May 7, 2014
NC Politics in the News: POST-PRIMARY EDITION
Current Speaker of the House Thom Tillis was chosen by Republican voters on Tuesday to be the party’s nomination to take on Senator Kay Hagan in November. With a crowded field of eight candidates vying for the Republican nomination, it was unclear if Speaker Tillis would hit the 40 percent mark he needed in order to avoid a run-off. Ultimately, Speaker Tillis pulled through 45.69 percent of the vote, with Greg Brannon coming in behind him at 27.14 percent and Mark Harris at 17.55 percent.
Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan cruised through her primary, winning 77.16 percent of the vote. She had two opponents in the primary election. Senator Hagan and Speaker Tillis will face off in the General Election on November 4th.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
In Congressional District 2, Republican Representative Renee Ellmers achieved victory after defeating a tea-party favorite, Frank Roche. Rep. Ellmers, a third-term legislator, will face the winner of the still going Democratic primary. American Idol Star Clay Aiken and former Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco are stuck in a race that is too close to call so far. Aiken currently holds 40.83 percent of the vote and Crisco holds 39.54 percent. With less than 400 votes separating them, Aiken has not yet declared victory and Crisco has not yet conceded to Aiken. The winner needs 40 percent in order to avoid a run-off.
In District 6, there will certainly be a run-off in July. Representative Howard Coble, a Republican, is retiring from the House at the end of this year, which caused a lot of interest in the seat. Currently Phil Berger Jr. and Mark Waller are the top two vote-getters, with 34.28 percent and 25.21 percent, respectively. Berger Jr. is the son of current President Pro Tempore of the Senate Phil Berger.
Former NC State Senator David Rouzer cruised to victory in the District 7 Republican primary last night. The seat is currently held by Representative Mike McIntyre, a Democrat. After the announcement of McIntyre retiring after this year, the seat flipped from leaning most-likely Democrat to most-likely Republican. Rouzer will have a General Election in November, too.
After Democrat Mel Watt vacated his District 12 seat last year to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, seven candidates began vying to fill his now vacant seat, as well as run for the next full term that begins in 2015. Current NC State House Representative Alma Adams won both of the races on the ballot, and will fill the current vacant seat as well as be the Democratic nominee on the ticket in November. Two other state legislators, Senator Malcolm Graham and Representative Marcus Brandon, also battled for the congressional seat.
Senator Clark Jenkins, a six-term legislator from Edgecombe County, was the sole Senate incumbent to lose their seat in the primary. Sen. Jenkins fell short to Erica Smith-Ingram, a high-school teacher from Northampton County. Smith-Ingram does not face any opposition in the General Election, so she will more than likely begin her first term in the Senate when the legislature convenes in 2015 for the new biennium.
Seven incumbents that won their primaries last night will join 11 incumbents who did not face any opposition for their 2014 races. Joyce Waddell, a Democrat running for District 40, faces no opposition in November after she won the primary last night. She will join one other candidate who is running for an “open seat” with no opposition. After last night’s results, 20 of 50 Senate seats have now been filled.
N.C. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Three House incumbents lost in primaries last night.
· Representative Robert Brawley, a 10-term legislator who had just come back to the General Assembly in 2013 after serving nine terms in the 1980s and 1990s, lost last night to textiles business owner John Fraley. Rep. Brawley, a Republican, had several public spats with Speaker Tillis in 2013, which may have possibly contributed to Rep. Brawley’s defeat.
· In House District 5, Representative Annie Mobley, a Democrat in her third term, fell to Howard Hunter III. Hunter, a Hertford County Commissioner, will be competing against a Republican in November for the seat that his father once held. The district leans “strongly democratic.”
· A Republican from Davidson, Rep. Roger Younts, lost his bid to his full first term in the N.C. House. After former-Rep. Jerry Dockham resigned last summer, Rep. Roger Younts was appointed to fill out his term. Sam Watford, a Davidson County Commissioner, faces no General Election opposition in November.
Nine House incumbents who won their races last night, have now joined the 44 incumbents who do not have a primary or general race this year. After the primary election, six candidates who were running in an “open seat” or beat an incumbent will also rest easy without a general election race. A total of 59 seats are now filled in the House. There are still 61 seats who will be vying for a win in November.
Please contact the Raleigh McGuireWoods Consulting team if you have any questions or comments:
Harry Kaplan, Senior Vice-President
Jeff Barnhart, Senior Vice-President
Franklin Freeman, Senior Vice-President
John Merritt, Senior Vice-President
Johnny Tillett, Senior Vice-President
Kerri Burke, Vice-President
Bo Heath, Vice-President
Sarah Wolfe, Research Assistant
Katy Feinberg, Strategic Communications