Other than a lonely billboard south of Leland along Highway 17, Congressman Ted Budd has been pretty invisible in our area in his Senate race against Democrat Cheri Beasley, the respected former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
There might be a good reason for that. Budd’s voting record in legislation important to coastal communities is atrocious.
Here are five recent examples:
Budd voted against a ban on offshore drilling despite almost united opposition from our coastal mayors and many in the business community. (The Republican-dominated Brunswick County Board of Commissioners is a sad exception.) Oh, a week later Budd reportedly accepted $2,000 from the Marathon Petroleum PAC.
Budd has repeatedly voted against bipartisan legislation to clean up the PFAS toxins in our drinking water.
Again, despite wide, bipartisan support, Budd opposed the infrastructure bill that, among other benefits to our communities, provided nearly $60 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for eastern NC waterways.
Budd voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes funding to address the impact of severe weather events like hurricanes and coastal flooding that only right-wing extremists believe aren’t accelerated and worsened by climate change. Few areas are more vulnerable than our beach communities.
While not unique to our communities, Budd’s frequent opposition to health-care reform and lowered health-care costs take a huge toll on our families. He has repeatedly opposed expansion of affordable health care. What we do know is that Budd accepts thousands of dollars in contributions from Big Pharma and other special interests that don’t take your welfare to heart.
“Ted Budd hasn’t bothered to care about how his votes would negatively impact coastal communities like Manteo,” said Chris Hardee, a Manteo resident. “From opposing efforts to clean up our drinking water to voting to allow offshore drilling off our beautiful coastline – I can’t trust him to do what’s right for us in the U.S. Senate.”
Budd also was part of an interesting trio this week, out of the mouth of none other than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been critical of so-called “MAGA candidates” for their extreme views and prospects of winning.
McConnell paired Budd with GOP candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Alabama at a fundraiser. Asked by a reporter why he chose those three specifically, he tepidly responded, "I do this every August... This event was scheduled about six weeks ago. And I pick out three of our candidates every summer that I think have the best shot at winning, and invite them. And I picked these three because I thought they were in critical states and had a good chance at winning.”
Well, we can agree with McConnell that North Carolina is a critical state. More evidence of Budd’s extremism comes from fellow Republican and former Governor Pat McCrory. On “Capitol Tonight,” he called Budd out for “hiding,” saying North Carolina voters are “not hearing” from his campaign. (Reminder: McCrory has refused to endorse Budd since losing the primary in May.)
The bottom line is that Budd, while not commanding the national attention of more outspoken MAGA Republicans, is an extreme, right-wing candidate running in a year when every vote for Cheri Beasley can make a difference in terms of which party will control the U.S. Senate and our country’s future direction.