north carolina flag close up
May 20, 2022

2022 NC Primary Roundup

North Carolina’s primary election day was May 17, 2022. Many of the results were expected, with some exceptions, including a few current incumbent legislators losing their primaries, a handful of current and former legislators squeaking out victories, and a major upset in a Congressional race. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the high turnout relative to recent mid-term primary elections. Before the polls even opened Tuesday, this year's primary mid-term turnout was higher than the last comparable race in 2014. Nearly 8% of registered voters voted early compared to about 3% in 2014. Democratic turnout increased by 12% from 2018 to 2022, but Republican turnout increased by nearly 44%. According to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, the May 17 primary saw the most voters ever in a mid-term primary in North Carolina.

At the top of the ticket on both party’s ballots were the U.S. Senate races. On the Democratic side, former Chief Justice Cheri Beasley won every county and easily won her party’s nomination. On the Republican side, Rep. Ted Budd of Davie County prevailed over former Gov. Pat McCrory, winning every county except McCrory’s home of Mecklenburg County, where he previously served as Mayor of Charlotte. Beasley and Budd will face each other in what is expected to be one of the most expensive Senate elections in the country.

For a complete list of election results, use the interactive tool at the NC State Board of Elections website.

Potential Runoffs and Recounts

Wake County Sheriff: While the results are still technically unofficial until all provisional ballots are counted and the election is certified by the board of elections, it appears that runoffs and automatic recounts were mostly avoided. In North Carolina, the two highest performing candidates in a race advance to a runoff if neither candidate secures at least 30% of the total vote. The most newsworthy runoff will likely occur in the Wake County Sheriff’s primary where incumbent Democrat Sheriff Gerald Baker came in second place with 24.11% to the first-place winner Willie Rowe, who only secured 29.45%. If after certification neither candidate rises above the 30% threshold, Baker can request a runoff election, which would be held July 26.

House District 115: Most of the Congressional and state legislative races were outside the margin for recounts or runoffs, with the exception of one so far. In the race to replace retiring Rep. John Ager (D-Buncombe), there will be an automatic recount in the Republican primary where Pratik Bhakta earned just seven more votes than his opponent Sherry M. Higgins. In North Carolina, if the difference between candidates is less than or equal to 1%, an automatic recount is conducted. In that district, House District 115, the margin in the Republican primary was 0.10%.

Upsets

Congressional District 11 (Republican) — National eyes were on Western North Carolina’s District 11 with the election of incumbent Madison Cawthorn facing state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson). In a surprise upset, Edwards defeated Cawthorn by nearly 1,500 votes, likely becoming the next Congressman for the district.

NC House District 52 (Republican) — Richmond County freshman Rep. Ben Moss beat long-time Moore County Rep. Jamie Boles.

NC House District 70 (Republican) — Randolph County Board of Education member Brian Biggs overcame incumbent Rep. Pat B. Hurley.

NC House District 113 (Republican) — Polk County Rep. Jake Johnson defeated Rutherford County Rep. David Rogers.

NC Senate District 1 (Republican) — Pamlico County Sen. Norman Sanderson beat Chowan County Sen. Bob Steinburg in this newly configured eastern North Carolina seat.

NC Senate District 3 (Democrat) — North Carolina Department of Transportation Board Member and business owner Valerie Jordan, of Warren County, prevailed over incumbent Sen. Ernestine Bazemore of Bertie County. This will be a race to watch, as Jordan will face state House Rep. Bobby Hanig, R-Currituck, in this competitive district.

NC Senate District 4 (Democrat) — Current Sen. Toby Fitch, of Wilson County, beat Rep. Raymond Smith, of Wayne County, to advance to the general election. This will be a race to watch, as Fitch will face former Sen. Buck Newton in this Republican leaning district.

NC Senate District 19 (Democrat) — Perhaps one of the most watched races of the night was the matchup of two Cumberland County candidates. Challenger Val Applewhite, who was endorsed by Gov. Roy Cooper (D), defeated incumbent Kirk DeViere. Applewhite will go on to face former Sen. Wesley Meredith in a potentially competitive district.

