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North Carolina’s top law enforcement group has abandoned its longstanding support for Democrat Cheri Beasley for aligning herself with “defund the police activists” in the years since George Floyd’s death, opting instead to throw their support behind Trump-back U.S. Senate candidate Ted Budd.
The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association had endorsed Beasley for state-wide judicial offices in 2008, 2014 and 2020. When she was first appointed by former Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2012 to fill a vacancy on the North Carolina Supreme Court, the NC PBA’s executive director even praised Beasley’s “extraordinary record as an appellate judge,” and in 2013, the association’s president remarked, “We are extremely proud of Justice Beasley and her accomplishments.”
However, the association changed its tune on Wednesday, announcing an endorsement for Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., in this November’s high-stakes U.S. Senate race for retiring Republican Richard Burr’s seat.
The group seemingly took issue with Beasley, who in 2019 became the first African American woman to serves as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, for partnering with Rep. Cori Bush, D-Missouri, a self-described Black Lives Matter activist, on a fundraising campaign launched July 2021.
Democratic Senate Candidate Cheri Beasley speaks to organized labor groups at Saint Paul Baptist Church on Sept. 17, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
“Based on the committee’s recommendations and a board vote, the PBA is endorsing Ted Budd for US Senate because we believe a vote for Ted Budd is a vote for the men and women of law enforcement and the citizens they serve,” David Rose, president of the NCPBA, said in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital. “Ted Budd understands the risks and dangers law enforcement officers face every day here in N.C., or at the U.S. southern border, which now impacts all 100 counties in N.C. With violent crime on the rise in North Carolina, more than ever before, we need a Senator who has our backs and not someone who is supported by Defund the Police activists. We endorse Ted Budd for U.S. Senate because he’s the best choice for N.C.”
“North Carolina law enforcement officers are on the front lines of keeping our communities safe every day and I am honored the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association has endorsed me,” Budd said in a statement. “If our citizens don’t feel safe, our communities suffer across the board. Law enforcement departments in our state share a commitment for protecting North Carolinians and making life better. Cheri Beasley might prefer the Defund the Police crowd, but I’m proud to stand with the NCPBA and law enforcement officers across North Carolina who protect and serve our communities.”
Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, during a campaign event in Lexington, North Carolina on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. (Cornell Watson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Beasley lost the endorsement despite pitching herself as a bridge between law enforcement and the Democratic Party at a news conference in Durham last month joined by more than a dozen current and former law enforcement officers. “I do not support defund the police,” Beasley said in August, according to The Associated Press. “I know that police officers need more funding … for recruitment, retention, training, mental health and addressing the opioid crisis. We’ve got to be more realistic about the kinds of issues that they’re dealing with in our communities.”
Trump-backed Senate candidate Ted Budd greets an attendee during a campaign event in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. (Cornell Watson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
With the Senate divided 50-50 along party lines, and Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the deciding vote, the race between Budd and Beasley is in the national spotlight this midterm election cycle. Budd was endorsed by former President Trump ahead of the state’s competitive GOP primary. In August, Fox News Digital first reported that Budd was endorsed by the North Carolina Troopers Association. He is also backed by the National Border Patrol Council.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace.