North Carolina Democrat Rett Newton on Tuesday announced his Senate campaign for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks GOP senators say Biden COVID-19 strategy has 'exacerbated vaccine hesitancy' Senate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam MORE (R).
Newton, an Air Force veteran and the mayor of Beaufort, N.C., said he was inspired to join one of the country’s highest-profile Senate races after the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.
“Throughout my career as an Air Force officer, I have responded to multiple crises — both abroad and at home on 9/11. After what I saw on Jan. 6, 2021, it’s clear that what our country needs right now are leaders who put service over self and country over party,” he said in a statement.
Newton was elected mayor of his hometown in 2017 after serving in the Air Force for 28 years. He's also pursuing a doctorate in marine science and conservation at Duke University.
In a campaign launch video, he touted his military experience and said he plans to tackle a laundry list of Democratic priorities from climate change to health care.
“What we need in Washington are leaders who put service over self, leaders who put country over party and leaders who prioritize our planet, our health care, our jobs and our American democracy,” he said in the video. “That’s what leadership is all about, and it’s what North Carolina needs in the Senate.”
The Tarheel State’s Senate race is expected to be among the most hotly-contested elections in the country next year. While the swing state has gone Republicans’ way in recent cycles, Democrats maintain that Burr’s open seat is a prime pickup opportunity as they work to defend their narrow Senate majority.
State Sen. Jeff Jackson (D), former state Sen. Erica Smith (D) and Richard Watkins have all announced bids on the Democratic side. Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is also expected to mount a campaign.
Former Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerJudge temporarily blocks Florida anti-riot law The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to reboot COVID-19 plan NC Republican primary key test of Trump's sway MORE is the only prominent Republican to declare a bid, though former Gov. Pat McCrory and Lara TrumpLara TrumpPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' MORE, the daughter-in-law of former President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE, are also believed to be mulling bids.