NC Senate District 47 (Republican) — Another closely watched race was in the mountains with two incumbents facing each other. Ultimately, incumbent Sen. Ralph Hise, of Mitchell County, overcame Sen. Deanna Ballard, of Watauga County.

Legislative Races to Watch

Following the May 17 primary, these are key races to watch that could determine the partisan composition of the General Assembly. These are only the races impacted by the primary results.

NC House 43 — Former Democratic Rep. Elmer Floyd, of Cumberland, won his primary over the individual that defeated him in the 2020 primary. Floyd will face incumbent freshman Republican Rep. Diane Wheatley, a former Cumberland County Commissioner, in this district that leans slightly Republican.

NC House 47 — With incumbent Rep. Charles Graham (D-Robeson) seeking election to one of North Carolina’s U.S. House seats, former Fairmont Mayor Charles Townsend will be the Democratic nominee in this slightly Democratic leaning district. However, Republican Jarrod Lowery, brother of the Lumbee Tribe’s Chairman, is expected to outperform expectations.

NC House 63 — In 2020, incumbent Democratic Rep. Ricky Hurtado, of Alamance County, beat then-incumbent Republican Stephen Ross in a close, and very expensive race. Ross is running again this year, and won his primary, setting up a rematch for this Burlington-based district.

NC Senate 18 — Incumbent Sen. Sarah Crawford (D-Wake) declined to run for re-election and instead opted to run for the state House. Following former Republican Secretary of State nominee, E.C. Syke’s victory in the Republican primary, he will face Democrat Mary Willis Bode in this competitive northern Wake and Granville County Senate district.

NC Senate 42 — State House Rep. Rachel Hunt (D-Mecklenburg), daughter of former Gov. Jim Hunt, is running for Senate in this suburban Charlotte seat. Republican Cheryl Russo, a cardiologist, won her primary and will face Hunt in this Democrat-leaning district.

Congressional Races to Watch

Congressional District 1 — In the seat to replace the retiring Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Sen. Don Davis, D-Pitt, comfortably won the Democratic primary over former state Sen. Erica Smith. Davis will face Trump endorsed Republican Sandy Smith, who defeated Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson. This is a Democratic leaning seat, but could be competitive in November.

Congressional District 13 — This newly drawn open congressional seat, which includes southern Wake County and surrounding exurban counties is expected to be the most competitive in the state. State Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Wake) handily won his primary, and will face 26-year-old Bo Hines, the Trump endorsed candidate who won his contentious Republican primary in the fall.

The Numbers

Below are the totals of the May 17 primary races. A comprehensive list of the candidates heading into the general election this fall can be found here.

US Senate

Republican:

  • Ted Budd (58.63%)
  • Pat McCrory (24.59%)
  • Mark Walker (9.23%)
  • Marjorie K. Eastman (2.94%)

Democrat:

  • Cheri Beasley (81.12%)

US House of Representatives

District 1

Republican:

  • Sandy Smith (31.40%)
  • Sandy Roberson (26.75%)
  • Billy Strickland (13.93%)

Democrat:

  • Don Davis (63.18%)
  • Erica D. Smith (31.08%)
  • Jason Spriggs (3.14%)

District 2

Republican:

  • Christine Villaverde (55.16%)
  • Max Ganorkar (25.60%)

Democrat:

  • Incumbent Deborah Ross

District 3

Republican:

  • Incumbent US Rep. Greg Murphy (75.72%)
  • Tony Cowden (14.11%)

Democrat:

  • Barbara Gaskins (80.43%)
  • Joe Swatz (19.57%)

District 4

Republican:

  • Courtney Geels (64.59%)
  • Robert Thomas (35.41%)

Democrat:

  • State Senator Valerie Foushee (46.15%)
  • Nida Allam (36.92%)
  • Clay Aiken (7.37%)

District 5

Republican:

  • Incumbent US Rep. Virginia Foxx (76.60%)
  • Michael Akerman (23.40%)

Democrat:

  • Kyle Parrish

District 6

Republican:

  • Christian Castelli (36.20%)
  • Lee Haywood (33.73%)

Democrat:

  • Incumbent US Rep. Kathy Manning

District 7

Republican:

  • Incumbent US Rep. David Rouzer (79.21%)
  • Max Beckwith (20.79%)

