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N.C. State-Level Primary Election Wrap Up!

North Carolina held Round 1 of its primary elections yesterday, and despite the drama on the national level, there were no big surprises in state-level races for Governor, Council of State, and State Legislative races. Here are a few of the highlights:


There were no surprises for either party front-runner as incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory easily won his party’s nomination, defeating challengers Robert Brawley and Kenneth Moss. Likewise, current Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper comfortably defeated Durham attorney Ken Spaulding for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

Lt. Governor

Democrat Linda Coleman fended off challenges from three opposing candidates to secure her party’s nomination for Lt. Governor, while current GOP Lt. Governor Dan Forest faced no opposition in his bid for re-election.

Council of State Seats

  • Attorney General:Two current members of the N.C. Senate, Josh Stein (D-Wake) and Buck Newton (R-Wilson), won their party primaries for State Attorney General and will face each other in what is expected to be a hotly contested General Election.
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Current Republican Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler defeated challenger Andy Stevens, and will run for his fourth term in the fall against Democrat Walter Smith.
  • Insurance Commissioner: Mike Causey won the GOP nomination for Insurance Commissioner and will run against two-time incumbent Democrat Wayne Goodwin, who faced no primary opponent.
  • Secretary of State: Michael LaPaglia defeated A.J. Daoud to win the Republican nomination for Secretary of State and will face incumbent Democrat Elaine Marshall, who was not challenged in the primary.
  • Labor Commissioner: Former Raleigh mayor, Charles Meeker, won the Democratic nomination for Labor Commissioner and will run against Republican incumbent Cherie Berry in the fall.
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction: Winston-Salem attorney Mark Johnson won a three-way GOP primary for State Superintendent and will challenge three-term incumbent Democrat June Atkinson, who easily defeated her primary challenger.
  • Treasurer: Democrat Dan Blue III won his party’s nomination for State Treasurer and will face off against Republican Dale Folwell, former Speak Pro Tempore of NC House and Assistant Secretary of Commerce, who did not face a primary opponent.

North Carolina General Assembly

N.C. Senate:Although four Democrat and three Republican incumbent members of the State Senate faced primary opponents, all seven easily defeated their challengers.

N.C. House: Despite fierce challenges in several State House races and a few close calls, at the time of this writing it appears that just two incumbent members of the N.C. House were defeated in the primary election. Here are several highlights:

  • Amos Quick, a Baptist pastor and Guilford County school board member, defeated incumbent Rep. Ralph Johnson (D-Guilford) who had been ill from a recent stroke and died on March 16.
  • Destin Hall, a Republican attorney from Caldwell County, defeated incumbent Rep. George Robinson (R-Caldwell).
  • House Rules Chairman Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) easily defeated challenger Chuck Levorse.
  • Top budget writer, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) held off a significant campaign against him, defeating challenger Mark Villee.
  • Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg) currently holds a 28-vote lead over GOP challenger Tom Davis.
  • Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanley), a four-time incumbent, won by 243 votes in a hotly contested race against GOP challenger Lane Burris.
  • Democrat John Autry, a current member of the Charlotte City Council who recently voted in favor of the infamous local “Bathroom Ordinance,” defeated his primary challenger and will replace retiring Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg) in the N.C. House.

After last night’s elections, at least 15 State Senate and 57 State House seats have already been decided because no challenger will be contesting the race in the General Election.

Important Reminder: NC will have another Primary Election this year!

There will be another primary election on June 7 that will decide party nominations for North Carolina’s 13 seats in the United States House of Representatives and possibly a seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. While U.S. House races may have appeared on ballots during yesterday’s primary, they did not reflect the state’s newly drawn congressional districts and were not counted. The filing period for the new congressional districts opened on March 16 and will run until noon on March 25. Candidates for these seats will face off in a primary on June 7 and then the General Election on November 8.

Due to litigation challenging the constitutionality of a bill passed by the General Assembly that established a “retention election” for the State Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Bob Edmunds, the filing period for this race has also been opened during the March 16 – March 25 time period. If that lawsuit is successful and more than one candidate files to run against Justice Edmunds, a judicial primary election may also take place on June 7.


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