Democrat Cheri Beasley raises nearly $1.3M for NC Senate race

Seat vacated by retiring Burr is top target in 2022 midterms

Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the state’s open Senate seat. (Photo by Kevin Lowery/Courtesy Beasley for North Carolina)
Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the state’s open Senate seat. (Photo by Kevin Lowery/Courtesy Beasley for North Carolina)
Posted July 7, 2021 at 5:00am

Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, raised nearly $1.3 million from April through June for her Senate campaign, in the latest sign that the Democratic primary is shaping up to be an expensive race. 

Beasley’s haul included donations from 93 of the state’s 100 counties, and more than 90 percent of donations were $100 or less, according to fundraising information shared first with CQ Roll Call. This is the first fundraising quarter for Beasley, who launched her Senate bid at the end of April.

“North Carolinians from across the state are supporting Cheri because they know she is committed to building a better future for everyone,” Katie Gladstone, Beasley’s campaign manager, said in a statement. 

[Push to elect Black women to Senate turns to North Carolina and Florida]

Contested primaries are underway for both parties in North Carolina, with GOP Sen. Richard M. Burr retiring. The Tar Heel State is a top target for Democrats looking to expand their tie-breaking majority in the Senate, and it is one of eight Senate battlegrounds, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. Former President Doanld Trump won North Carolina by 1 point last year.

Also last fall, North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis won a third term by 2 points after raising almost $27 million to Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham’s nearly $53 million. Outside groups spent another $222 million, according to OpenSecrets.org

Beasley faces other Democrats in the primary, including state Sen. Jeff Jackson and former state Sen. Erica Smith, who ran against Cunningham for the nomination in 2020. Jackson announced Tuesday that he raised $700,000 from April through June with donations from all 100 counties, after raising nearly $1.3 million in the first quarter of the year. 

“We need a new level of energy, excitement, and transparency if we’re going to flip this seat,” Jackson said in a statement announcing his fundraising haul.

Smith, who raised $197,000 in the first fundraising quarter, has not yet announced her fundraising total. Fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15.

Beasley, who lost a bid for a full term as state Supreme Court chief justice last year by 401 votes, has earned early support from outside groups, including EMILY’s List, which supports female Democratic candidates who back abortion rights. Last week, she was endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC; Democracy for America PAC; Higher Heights for America PAC, which supports Black female candidates; and Democrats Serve, which backs candidates with public service backgrounds.