Sharing a ballot with a historically awful Republican presidential candidate, an embattled governor, and a deeply unpopular revanchist legislature, Deborah Ross has run a very middle-of-the-road campaign for U.S. Senate against two-termer Richard Burr. But if Ross wins, there's a good chance she could turn out to be the most progressive senator from North Carolina in decades.
Ross's résumé is impressive. She led the state ACLU for six years, served in the state legislature for ten years, and worked as legal counsel for GoTriangle. Her campaign has been focused on jobs and education, which is standard for North Carolina Democrats, but Ross also supports the expansion of Medicaid, much-needed improvements to the country's infrastructure, and doing something about climate change. Her opposition to offshore drilling, she says, is something she's willing to risk votes over.
Burr has a reputation for running a first-rate constituent services shop, but there's not much else positive we can say about him. He was a die-hard supporter of the Bush administration's Iraq adventure, and as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he's consistently backed the expansion of the surveillance state. He's still opposed to gay marriage.
Burr also maintains his support of Donald Trump, a despicable man whose one almost-redeeming attribute is his frequent criticism of Congress's coziness with special interests. But Burr has been one of those cozy politicians: over the course of twenty years in D.C., first as a congressman and then as a senator, Burr has taken nearly thirty special-interest-funded trips, worth more than $100,000. And Burr was one of just three senators to vote against a ban on insider trading for top federal employees, calling himself a "brave soul." We can think of better words for that than "brave."
A year ago, it didn't seem possible for Burr to be unseated. But this election has been unpredictable, and we may just yet luck our way into getting a proven progressive into the Senate. Vote for Ross.