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Edwards beats Beach-Ferrara for NC-11 seat

Chuck Edwards has served three terms as a state senator for District 48.
Courtesy of NC Legislature
Chuck Edwards has served three terms as a state senator for District 48.

In the closely-watched race for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional district, Republican candidate Chuck Edwards has won with about 54 percent of the vote, or 10 percent more votes than Democratic candidate Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, according to unofficial results from the NC Board of Elections

Edwards is from Henderson County. He has served three terms as a state senator for District 48.

“I know that people in this district are eager to see somebody go to Washington, D.C. that has actually done the things that everybody else says that they would like to do,” Edwards told BPR in April. “I've cut taxes, outlawed sanctuary cities, balanced budgets, voted to protect the Second Amendment. No one else on that stage can say that. And I believe the voters in NC-11 recognize the difference.”

Edwards lives in Flat Rock with his wife and two children. He graduated from Blue Ridge Community College and owns a chain of McDonald’s franchises in Henderson, Transylvania, and Haywood counties.

Libertarian candidate David Coatney also competed in the race and won two percent of the vote.

The race for NC-11 has been packed with twists and turns since 2021. That’s when now-former Congressman Madison Cawthorn announced that he was switching districts based on proposed maps. Ultimately, Cawthorn switched back to NC-11 garnering ill-will from his former supports and community members.

One of the biggest differences between the candidates is their stances on abortion.

“It’s a misconception that overturning Roe decentralized decision-making because Roe never put it in the purview of the federal legislature rather the individual. So, the move away from Roe is a move away from individual rights back up to state’s rights – or bigger government,” said Coatney.

Simply put, Edward’s website reads: “I am a pro-life candidate who believes life begins at conception!” and continues, “I will continue this fight as your US Congressman!”

By contrast, Beach-Ferrara said she looks at abortion as a woman, mother and Pro-choice pastor.

“What we saw this summer with the Dobbs ruling is a very dangerous moment in American life when a fundamental freedom that had been secured and protected was rolled back. What that means very concretely is that young girls and women like my daughter now have fewer rights than their moms or grandmas,” said Beach-Ferrara.

The primary season was a tough road for Edwards.

Incumbent Cawthorn narrowly lost the Republican primary to Edwards by just 1.5 percent. Edwards was able to avoid a runoff by accumulating more than 30% of the vote.

Democratic candidate Beach-Ferrara won her primary with over 60 percent of the vote. She was re-elected to a second term as a Buncombe County Commissioner in 2020. Beach-Ferrara is an ordained minister and executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. Beach-Ferrara lives in Buncombe County with her wife and three children.

Beach-Ferrara took part in a forum at Blue Ridge Public Radio with Coatney in August. Edwards declined the invitation to participate in BPR’s candidate forum and explained that he would only be taking part in one debate. Edwards did appear with Beach-Ferrara in one debate on WLOS. Coatney was not invited to that debate.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.