Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website Incumbents: 

Endangered incumbents

Political Note #387 Mark Kelly Arizona US Senate, Political Note #379 Raphael Warnock Georgia US Senate, Political Note #365 Catherine Cortez Masto US Senate Nevada, Political Note #359 Maggie Hassan US Senate New Hampshire,

Challengers: Political Note #400 Val Demings Florida US Senate, Political Note #420 Thomas McDermott, Jr. Indiana US Senate, Political Note #408 Charles Booker Kentucky US Senate, Political Note #434 Cheri Beasley North Carolina US Senate, Political Note #433 John Fetterman Open R Pennsylvania US Senate

 Independent challenger:  Political Note #427 Evan McMullin Utah US Senate

 From the past: Len’s Letter #24 The Lily in the Pond March 16, 2020

December 23rd , 2021         Political Note #434 Cheri Beasley North Carolina US Senate

2022                                        General Election

The national arms of the Democratic Party like the DCCC or the DSCC don’t usually advocate for or against a candidate in the primaries except when an incumbent is involved. I try to follow that rule as well.  My interest is electing Democrats at a time when the Republicans have become dangerous opponents of democracy and freedom.

In 2018, the DCCC changed course in California.  California has a multi-party primary approach to elections.  A district with several Democrats running and fewer Republicans could select the two Republicans as finalists and freeze Democrats out of the run off.  In 2018, wisely, I think, in several districts, the DCCC picked a candidate to back early.  The result was a series of victories in southern California that might otherwise not have happened.

In the past, in these Political Notes, with very rare exceptions, I have either waited until primaries were over to encourage readers to support a candidate or encouraged that support when it was clear (or appeared clear to me) which candidate would win the primary and benefit from getting resources early.  Because it is so important to continue to have a Democratic majority in the US Senate, I have decided to support probable primary winners earlier than I might have done in the past.  My hope is that this will increase the resources of the probable winner, create momentum toward the general election, and elect that candidate in November, 2022.

The previous Political Note urged support for Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s candidacy in Pennsylvania.  He had raised much more money than his next rival and was being used by pollsters for measuring likely results against Republican possibilities.  In that case, John Fetterman was more progressive than his chief Democratic rival.

I prepared to do the same in North Carolina – to support Cheri Beasley, the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court even though she had a formidable primary opponent.   According to the September 30 financial reports, she had actually raised slightly less than her primary rival.  She had raised more than he in October and November and had been gathering powerful endorsements.  She was the candidate pollsters are measuring against Republicans.

Cheri Beasley had established herself to me as the strongest Democratic candidate for the US Senate in North Carolina.  More importantly, she  established herself as the stronger candidate to her principal rival – State Senator Jeff Jackson,  A week ago, he withdrew from the race. Now we can say with confidence that Cheri Beasley will be the Democratic nominee.

That Cheri Beasley was able to clear the field as a challenger for a campaign expected to be competitive is not a small matter.  She demonstrates a command that deserves respect.  It puts her in a class with Senate candidates Val Demings of Florida and Tim Ryan of Ohio; with gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania. That is impressive and exciting.

Cheri Beasley was raised in Tennessee.  Her mother, at the time of her retirement, had been the Dean of Austin Peay’s School of Nursing and Human Services and was the Interim Dean of Graduate Studies for this rapidly growing public university founded in the 1920s.  Cheri Beasely went north to college, to Rutgers.  After getting her degree, she returned to Tennessee where she worked for a state agency investigating claims of discrimination.  That work set her on a course for law school.  She attended the University of Tennessee Law School and went to work as a public defender in North Carolina.

In 1999, Democratic Governor James Baxter Hunt appointed Cheri Beasley as a District Court Judge.  She was elected to that role in 2002 and again in 2006. In 2008, Cheri Beasley was elected to the North Carolina Appeals Court, defeating an incumbent judge.  This was her first statewide election; in this case to a term of 8 years. She did not serve the 8 years.  In 2012, Democratic Governor Beverly Moore Perdue appointed Cheri Beasley as an Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.  She was elected to that position in 2014, an election which gave her an 8 year term in that role and her second state-wide election.  In 2019, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper appointed her as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  In 2020, her 8 years were up and she ran for election as Chief Justice.  She lost that election by 401 votes out of almost 5.4 million votes cast.

As Chief Justice, Cheri Beasley had embraced overseeing the state judicial system.  She introduced paid parental leave for the 6,000 state employees in the system and begun modernizing the court system’s outdated technology. There was a point to those efforts.  She said “I have excitedly accepted the charge to really make sure that people have access to justice and access to our courts…”

She had substantive interests as well.  Speaking about the harsh treatment that African Americans receive in the courts, she said the young people who were protesting “do not intend to live in a world in which they are denied justice and equality like the generations before them.”  Her most consequential work as Chief Justice was in her appointment and support of three Justices to reckon with the law suit against the North Carolina’s discriminatory Congressional districting.

