NC midterms evoke diverse responses

Students share their thoughts about the winning candidates and growing political polarization


Ashlyn Segler

A sign outside of ZSR Library promotes an early voting site at Winston-Salem First Assembly, where many students casted votes.

Ashlyn Segler, Contributing Writer

As election results poured in late Tuesday night, the North Carolina midterm outcome evoked mixed reactions from students across campus. 

With relevant and contentious issues like abortion access, inflation and climate policy at the forefront of this midterm, many Wake Forest students tuned into to watch the election results. Students reported receiving results from a variety of sources, with some coming together to host watch parties with friends and others simply tracking results through news and social media outlets.

In the final hours of Election Day, NBC news called the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina for Republican Rep. Ted Budd, who defeated Democrat and former Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court Cheri Beasley. The Associated Press followed suit soon thereafter. 

For many, Budd’s victory was a relief. 

“I’m glad North Carolina went red to keep the sides even in the election,” junior Taylor Wilkison said. “Since the executive branch is liberal, I definitely like to see more conservative representation in the House and Senate.”

Junior Jack Lewis said that he was not surprised by Budd’s win. 

“Ted Budd was for the most part a good and uncontroversial conservative candidate who ran a solid campaign,” Lewis said. 

Alternatively, many were concerned by the Republican victory, specifically for its implications for the future of abortion access. 

“I’m disappointed by the election results,” sophomore Audrey Knaack said. “I would think that North Carolina might be more interested in protecting women’s rights, and I was happy to see so many cities vote blue, but ultimately I was sad to see the entire state swing red.”

Junior Caroline Searcy was also disappointed that North Carolina did not go blue. 

“I was really sad that Cheri Beasley did not win in North Carolina,” Searcy said. “I think it’s important that we get as many blue seats in the Senate as possible, especially considering the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I think it’s really important that we codify Roe, and that can only happen with as many blue seats as possible.”

Beyond individual party affiliation, many students also expressed frustration with the increasingly polarized political landscape highlighted through the closely contested elections across the country, with North Carolina acting as a prime example. 

“The long-run of American politics is where I am concerned,” junior Michael Metz said. “I am a registered Republican, but I think both parties have become too polarized and fail to ever reach compromises. In the future, I just hope that more moderate politicians will run for office.” 

Senior Drew Johnson also expressed dissatisfaction with political polarization. 

 “It is unfortunate to see the extreme nature both parties have taken when it comes to their respective policies,” Johnson said. “In my opinion, President Trump started this drastic polarization of the parties, and more left-wing Democrats have exacerbated it to a place I don’t know if we as a country can return from.”

Despite frustrations with polarizing political trends as well as disappointing race results for some, many still understood the ultimate importance of their vote in this election.

“Although I was disappointed with some of the results, I was glad that I voted, especially seeing how close the election was in North Carolina,” senior Ava Sann said. “It really shows how every vote counts.”

Junior Abby Eakle echoed Sann: “This midterm election demonstrated just how influential the young vote can be. Regardless of which party you affiliate with, voting is crucial.”

Correction Nov. 16: An earlier of this version contained a misspelled word in the sub-headline. That error has been corrected.