million dollars in for their respective candidate.

District 1: Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt (part), Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington, Wilson

Last November, Democratic Congressman G.K. Butterfield, who has represented Congressional District 1 since 2004, announced he would not run for reelection in 2022. His departure from the longtime Democratic-held district set up a competitive primary. State Senator Don Davis (D-Pitt) was endorsed by Butterfield and won the Democratic primary. The predominantly rural, minority-majority district became more Republican through redistricting earlier his year. Republicans sensed an opportunity, creating a competitive primary on their side as well. Real estate investor Sandy Smith received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump and won the Republican primary. Although the race has consistently been rated by pundits as one of the most competitive in the state, Davis has pulled ahead in recent polling. According to, Davis is “clearly favored to win,” with recent polls showing Davis with a 15-point lead over Smith.

District 13: Harnett (part), Johnston, Wake (part), Wayne (part)

The Washington Post calls the race in Congressional District 13 the “most competitive House seat in North Carolina.” Voters in this district, which encompasses southern Wake County and surrounding suburban areas, have been pummeled in recent weeks with ads from both candidates as well as national Democratic and Republican committees. Following redistricting, it is an open seat. Democrat Wiley Nickel, who currently represents a portion of Wake County in the state Senate, won the Democratic primary in May to become their nominee. Republican Bo Hines, a former NC State football player who was endorsed early on by former President Trump, won his party’s primary. Nickel and the Democrats say Hines is too close to Trump and too extreme for the swing district and has been running ads suggesting Hines would end all abortions with no exceptions. Hines and the Republicans accuse Nickel, an attorney by trade, of being soft on crime and too close to President Biden. say the district leans Republican and that Hines is favored to win.

Safe Democratic Congressional Races

Following redistricting, Democrats picked up one additional seat, for a total of five seats, likely to break their way.

District 2: Wake (part)

Incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Deborah Ross, of Wake County, has represented this Triangle-centric district for one term. Ross previously served in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2003 to 2013. In Congress, she serves as Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. This year, she faces Republican Christine Villaverde, a continuity of operations officer with the NC Administrative Office of the Courts. District 2 is rated as a “safe Democrat” seat.

District 4: Alamance, Caswell (part), Durham, Granville, Orange, Person

Last year, longtime incumbent Democratic Congressmember David Price, of Orange County, announced he would not seek another term. Price’s departure set up a competitive Democratic primary in this Durham and Orange County-based district. The main three contenders were former American Idol runner up Clay Aiken, Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, and current state Senator Valerie Foushee (D-Orange). Foushee won the primary and now faces Republican Courtney Geels, a travel nurse. District 4 is rated as a “safe Democratic” seat.

District 6: Caswell (part), Forsyth (part), Guilford, Rockingham

Further down Interstate 40 is District 6 which encompasses the urban communities of Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Incumbent Democratic Congressmember Kathy Manning, of Guilford County, has served one term and is running for reelection. She faces Republican Christian Castelli, a veteran and small business owner. The district is rated as “likely Democrat.”

District 12: Cabarrus (part), Mecklenburg (part)

Incumbent Congresswoman Alma Adams has represented the 12th Congressional District since 2014 when she won a special election to fill the seat of former Congressmember Mel Watt. Adams is the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. She faces Republican Tyler Lee, a real estate investor. This Charlotte-centric district is rated “safe Democrat.”

District 14: Gaston (part), Mecklenburg (part)

Following the decennial census, North Carolina gained a Congressional district. After the North Carolina Supreme Court tasked a special master with redrawing the congressional districts to be used in the 2022 election, the 14th district was drawn to be a Democratic seat based in Mecklenburg and Gaston County. Current state Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) suspended his campaign for United States Senate to endorse Cheri Beasley, and then announced his run for Congress in the 14th District. He faces Republican Pat Harrigan, a veteran and co-owner of a company that manufacturers firearms. The 14th District is rated as “likely Democrat.”

Safe Republican Congressional Races

Republicans lost a safe seat through the court-ordered redistricting process earlier this year, for a total of seven seats likely to break their way.

District 3: Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Pamlico, Pitt (part), Onslow, Sampson, Wayne (part)

Incumbent Republican Congressman Dr. Gregory Murphy, of Pitt County, has represented the 3rd Congressional District since first winning a special election in 2019. This large eastern North Carolina district stretches down the coast from the Outer Banks to Jacksonville. Dr. Murphy faces Democrat Barbara Gaskins, the founder of a re-entry nonprofit. The 3rd District is rated as “safe Republican.”

District 5: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell (part), Davie, Forsyth (part), Mitchell, Stokes, Surry, Watagua, Wilkes

On the opposite side of the state in the mountains is the 5th Congressional District, which stretches from Winston-Salem to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Incumbent Republican Congressmember Virginia Foxx, of Avery County, has represented the district since 2005. She is the Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee and was formerly the chair of the committee. She faces Democrat Kyle Parrish. The 5th Congressional District is rated “safe Republican.”

District 7: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland (part), New Hanover, Pender, Robeson

Incumbent Republican Congressman David Rouzer, of New Hanover County, is seeking a fifth term. Rouzer previously served as a Republican member in the state Senate from Johnston County. He faces current state House Representative Charles Graham (D-Robeson), who is the only American Indian serving in the General Assembly. The 7th District is rated “likely Republican.”

District 8: Anson, Cabarrus (part), Davidson, Montgomery, Richmond (part), Rowan, Stanly, Union

The 8th District was altered significantly through redistricting, leading incumbent Republican Congressmember Richard Hudson to move from Cabarrus County to Moore County to run in the newly drawn district. Hudson prides himself on being “Fort Bragg’s Representative;” the district stretches from Fayetteville to Asheboro. He faces current Democratic state Senator Ben Clark, who represents Hoke County and a portion of Cumberland County. The 8th District is rated “safe Republican.”

District 9: Chatham, Cumberland (part), Moore, Harnett (part), Hoke, Lee, Randolph, Richmond (part)

Incumbent Republican Congressman Dan Bishop is seeking reelection to a second full term. He first assumed office after winning a special election in 2019. Bishop previously served in the state Senate, having first been elected in 2016. He faces Democrat Scott Huffman, an IT business owner. The 9th District is rated “likely Republican.”

District 10: Alexander, Burke, Caldwell (part), Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston (part), Iredell, Lincoln, Rutherford (part)

Incumbent Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry, of Gaston County, has represented the 10th Congressional District since 2005. He is the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee and previously served as House Republican Chief Deputy Whip. He faces Democrat Pamela Genant, a retired Army officer and registered nurse. The district is rated “safe Republican.”

District 11: Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Madison, Macon, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford (part), Swain, Yancey

The 11th Congressional District includes all of the most western parts of the state, including the city of Asheville. It received national attention earlier this year when incumbent Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who was known for stoking controversy, was defeated in the Republican primary by current state Senator Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson). The Democratic nominee is Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, a Buncombe County Commissioner and minister. Following Cawthorn’s ousting, the district has been rated “safe Republican.”

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

There are currently no legislative meetings scheduled for next week.