With polls showing the race for a Senate seat in North Carolina virtually tied between Representative Ted Budd, a Republican, and his Democratic opponent, Cheri Beasley, the two are set to square off in their first debate.
It is an event that many were unsure would happen.
Mr. Budd, a third-term congressman, refused to debate his Republican primary opponents. Until recently, it was unclear whether he would agree to debating Ms. Beasley either. In September, he said he would welcome a debate, but it took time to negotiate the terms.
Now, the contest has tightened so much that it could become one of several races across the country to determine control of the Senate.
In this evenly divided state, turning out swing voters might not matter as much for the candidates as ensuring that their party’s voters show up in force. But both Ms. Beasley and Mr. Budd have largely stayed away from the type of incendiary rhetoric that can rile up a party’s base.
Ms. Beasley, if elected, would become the first Black woman sent to the Senate from the state. She has been running as a judge above the fray, centering her campaign on creating jobs, expanding access to affordable health care and protecting women’s rights.
Mr. Budd has mostly kept a low profile since winning the primary with the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump and an influential anti-tax group, the Club for Growth. He has portrayed himself as a generic Republican and campaigned against President Biden’s policies.
The debate, to be moderated by Spectrum News 1’s Tim Boyum, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern time. It will be carried live by C-SPAN, and we will cover it here with live updates and analysis from our reporters.
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