RALEIGH — State Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) is expected to end his campaign for U.S. Senate, according to multiple news reports. The senator, who maintains a robust social media presence, was one of two frontrunners in the race along with former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.
Word broke of the news Wednesday evening.
Politico reported that Jackson was notifying donors throughout the day Wednesday.
If Jackson does leave it race, it gives Beasley, who lost her bid to become the elected Chief Justice of the state’s highest court, a much easier path to the nomination. Some speculated that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and New York U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer were supporting Beasley’s campaign.
Jackson famously met with Schumer about a 2020 campaign, but said he wouldn’t spend his time in a “windowless basement” raising money for attack ads.
He instead said he if ran for the seat he would embark on a 100-county tour of the state, which he did throughout 2021. His campaign, though, would be dogged by comparisons to 2020 failed Democratic nominee Cal Cunningham. The state Republican Party often referred to Jackson as “Cal Cunningham Jr.,” noting the many similarities between the two. That led some Democratic officials to say they shouldn’t run the same type of campaign again or nominate another white male candidate.
That strategy appears to be working with Beasley sewing up support from Jackson’s fellow Democrats in the General Assembly, multiple members of Congress, and even former rival Erica Smith.
“If you’re not unequivocally for getting rid of the filibuster, you are out of touch with the scale of the crises bearing down on BIPOC communities and working people across North Carolina and all over the country,” Smith said in September, taking a shot at Beasley’s position then of supporting the filibuster. Just two months later, however, Beasley changed course, and now supports ending the filibuster.
Jackson began the race strong when he entered in January but his fundraising in the campaign slowed down substantially.
He raised $1 million in the first week of the campaign but in third quarter fundraising reports, totaled just $990,000 and had approximately $1.1 million on hand.