U.S. Senate: Cheri Beasley (D)

Read her candidate questionnaire here. 

Thirty-four US Senate seats are up for grabs in November’s general election; fewer than 10 are considered competitive. One is the seat left open with the pending retirement of Republican Senator Richard Burr, which makes the question of which candidate to choose in the Democratic primary all the more pressing since that person might actually get to Washington. The good news is you don’t have to think too hard.

Ahead of the May primary, we endorsed candidates in 29 races, and this one was by far the easiest: Cheri Beasley. Check the box, return in November, and check it again.

From public defender to chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Beasley is not only eminently qualified but outspoken in all the best ways. Reform-minded, she used her judicial pulpit to raise awareness of the systemic racial inequity that has long plagued the criminal justice system and spearheaded the creation of a commission tasked with studying ways to bring more equity and fairness to the courtroom.

Now running for Senate, Beasley’s priorities have broadened to include expanding affordable healthcare, improving housing affordability, and protecting reproductive rights. We join Planned Parenthood, the National Education Association, NC AFL-CIO, and many others with a wholehearted endorsement.

Other candidates: James Carr Jr., Robert Colon, Alyssia Rose Hammond, Constance Johnson, Tobias LaGrone, BK Maginnis, Rett Newton, Marcus Williams, Greg Antoine, Chrelle Booker

US House District 4: Nida Allam (D)

Read her candidate questionnaire here

Longtime US Rep. David Price will be a hard act to follow, but two of the frontrunners in the race to fill his seat—Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and State Senator Valerie Foushee—are both exceptionally qualified public servants who would make history if elected: Allam as the first Muslim woman to represent the district, and Foushee as the first African American woman.

As a county commissioner, Allam successfully implemented an Immigrant and Refugee Services Coordinator position and spearheaded a movement to provide property tax relief for low-income residents.

She previously worked as a political director for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign and served as Third Vice Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Allam says she would be an “unapologetic progressive fighter in Congress” and champions Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and a $23 federal minimum wage.

Foushee has more than two decades of experience in elected office. She has served on the school board, the Orange County Board of Commissioners, and in the state House and Senate. But Foushee, whether fairly or not, has recently come under fire for accepting more than half of her campaign funding from AIPAC, a right-leaning, pro-Israel organization that has endorsed more than 100* Republicans who believe Donald Trump to be the lawful winner of the 2020 presidential election.

While both candidates would make excellent representatives in the US House—and there’s maybe a case to be made for a vote for American Idol star Clay Aiken—ultimately, Allam’s commitment to running a grassroots campaign, and the fact that she makes young people in her district excited about voting and gets them engaged with political issues—makes her the best choice to represent the progressive district.

Other candidates: Valerie Foushee, Clay Aiken, Crystal Cavalier, Matt Grooms, Stephen Valentine, Ashley Ward, Richard Watkins

US House District 13: Sam Searcy (D)

All 435 voting members of the US House are up for reelection. But in our gerrymandered country, fewer than 30 seats are projected to be true toss-up races in November between the eventual Democratic and Republican primary winners. This is one of them.

So, if you’re pragmatic (and we are this year), the question comes down to this: which candidate is most likely to win over centrists, unaffiliated, and swing voters in southern Wake County and a whole lot of rural Johnston, Harnett, Wayne counties. For us, that’s Sam Searcy.

Also, we like the guy: a vodka distiller turned politician, he fought to expand Medicaid and increase school funding as a state senator in District 17, or southern Wake County (as mentioned earlier). Like other Democrats in the race, he’s also an advocate for voting and reproductive rights. But unlike his opponents, Searcy is the only Democrat to flip a state district from red to blue, which he did in 2018 by defeating a three-term Republican incumbent. Unlike presumptive favorite (and money frontrunner) Wiley Nickel, Searcy also lives in the district (and presumably knows some folks there by name). Democrats are going to lose seats in November. This one, we believe, Searcy can get.

Other candidates: Wiley Nickel, Nathan Click, Denton Lee, Jamie Bowles

*Editor’s note: This number has been updated from 37 as was originally reported. 

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