The Pulse

Field notes: Dispatches from the 2022 U.S. Senate election – Vol. 3

By: - February 11, 2022 2:37 pm

The wheels are turning toward a May 17 primary as court cases play out in what has already been a confusing year for voters trying to follow the calendar changes.

This week, the state Board of Elections reopened its absentee ballot request portal and candidate filing, halted in late December by a court ruling, is scheduled to restart in less than two weeks. But the schedule is still subject to the outcome of redistricting cases and the legal roller coaster ride through the end of the month and possibly beyond.

The uncertainty and the extended schedule continues to have an effect on U.S. Senate campaigns, especially the now four-way race for the GOP nomination and when voters will get a chance to see the all on stage at once.

The John Locke Foundation announced that is had confirmations for its debate in late February from former Governor Pat McCrory, former Rep. Mark Walker and Majorie Eastman, a Cary author and retired Army officer, who joined the race late last year. A no-show so far is Rep. Ted Budd, the GOP’s top fundraiser in the last cycle, who has resisted calls to debate saying it is too early given the extended schedule.

Budd’s reluctance has given Walker and McCrory more fuel for their efforts to paint Budd as unwilling to go face to face.

The debate takes place at the end of the “Carolina Liberty Conference” on February 26 in Raleigh from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Cheri Beasley

Beasley at Livingstone

Democrat Cheri Beasley, received the president’s award when she addressed a virtual Founder’s Day commemoration at Livingstone College this week. Beasley, the former Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, was hailed as an “inspiration and a trailblazer” by the school’s longtime leader, Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, Sr.

In her remarks, Beasley pointed to the latest attempts in states to roll back voting and the lack of action in the U.S. Senate on voting rights legislation and urged students to stay involved.

“It’s never been more important,” she said. “In 49 states across this nation, including North Carolina, there is work to disenfranchise voters, as senators stay quiet instead of speaking up to protect our constitutional rights.”

Beasley noted the difficult and oppressive times times during the school’s beginnings in the late 1870s and told students not to lose faith.

“Keep on going we need you,” she said. “Always vote and be engaged.”


No politician likes to be accused of waffling, but Mark Walker took it to another level in the February 3 tweet of an evening meal at Waffle House.

The since deleted tweet was intended to show Walker’s non-elite bona fides, but instead touched off a barrage of critiques of his order, which included home fries that were very obviously neither covered nor smothered.

Before deleting the tweet, Walker engaged in a friendly exchange with WRAL reporter Travis Fain, one of several subject area experts on hash browns to question his order.

Walker served up an apology the next day with a side of ham.


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Kirk Ross

Kirk Ross, 2022 Election Correspondent, is a longtime North Carolina journalist covering the 2022 U.S. Senate race for Policy Watch and States Newsroom. For the past decade, Kirk has reported on state politics and public policy as a member of the Capital Press Corps for Carolina Public Press and the Washington Post and on environmental, climate change and energy policy for Coastal Review. Kirk was a Chapel Hill News and News & Observer local government and education reporter, managing editor of INDY Week and co-founder and editor of the fondly-remembered Carrboro Citizen weekly. [email protected] 919-737-5096