Former NC State Senator Erica Smith has announced that she’s running again for US Senate.
Smith lost in the 2020 Democratic primary to Cal Cunningham, who went on to lose to Thom Tillis in an expensive, and eventually scandal-ridden, race.
“I grew up in rural North Carolina. I’m an HBCU alumna, a member of the clergy, and a servant leader with deep ties in North Carolina. I have worked in indigenous communities and organized alongside Latino and LGBTQ communities. I have shown up for them, and I will continue to show up—for ALL OF US,” said Smith.
Erica Smith served three terms in the General Assembly, where she represented NC Senate District 3, in the rural, northeastern part of the state.
Smith will face NC State Senator Jeff Jackson of Charlotte in the Democratic primary for the seat currently held by retiring Senator Richard Burr.
The general election will be very different race from last year’s, when the incumbent Republican was running for a second term. Senator Richard Burr, also a Republican, has announced he will retire after three terms, so there will likely be a hard-fought Republican primary as well, followed by a contest for an open seat. NC has sent women of both parties to the US Senate in the past—Republican Elizabeth Dole and Democrat Kay Hagan, though each served only a single term.
The state has also had many senators from both parties, reflecting its balanced partisanship, so it’s within the realm of possibility that voters would again choose one Democrat and one Republican to represent them in 2022.