GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Apparently there will be at least one U.S. Senate debate in North Carolina and at least one participant.

Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley (WGHP file photo
Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley (WGHP file photo)

Democrat Cheri Beasley’s staff announced Thursday afternoon that she had agreed to participate in a debate this October sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters.

Her release didn’t say whether Republican Ted Budd or Libertarian Shannon Bray would appear as well. It also didn’t say the exact date or location.

Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Rep. Budd (R-Advance), who has represented the 13th Congressional District since 2016, and Bray, a Department of Defense employee, all want to replace Republican Richard Burr of Winston-Salem, who is retiring after three terms. North Carolina’s other senator, Republican Thom Tillis, was re-elected in 2020.

Budd’s communications director, Samantha Cotton, said there wouldn’t be an announcement anytime soon.

“We won’t be making any news re: debates until after Labor Day,” Cotton wrote in response to an emailed question from WGHP. “Given her long career as a slick, smooth-talking criminal defense lawyer, Ms. Beasley will be a formidable debater who will, no doubt, deliver a flawless debate performance eloquently telling North Carolinians why she supports Joe Biden policies that are destroying family budgets across the state.”

Budd had declined to participate in four statewide debates when he beat former Gov. Pat McCrory, former Rep. Mark Walker and newcomer Marjorie Eastman – all of whom participated in debates – in a field of 14 to win the GOP nomination.

Beasley’s staff did not respond immediately to questions about those various details.

WGHP also asked Lisa Reynolds, the executive director of the NCAB, about plans for the debate, including date, location and affirmed participants. There was no immediate response.

“The choice in this race could not be clearer: as Cheri has focused on meeting people where they are and sharing her commitment to standing up to Washington and special interests to put the people first, Congressman Budd has hidden from voters and voted against North Carolina families at every turn,” Dory MacMillan, Beasley’s communications director, said in the release.

“Cheri looks forward to sharing her vision for lowering costs and strengthening North Carolina’s economy and holding Congressman Budd accountable for turning his back on North Carolinians time and time again.” 

Beasley and Budd have been locked in a close race that FiveThirtyEight, the polling data site, rates as even based on a collection of polls.

Civitas, a conservative group that oversees the John Locke Foundation, recently showed the candidates in a dead heat – at 42.3% — with about 12.6% undecided and 1.9% supporting Bray.