Charlotte, NC — On Saturday, the Senate voted 57-43 to acquit former President Donald Trump on the ridiculous charges that Democrats brought through a questionable impeachment trial. The acquittal is not a surprise, as it was largely suspected that most Republicans would stick with the former President. Seven Republicans voted to convict the President of incitement of insurrection.
Sen’s Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Bill Cassidy, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey were not really a surprise. All of them were indicating ahead of the vote that they would support conviction in the Senate. For some, it was their second time casting such a vote against Trump.
One surprising vote was that of Sen. Richard Burr from North Carolina. Burr has not been a friend of President Donald Trump’s and had not previously indicated that he would vote to convict President Donald Trump. As a North Carolina native, I was a little surprised when I saw that Burr voted for conviction.
Burr’s situation is different from that of the other Senators who voted to convict. Burr is not running for reelection in North Carolina. He announced some time ago that he would not seek reelection in 2022. It’s probably smart that he did.
Burr has faced some issues on his own, such as accusations of corrupt stock trades. He made several stock trades before the COVID pandemic became public and was under investigation. He was forced to step down from the Senate Intelligence Committee and has essentially been a lame duck since.
It’s obvious that the impeachment trial creates no issues for the other Senators, but for Burr’s seat it might. North Carolina currently has two Republican Senators, but that was not always the case. North Carolina has a history of being a tossup state and having a split senate representation. In Thom Tillis most recent election, he won by less than 100,000 votes. His previous win was by an even smaller amount.
Burr’s elections were much, much different. Burr has really never faced a tough challenge for his seat. He was the first Republican to be reelected to the Senate in North Carolina since longtime Senator Jesse Helms. He was the one “safe” Senator in North Carolina. But now, things may change and I believe that his vote on the Senate impeachment could have a lingering sting, even though he is not running for reelection.
I expect Democrats to be heavily competitive for the NC Senate seat, even though Donald Trump and Thom Tillis won the state in 2020. The Democratic Governor won reelection, even though he was extremely unpopular amid his strict coronavirus measures he put in place.
Tillis barely won his race against a candidate who was caught in the middle of an extramarital affair during the race. Democrat Cal Cunningham refused to drop out after the details emerged and still had a strong performance against Tillis. With no clear front-runner for the Republican seat, it leaves Democrats in a great position heading into 2022.
Burr did the NC GOP no favors either. The NC GOP chairman Michael Whatley was quick to call out Burr for his actions, but now Democrats not only have the favored position but also Burr’s actions to run against. Many people may disagree with me on that point, but Burr’s actions will be remembered and pointed out by the Democrats. Especially if one popular Republican announces a run for Senate.
Lara Trump has been mentioned as a contender in North Carolina and she would certainly be the most likely front-runner at the start. While there are other Republicans that will enter the race, she would be a Trump running in a state that Trump won. That would be a huge advantage for her in the race.
Then there’s this Burr situation. Democrats are sure to use the Burr vote to attack Trump. If they are even remotely successful in that attack, Republicans will lose the Senate seat and most likely the 50-50 split in the Senate.
So while Burr was most likely voting out of emotion, even though he previously called the Senate trial unconstitutional, he leaves the GOP in a tough spot. He turned on President Donald Trump and the Republican party, showing that he has no interest in any influence in the party after he leaves the Senate. Here in North Carolina, he has abandoned any future and perhaps will need to look for refuge in another state, like New York.
JD Washington is the Editor-in-Chief at The Liberty Loft and host of The JD Washington Show. Be sure to subscribe to The Liberty Loft’s daily newsletter. If you enjoy our content, please consider donating to support The Liberty Loft so we can continue to deliver great content.