Jul 16, 2014

NCGA Week in Review: Special Edition - July 16, 2014


More than 105,000 North Carolina voters cast ballots on Tuesday, July 15th to decide 19 runoff elections across 37 counties. Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the State Board of elections said the “turnout was higher than any second primary over the past decade.” 
After a bitter and long fight for the nomination, Tuesday’s runoff for the 6th Congressional district Republican nomination resulted in a surprising outcome. Greensboro minister Mark Walker defeated Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent. Berger led the original primary, but did not receive the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff, so Walker called for the runoff. 
Berger appeared to have the advantage during the campaign. The son of current NC Senate Leader, President Pro Tempore Phil Berger Sr. outspent Walker $460,000 to $315,000 during the election cycle and in advertising by a six to one margin. Even though Berger had the powerful endorsement of current Congressman Howard Coble (R-NC-6), the advantage of PAC contributions, and independent expenditures spending on his behalf, Berger could not pull out the win. Walker said that in order to win the vote, he focused on grass-roots campaigning and sending a message of “building people before politics.”
The state had one other congressional primary runoff. The 5th Congressional District elected Josh Brannon by a vote of 66 percent to 34 percent, defeating Gardenia Henley. Brannon will face veteran GOP Representative Virginia Foxx in the November general election.
North Carolina only had one state legislative runoff on Tuesday. Shelly Willingham captured the 23rd House district, defeating Rusty Holderness by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. Willingham faces no GOP opposition in November and will be the NC House Representative of Edgecombe and Martin counties, assuming there is no write-in candidate.
District Attorney
In District 10 — Wake County — John Bryant defeated Jeff Cruden 64 percent to 36 percent to win the GOP nomination. Bryant will face Democrat Nancy Freeman in the November general election.
In District 25 — Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties — David Learner defeated Jay Gaither Jr. 62 percent to 38 percent to win the Republication nomination. Learner has no Democratic opposition in November.
Beaufort County — Ernie Coleman won the GOP runoff and will face Democratic runoff victor Al Whitney in November.
Anson County – Landric Reid won the Democratic primary runoff.
Jackson County – Curtis Lambert won the GOP primary runoff.
Orange County – Charles Blackwood won the Democratic primary runoff.
County Commissioner
Avery County – Faye Lacey won the GOP primary runoff.
Randolph County – David Allen won the District 3 GOP primary runoff.
Robeson County – Berlester Campbell won the District 2 Democratic primary runoff.
Union County – Stony Rushing won the GOP primary runoff for an at-large seat.
Clerk of Court
Kim Sigmon won the GOP primary runoff in Catawba County.
Jim Mixson won the GOP primary runoff in Iredell County.
Steve H. Owens won the GOP primary runoff in Rutherford County.
Register of Deeds
Henderson County – Lee King won the GOP primary runoff.
Cleveland County – Tott Griffin won the Democratic runoff for coroner.
The prognosticators were caught off guard Tuesday night when former Baptist minister Mark Walker clobbered Phil Berger Jr. in winning the Republican nomination in the 6th Congressional District.
Walker fanned the flames of resentment of super PAC attack ads run against him and two other Guilford County candidates during April and May, and tied Berger to Washington and Raleigh political insiders wielding outside money.