Sorry I missed this last Friday from Jezebel:
Ted Budd, North Carolina’s Republican nominee for Senate, is one of two sitting U.S. congressmen to own a gun store, and his advertises on its website an insurance provider that supports gun owners who face domestic violence charges. Some advocates and family members of gun violence victims have called insurance plans like this—which have also been advertised by the NRA—“murder insurance.”
Budd’s store, ProShots, is located in Rural Hall, North Carolina, and in advertising U.S. Law Shield insurance, the Senate candidate seems unnervingly willing to help customers who might use their guns from ProShots to hurt or threaten partners or family members. Budd holds an A-rating from the NRA for his votes against gun safety legislation, and the group has also endorsed him in his Senate race.
U.S. Law Shield offers legal representation and other support to its members who face criminal or civil charges for use of force, and also offers bail bonds, coverage for “negligent” or “accidental” discharge of a firearm, and protection against prosecution under North Carolina’s Wildlife Resource Commission regulations.
The insurance program notably has some pretty contradictory terms around coverage for domestic violence incidents: Specifically, U.S. Law Shield includes a “Family Violence Exclusion” clause in its terms, stating it won’t cover cases “involving a firearm or other lawful weapon against a Member’s current or former family member, household or dating relationship as defined in applicable state law.” But then, in June 2020, the program allegedly sent a letter to its membership, obtained by Jezebel, issuing clarification that all but scraps the aforementioned exclusion clause: “Any Member who uses a firearm or other legal weapon in justified self-defense or defense of another is eligible for coverage, regardless of the specific charges they face, including charges alleging domestic violence.”
There’s more, INDY Week has a good piece out now about Budd’s family business:
Last year, The Washington Post reported on allegations that the Budds, including Ted, ripped off American farmers by improperly transferring millions of dollars in assets to themselves just before an agriculture business, of which Budd patriarch Richard Budd was CEO, went bankrupt.
Now, newly surfaced court documents reviewed by the INDY show that the Budds’ family janitorial business has a track record of allegedly treating its workers as poorly as the farmers who say they lost their shirts.
As the Budd Group grew into a multistate conglomerate with thousands of employees, currently worth an estimated $100 million, employees at the company dating back more than 20 years complained of discriminatory working conditions and workplace violations including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and safety breaches.
Many of these allegations overlap with the U.S. Senate candidate’s tenure at the Budd Group as an executive and owner, including a total of 13 Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations between 1998 and 2004 that racked up thousands of dollars in fines.
Budd’s campaign did not respond to the INDY’s requests for an interview.
“I’m concerned any time I see that there’s a company that has multiple lawsuits from employees claiming unsafe working conditions, harassment, discrimination, wage theft, misclassfication,” says MaryBe McMillan, the president of the North Carolina branch of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of workers unions in the nation. “It basically covers the whole gamut of things you don’t want to see happen to workers.”
Here’s a sign that Democrats can smell blood in the water:
A Democratic super PAC is launching a new TV ad attacking GOP Rep. Ted Budd in North Carolina's Senate race, as outside groups from both parties engage in the contest.
The new ad, shared first with NBC News, is from Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The ad is part of a more than $2 million ad campaign.
The 30-second spot highlights the Budd family's investment in an agriculture business, which went bankrupt.
"Rather than paying back the small farmers what they owed, Budd’s family repaid themselves instead—millions of dollars, with interest," a narrator says in the ad, which will start airing in the Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro markets on Tuesday.
"That’s the real Ted Budd," the narrator says. "He gets paid while North Carolina farmers get screwed.”
The ad references a Washington Post story detailing the bankruptcy, noting that Budd signed as a "co-maker" to a $10 million loan as part of his father's effort to save the company, known as AgriBioTech. The Post reported that "a trustee for farmers and other creditors alleged that his father, Richard Budd, improperly transferred millions of dollars in assets to his family, including Ted Budd."
