Some big news happened this week out of North Carolina:

Less than 48 hours after announcing his campaign for North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2022, N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson raised more than $500,000, with 90% of donations from North Carolinians, 78% of contributions under $100, and no contributions from political action committees or self-funding, according to the Democratic state senator’s campaign.

Jeff Jackson represents the recently redrawn 37th district in the North Carolina Senate, and in 2014 became the second-youngest state senator in state history after he was chosen to replace Dan Clodfelter, who left the seat to become Charlotte’s mayor. Jeff Jackson has gone on to win four N.C. Senate general elections since then, including his first relatively competitive race in 2020 after his district was redrawn to include more traditionally Republican areas. Jackson beat Republican Sonja Nichols by 14% percentage points in that race.

Jackson will be running to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, who has served as one of North Carolina’s two U.S. senators since 2005. Burr announced in 2016 that he wouldn’t be running for reelection in 2022.

At the moment, Jeff Jackson is only up against Republican Mark Walker for the Senate Seat. Comparative to Jackson’s skyrocketing contributions, Walker reportedly raised just  $366,918 in his first six weeks of fundraising. There has been speculation that Lara Trump could enter the race on the Republican side, though nothing has substantiated these rumors.

By the way, in case you were wondering:

Newly-minted US Senate candidate Jeff Jackson said Thursday he would support the conviction of former President Donald Trump in the Senate.
The Charlotte Democrat is running to fill Sen. Richard Burr’s seat when he retires in 2022.
“Yes, I would,” Jackson told WCNC Charlotte’s Ben Thompson during this Sunday’s edition of Flashpoint.

“The question shouldn’t be if he should be impeached and convicted. It’s whether we consider the impeachment clause of our constitution to be operational. Do we consider it be a real thing that exists in our constitution? I do.”
On Jan. 6, a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.  Multiple people died in the attack, including a police officer. Jackson said the President incited the violence with his rhetoric after the election and during a rally just moments before the riot.

“People were killed,” Jackson said. “It was an international embarrassment.”




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It’s very encouraging to see that fundraising for Democratic candidates has not slowed down since Biden became President. It does show that Jackson is a serious contender but his primary opponent, former State Senator Erica Smith (D. NC), is trying to issue this warning:

But Smith and other Democrats are worried that the early fund-raising totals will cement Jackson as the front-runner — pushing a white man past a Black woman and to the front of the field in an increasingly diverse party.

Just as in, you guessed it, 2020.

“It’s important that we let this primary campaign play out and do not anoint front-runners based on money more than a year before any ballots will be cast. We saw how that turned out last cycle,” Smith’s campaign said in a statement.

It’s not the first time Smith, other Democrats and even the state’s Republican Party have tried to tie Jackson to Cunningham.

Cunningham raised record-setting amounts of money and had the backing of the national party. He easily defeated Smith in the primary and led in polling throughout the general election before an extramarital affair derailed his campaign in the final month.

Smith, 51, referred to “a cookie cutter version of a white male” often being seen as the best candidate.

“To do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result is insanity. North Carolina cannot go down the path we have gone down for the last election cycles as it relates to the U.S. Senate race,” Smith said in a telephone interview this week.

Jackson, 38, said the comparisons are inevitable. But they won’t last, he said.

“As we get into it, people are going to see I’m a completely different person, running a completely different campaign,” he said.

Jackson, who considered a run in 2020, vowed to visit all 100 counties in the state as part of his campaign roll-out. Though North Carolina’s largest population counties are the Democratic Party’s base, he said there are more opportunities in other parts of the state.

“I think we have to run more aggressive campaigns. I don’t think we can campaign softly. You have to go out there and tell people what you’re actually for. I think people can tell when you’re being cautious or everything you say comes through a political lens and it turns them off.”

I understand where Smith is coming from, especially when it comes to the a lack of black women serving inn the U.S. Senate. However, Smith will have to make a better argument then claiming that Jackson is just like Cunningham and Jackson knows that he has to really put in the work. But either way, it’s exciting and encouraging to see our base get energized to flip another open seat. Let’s keep up that momentum. Click below to donate and get involved with either Jackson or Smith’s campaigns and to the North Carolina Democratic Party:

Jeff Jackson

Erica Smith

North Carolina Democratic Party

  • January 31, 2021
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