North Carolina’s primary election took place yesterday, May 17, for numerous federal, state, and local offices. Thanks to new congressional, state Senate, and state House maps, many North Carolinians were voting in new districts, and some incumbent state legislators found themselves “double-bunked,” or running against other currently serving colleagues.
While the election results have yet to be certified, here are some preliminary results of note:
In the race for the open U.S. Senate seat currently held by departing Senator Richard Burr, former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley won the Democratic primary, taking over 80% of the vote. In the Republican primary, Congressman Ted Budd, former Governor Pat McCrory, former Congressman Mark Walker, and eight other candidates faced off. Budd, who had received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, won the primary with 58% of the vote. Budd and Beasley will face each other in the fall general election in what is likely to be one of the most expensive races in the country, as Republicans fight to regain a majority in the U.S. Senate.
Primaries took place in 13 of North Carolina’s 14 newly redrawn U.S. House districts. One particular race of note was the Republican primary for NC’s 11th District, where incumbent Congressman Madison Cawthorn faced State Senator Chuck Edwards and six other GOP candidates. Under heavy criticism for various actions and statements in recent months, Cawthorn now trails Edwards by just over 1,300 votes, in unofficial results. If these results stand, Edwards, who has served in the NC Senate since 2016, will face Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara in the general election.
Another close race was the Republican primary for NC’s 13th District, where Bo Hines, a 26-year-old political newcomer and Trump-backed candidate, won with 32% of the vote. Hines, who played college football for the NC State Wolfpack, beat out seven other candidates, including former Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. He will face Democratic State Senator Wiley Nickel in the general election. Nickel bested four other challengers to win the Democratic primary with almost 52% of the vote.
Numerous judicial races had primaries yesterday as well, the most notable of which was the Republican primary for N.C. Supreme Court. Trey Allen, an attorney and General Counsel for the NC Administrative Office of the Courts, captured just over 55% of the vote and defeated GOP challengers Court of Appeals Judge April Wood and Victoria Prince. Allen will face incumbent N.C. Supreme Court Justice Sam Ervin in the general election.
A second open seat on the N.C. Supreme Court is being contested by State Court of Appeals judges Richard Dietz, a Republican, and Lucy Inman, a Democrat. There was no primary election for this race. The N.C. Supreme Court currently has a 4-3 Democrat majority, so if the GOP wins either of these races, the court will flip to a Republican majority.
Two State Court of Appeals races were also on the GOP primary ballot. Chief Court of Appeals Judge Donna Stroud held off a challenge by District Court Judge Beth Freshwater Smith. Michael Stading also defeated Charlton Allen for another seat on the Court of Appeals. Stroud faces former Democratic state legislator Brad Salmon in the general election, and Stading faces former State House Minority Leader and current Democratic State Court of Appeals Judge Darren Jackson.
Thanks to new State Senate maps, some sitting legislators found themselves “double-bunked” and having to run against another incumbent member in the primary. One such race was the Republican primary for State Senate District 47, where Senator Ralph Hise faced fellow GOP Senator Deanna Ballard. According to unofficial results, Senator Hise narrowly edged out Senator Ballard by just under 400 votes.
Similarly, in State Senate District 1, GOP Senator Norman Sanderson bested fellow GOP Senator Bob Steinburg by a 2,500-vote margin with 55% of the vote.
On the Democratic side in State Senate District 19, incumbent Senator Kirk DeViere lost to challenger Val Applewhite by 20 percentage points. In a rare and surprising move in March, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper endorsed Applewhite over DeViere in this race.
Additionally, incumbent Senator Ernestine Bazemore was defeated in the State Senate District 3 Democratic primary by challenger Valerie Jordan, who took close to 60% of the vote.
Finally, in State House primaries, numerous races were decided by just of a handful of votes. In other instances of double-bunking due to newly drawn districts, incumbent Representatives Ben Moss and Jamie Boles ran against each other in the GOP primary for House District 52. Moss, a one-term representative, defeated Boles, a seven-term representative, with 53% of the vote. In House District 113, one-term GOP incumbent Representative Jake Johnson handily defeated three-term GOP incumbent David Rogers.
Also, incumbent House member Pat Hurley was defeated by challenger Brian Biggs in the Republican primary for State House District 70.
With the primary election concluded, NC Family will now begin surveying all North Carolina candidates running for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and the entire state legislature for our General Election Voter Guide.
For more information about our Voter Guides, or to pre-order your General Election Voter Guides in bulk today, visit our Voter Guide Order Page.