Trump, Biden clout tested in North Carolina Senate debate

Trump, Biden clout tested in North Carolina Senate debate

North Carolina Senate hopeful Cheri Beasley gave President Biden the cold shoulder on Friday while on the debate stage against her Trump-backed Republican opponent, Rep. Ted Budd.

Ms. Beasley, who has previously declined to campaign alongside the president and vice president, told the moderator “we’ll see what happens” when asked whether Mr. Biden should seek a second term in 2024.

She was also dicey when asked if she would campaign alongside the president if he “called tonight.”

“If it’s an official visit we’ll just have to see if we’re available,” she said. “But I’m telling you that we want him here in the state listening to folks and hearing from the same folks I’m talking to about what we really need here in the state.”

Democratic candidates in Republican-leaning states have been apprehensive about campaigning alongside Mr. Biden, amid months of low approval ratings that have more recently begun to rebound.

Mr. Budd accused Ms. Beasley of “running away” from Mr. Biden despite supporting his policies.

“The policies that Cheri Beasley supports are the policies that Joe Biden [is] doubling down on right now in our country,” he said.

Mr. Budd, who has appeared alongside former President Donald Trump at rallies in North Carolina, said he was proud to have his endorsement.

“Let’s remember that President Trump won North Carolina twice,” he said. “He had a lot of wins here in the state, including for our economy, including for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”

“He endorsed me because I’m an ‘America First’ candidate,” he added.

But when asked whether Mr. Trump should run in 2024, Mr. Budd stopped short of a full-throttle endorsement.

“I’m going to exclusively focus on this one right now,” he said. “We have 32 days on this one. Let’s get on the other side of this and let’s have that conversation.”