The race for Sen. Richard Burr’s seat in Congress is one of the closest in the country.
There’s a chance Democrats could flip control of the Senate away from Republicans. Burr is a Republican; he’s being challenged by Democrat Deborah Ross and Libertarian Sean Haugh.
As voters decide how they want to cast their ballots Tuesday, here is a compilation of fact-checks in the Senate race from PolitiFact (with apologies to Haugh, who hasn’t had any statements checked yet).
Notice that many of their claims have been rated Half True. That’s an indication that the speaker is saying something that’s based in truth but is being misleading, or ignoring some other relevant facts.
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PolitiFact defines Half True like this: “The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.” For more definitions of the PolitiFact ratings and the fact-checking process, see here.
Claim: “I had the longest judicial vacancy in the history of the United States.”
Ruling: Mostly True. Burr has stonewalled multiple nominees for a seat on the eastern district federal court for North Carolina, and while it doesn’t hold the all-time record, it’s the longest current vacancy and the longest-ever vacancy at the district court level. Furthermore, Democrats also deserve some blame for the seat being vacant, as they stonewalled a Bush nominee for the seat before Burr began blocking Obama nominees.
Claim: Says Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are “responsible for leading America into a deal that will arm Iran.”
Ruling: Half True. The deal won’t literally arm Iran, but it did allow Iran access to more cash. And in the future, if Iran plays by the rules it will be able to access some international arms markets once again – but it will never be allowed to arm itself with a nuclear weapon.
Claim: “Sen. (Richard) Burr voted no on the Violence Against Women Act.”
Ruling: Half True. Burr did vote against it once, in 2012, but he also voted for it.
Claim: “Richard Burr voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas but voted against a tax break to help working people."
Ruling: Half True. Burr did cast such a vote, but tax experts say the bill in question was basically meaningless since it didn’t do enough to change any corporation’s behavior.
Claim: Says in Washington, D.C., Burr “took millions from special interests, went there and cashed in, voted to cut (his) own taxes and raise taxes on working folks.”
Ruling: Half True. Burr is a favorite of corporate interests and has raised millions from industries like Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. And he did vote on a budget that would’ve cut taxes for wealthy people like himself – although there’s no proof that the budget would have also raised taxes on the middle class, since it didn’t actually pass and details on those tax increases were few and far between.
Claim: Says Burr “was one of only three senators who voted against a ban on insider trading for members of Congress. And he called that vote brave.”
Ruling: True. Burr did vote against the bill, calling his action brave. Furthermore, his defense that he opposed it because it didn’t make any actual legal changes doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Claim: An ad from a super PAC run by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said that Ross “supports the Iran nuclear deal and the ransom it paid for hostages.”
Ruling: Half True. Ross has said she does support the Iran nuclear deal. However, there is a question over whether the payment described here was actually a ransom – and either way, Ross has said she did not agree with the decision.
Claim: “Ross defends those who want to burn the American flag, and even called efforts to ban flag-burning ‘ridiculous,’ yet refused to help a disabled veteran fly the flag.”
Ruling: Mostly True. Ross has said she supports the right to burn the flag but does not support the act itself. And when she led the N.C. chapter of the ACLU, it did turn down a veteran who wanted to sue over being told he could’t fly the flag at his home. But he was turned down because he was asking for help in a case related to contracts – not constitutional violations, which is where the ACLU usually focuses.
Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @PolitiFactNC