The legislature responded by revising the districts for the 2020 election, in effect changing representation from 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats to 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats.  Democrats accepted the redistricting and chose not pursue the case further to ensure that the revised districts could go into effect for that election.  With a new Chief Justice, a court that is 4-3 Democratic instead of 6-1, and the requirement for redistricting after the 2020 census as well as a 14th seat because of the census, the North Carolina legislature’s first stab at change was to remake the districts so that an 11-3 Congressional distribution was likely in this evenly divided state.

Cheri Beasley carries that passion for equality to her candidacy.  She also brings her characteristic judiciousness to her candidacy.  She does not commit herself to abolishing the filibuster, for instance, and suggests that the filibuster has been helpful to Democrats on occasion.

Here’s an aside:  Maybe the Senate could change the filibuster rule to permit its successful use only if 60 Senators voting to prevent a bill’s passage or its consideration represent at least 50% of the national population.  Would Cheri Beasley support that?  Would any Republicans support that?  Would Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema support that? Would such a rule be constitutional?  Would it be more or less constitutional than the filibuster itself?

Back to business:  What about Cheri Beasley’s probable general election opponent?  Even though Donald Trump is endorsing one of the Congressmen in the race, former governor Pat McCrory will probably be the nominee.  Like Cheri Beasley, he has run state-wide and been elected.  Unlike Cheri Beasley, he has twice lost a statewide race.  She has lost one once.  A business oriented Republican, he does not ignite the Republican base.  Cheri Beasley’s base, African American women, are not so ideological.  They will be ignited, will bring the Democratic party with them, and a substantial number of independents as the nominee.  If, on the other hand, Congressman Ted Budd, who has earned Donald Trump’s endorsement, wins the Republican primary, she could win a decent share of business-oriented Republicans and a larger share of independents.

Think this is a fairy tale?  Make this fairy tale come true.  Donate to Cheri Beasley’s campaign.

The Cook Report projects has downgraded the likelihood of winning for some of the most vulnerable Incumbent Democrats. These are people we have to defend. 

Vulnerable Incumbent Senators to support

Arizona                     Mark Kelly (Toss up)

Georgia                     Raphael Warnock (Toss up)

Nevada                      Catherine Cortez Masto (Toss up)  

New Hampshire      Maggie Hassan (Lean D)


Challengers to support

Florida                       Congresswoman Val Demings versus Marco Rubio (Lean R)

Indiana                      Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr is less probable than some others, but could surprise (Solid R according to Cook)

Iowa                           Ex Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer is challenging Chuck Grassley, seeking his 8th term (Solid R according to Cook)

Kentucky                  2020 Senate Candidate Charles Booker is running against Rand Paul (Solid R according to Cook)

North Carolina        Former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Cherie Beasley is running for the US Senate to fill the open created because Richard Burr is retiring.  (Toss up)

Ohio                           Congressman Tim Ryan is seeking the open seat created because Rob Portman is retiring (Lean R)

Pennsylvania          Lt. Governor John Fetterman  is the probable nominee for the open seat created because Pat Toomey is retiring (Toss up)


Independent Challenger to Support

Utah                           Ex CIA Officer Evan McMullin is targeting Republican Senator Mike Lee (Solid R according to Cook, Possible Ind. According to me)


More challengers to come

Wisconsin                Republican Ron Johnson is vulnerable (Toss Up). Nine Democrats are currently in the race; a few are still thinking about running.

Missouri                    Republican Roy Blunt is retiring. (Solid R according to Cook) Any of the three Democratic candidates might have a shot if Missouri Republicans nominate the wrong candidate.

Alabama                   Republican Richard Shelby is retiring. (Solid R) Is there a Democrat in Alabama who can create a Doug Jones-like surprise if the Republicans nominate the most offensive candidate?

Organizations to support

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA)

The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA)

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (DASS)

The Democratic (State) Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)

Fair Fight Stacey Abrams organization to support fair elections

National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NRDC) Led by Eric Holder

The Lincoln Project Ex Republicans with tough messaging on behalf of Democrats

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Cautions while donating through Act Blue (most Democratic candidates use Act Blue for online donations)

  1. Take care to hit the donate button only once. If you hit it a second time, you could be charged for two donations instead of one.
  2. Take care to watch for an already clicked recurring donation. You can unclick it and donate only once if that is your intent.
  3. Watch for your receipt. If the receipt indicates a donation different from your intention, reply to Act Blue via the receipt right away.  They will fix your donation.  They want you to donate only what you intend to donate

Help expand the Democratic majority so the majority does not depend on one or two Senators.