As race remains tight, Beasley and Budd will hold only debate of Senate campaign Friday night

The first and only debate in North Carolina’s 2022 U.S. Senate race takes place Friday night at 8 p.m., giving voters their first look at the state’s next senator on a debate stage this cycle.

Neither candidate participated in a debate during the primary. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice and Democratic Party nominee Cheri Beasley’s top challengers dropped out before filing opened and Rep. Ted Budd, the GOP front runner, declined debate invitations throughout the primary season.

The hour-long debate, moderated by Spectrum News “Capital Tonight” host Tim Boyum, will be on Spectrum 1 and livestreamed on Spectrum news sites.

Locked in an extremely tight contest according to recent polls, Friday’s back and forth promises to be a study in contrasts and comes at a time when both campaigns and their allies are ramping up negative ads.

As one of the key races that could determine control of the Senate and among the elections seen as a proxy battle between the current president and his predecessor, the stakes extend beyond our borders, but so far national interest in the race has been muted.

In state, it’s a different story with 2022 turnout so far on track to eclipse the modern high water mark for a non-presidential year set in 2018.

Absentee mail in voting began September 9 and so far more than 138,000 ballots have been requested with about 15% already returned, far ahead of 2018, but still well short of the totals in a presidential election year.

Polls Polls Polls

WRAL and Civitas/John Locke are both out with new polls of likely voters showing the Senate race tied and the gap between Democrats and Republicans in the state’s generic ballot narrowing.

Survey USA’s September 28 to October 2 poll for WRAL of 677 likely voters put Budd at 43%, Beasley at 42% and 13% undecided. Libertarian Shannon Bray’s support was at 2% and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh less than 1%.

Cygnal’s September 24-26 poll of 650 likely voters for Civitas showed the Senate race tied at 44% each with 10% undecided, 1.3% for Bray and .6% for Hoh.

Both surveys continue to show a favorability edge for Beasley along with a significant gender gap.

In the WRAL poll, Budd ran 6 points ahead among male voters while Beasley was ahead with women by 4 points.

Registration Closing/In Person Voting to Start

Voter registration closes October 14. You can also register and vote the same day during the in-person early voting period October 22 though November 5.

Check to make sure you are registered and your information is up to date through the state’s voter look up tool, which also has links for downloading sample ballots for your precinct.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is November 1. Ballots must be signed and returned to local board of elections offices by 5 p.m. on Election Day, November 8.

Mail in ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received no later than November 14.

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As race remains tight, Beasley and Budd will hold only debate of Senate campaign Friday night