Here’s a run down of the polling:
This is certainly a race that needs more of our attention and resources:
As the midterms enter their final stretch, Democratic officials are feeling bullish about Cheri Beasley’s odds of winning, noting that recent public polls have the former chief justice for the North Carolina Supreme Court tied or within striking distance of her Republican opponent Rep. Ted Budd. Democratic lawmakers add that she’s outraised him by a substantial margin and see the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe as a motivating factor, especially among suburban women.
But Beasley needs more resources, they say, bringing up a perennial crux for the party: whether to spend their finite war chests in races deemed toss-ups, or to take a chance on those like the one in the Tar Heel State that favor Republicans. Democrats already have a tall order in trying to win Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states President Joe Biden won in 2020, as well as defend incumbents in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire. Party officials are still spending in North Carolina, but not nearly as much.
“I’ve certainly weighed in with the people who control such things, and I think our whole delegation has,” said Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), who has spoken to the Democratic Senate campaign arm about the race. “There’s a real case to be made, and we’re trying to make it … there’s some people who are fully engaged with this, but we all need to be.”
While Beasley’s campaign has far out-spent Budd to a tune of nearly $9 million more in broadcast, digital, radio and cable ads, Republicans overall have spent $43.8 million in ad buys compared to Democrats’ $22.4 million, according to an analysis by AdImpact. However, candidates can pay lower rates per ad than outside groups, allowing Democrats’ dollars to shrink the GOP’s spending advantage.
Former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who recently campaigned with Beasley, said Democrats “absolutely” need to invest more in the race, adding that at the moment he’d like to see stronger independent expenditures.
“Democrats give up sometimes too easy and they give up on the South way too easy,” Jones said. “I worry sometimes after my loss, after Jaime [Harrison’s] loss, after Cal Cunningham’s loss, and despite winning in Georgia, that they just sometimes overlook and say, ‘We know we can do better in Ohio and Pennsylvania and other places.’”
FiveThirtyEight weighs out the pros and cons of Beasley’s chances of winning but I do like this:
For starters, Beasley, who already has experience running and winning a statewide race in North Carolina, has so far maintained a significant financial edge over Budd. Her impressive fundraising skills have allowed her to spend over $10 million on TV ads, according to The Cook Political Report, which cited data from AdImpact. That’s in contrast to nearly $2 million from Budd, according to the outlet.
Beasley is also hoping that the state’s demographics will work in her favor. She hasn’t been shy in admitting that she hopes she can gin up support among Black voters, who make up about 22 percent of the citizen voting-age population. And if Beasley wins, she’d become the state’s first Black U.S. senator.
“The Democratic Party has been trying hard to put forward candidates who reflect the diversity of the country,” said Whitney Manzo, a professor of political science at North Carolina’s Meredith College. “And I think the party is banking on [Beasley] appealing to voters of color, with the hope that she will energize voters in the same way that Barack Obama did in 2008.”
The increased salience of abortion access following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization might also give Beasley a lift — something that other Democrats in competitive states are similarly hoping for.
In a September Emerson College poll of likely North Carolina voters, 59 percent of respondents said they were much more likely to vote in the 2022 elections due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Twelve percent of respondents also said that abortion was their No. 1 issue heading into the midterm elections — a figured dwarfed by the 41 percent who identified the economy as their key issue. Still, considering the tightening race between Beasley and Budd, abortion access alone might be enough to give the Democrat a significant edge at the polls. Beasley, for her part, has repeatedly contrasted her and Budd’s views on abortion access to mobilize her base. Manzo added that abortion rights in particular could help Beasley woo Republican women — particularly those living in the state’s cities and large metros — who weren’t in favor of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Early voting begins on October 20th. Click here for more info.
Health and Democracy are on the ballot and we need to get ready to flip North Carolina Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Beasley and her fellow North Carolina Democrats campaigns:
North Carolina Democratic Party
Don Davis for Congress
Wiley Nickel for Congress
Jeff Jackson for Congress
Lucy Inman for State Supreme Court
Sam J. Ervin, IV for State Supreme Court