Cheri Beasley, former NC chief justice, jumps into US Senate race

Posted April 27, 2021 8:35 a.m. EDT
Updated April 27, 2021 6:35 p.m. EDT

— Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, the first Black woman to hold that post, formally announced Tuesday that she wants to be the first Black person ever elected to the U.S. Senate from North Carolina.

Beasley, who lost her seat on the high court in November, said her experience on the bench has prepared her for Congress.

"I knew it was really important that every person who came before the court was treated fairly, and so many people are being left behind by what’s happening in Washington," she said.

Beasley said she supports President Joe Biden’s plans to address climate change and immigration.

"It’s important for us to be thoughtful about what the laws are around about people being able to stay in this country and make contributions to being here," she said. "I am excited about addressing those issues for people here in North Carolina.”

She said she would move cautiously on pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

"I think it is important for us to be strategic and to think about the consequences of withdrawal but to also think about that we have been there for a really long time," she said. "So, I would certainly give that a lot of consideration as we move forward."

Beasley will face a crowded field of contenders to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr, including former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and former Republican Congressman Mark Walker.

Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg, former state Sen. Erica Smith, Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton and Richard Watkins, a scientist from Greensboro, are the other announced Democratic candidates.

A group called 3.14 Action is also pressing to get Joan Higginbotham, a former astronaut, to jump into the race, with a promise to raise millions to support her.

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