Democrat:

  • State Rep. Charles Graham (31.22%)
  • Charles Evans (29.39%)
  • Steve Miller (23.27%)

District 8

Republican:

  • Incumbent US Rep. Dan Bishop

Democrat:

  • Scott Huffman

District 9

Republican:

  • Incumbent US Rep. Richard Hudson (79.24%)
  • Jen Bucardo (8.67%)

Democrat:

  • State Senator Ben Clark

District 10

Republican:

  • Incumbent US Rep. Patrick McHenry (68.09%)
  • Gary Robinson (15.93%)

Democrat:

  • Pam Genant (77.43%)
  • Michael Felder (22.57%)

District 11

Republican:

  • State Senator Chuck Edwards (33.40%)
  • Incumbent US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (31.90%)

Democrat:

  • Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (59.61%)
  • Katie Dean (25.70%)

District 12

Republican:

  • Tyler Lee (42.85%)
  • Andrew Huffman (34.30%)

Democrat:

  • Incumbent US Rep. Alma Adams (91.64%)
  • John Sharkey (8.36%)

District 13

Republican:

  • Bo Hines (32.08%)
  • DeVan Barbour (22.68%)
  • Kelly Daughtry (16.95%)
  • Kent Keirsey (11.33%)

Democrat:

  • State Senator Wiley Nickel (51.68%)
  • Sam Searcy (22.97%)

District 13

Republican:

  • Pat Harrigan (75.67%)
  • Jonathan Simpson (24.33%)

Democrat:

  • State Senator Jeff Jackson (86.16%)
  • Ram Mammadov (13.84%)

NC State Senate

Senate District 01

Republican:

  • Sen. Norman Sanderson (55.51%)
  • Sen. Bob Steinburg (44.49%)

Senate District 03

Democrat:

  • Valerie Jordan (59.71%)
  • Incumbent Sen. Ernestine Bazemore (40.29%)

Senate District 04

Democrat:

  • Sen. Toby Fitch (54.40%)
  • Rep. Raymond Smith (45.60%)

Republican:

  • Buck Newton (67.57%)
  • Joe Democko (32.43%)

Senate District 05

Republican:

  • Rep. Kandie Smith (86.55%)
  • Lenton Brown (13.45%)

Senate District 10

Republican:

  • Benton Sawrey (65.61%)
  • Jill Homan (19.85%)
  • Matt Ansley (14.54%)

Senate District 12

Republican:

  • Sen. Jim Burgin (52.80%)
  • David Buboltz (36.55%)
  • Ernie Watson (10.64%)

Senate District 13

Democrat:

  • Lisa Grafstein (66.47%)
  • Patrick Buffkin (33.53%)

Republican:

  • David Bankert (52.25%)
  • Jeff Werner (47.75%)

Senate District 18

Republican:

  • E.C. Sykes (84.91%)
  • Dimitry Slabyak (15.09%)

Senate District 19

Democrat

  • Val Applewhite (56.29%)
  • Sen. Kirk DeViere (36.80%)

Republican:

  • Wesley Meredith (72.39%)
  • Dennis Britt (27.61%)

Senate District 22

Republican:

  • Larry Coleman (68.48%)
  • John Tarantino (31.52%)

Senate District 23

Democrat:

  • Rep. Graig Meyer (82.36%)
  • Jamie DeMent Holcomb (17.64%)

Republican:

  • Landon Woods (58.23%)
  • Bill Cooke (41.77%)

Senate District 30

Republican:

  • Sen. Steve Jarvis (65.70%)
  • Eddie Gallimore (34.30%)

Senate District 36

Republican:

  • Eddie Settle (37.27%)
  • Shirley Randleman (31.91%)
  • Rep. Lee Zachary (17.50%)

Senate District 37

Republican:

  • Sen. Vickie Sawyer (82.39%)
  • Tom Fyler (17.61%)

Senate District 42

Republican:

  • Cheryl Russo (50.59%)
  • Scott Stone (49.41%)

Senate District 46

Republican:

  • Sen. Warren Daniel (61.35%)
  • Mark Crawford (38.65%)

Senate District 47

Republican:

  • Sen. Ralph Hise (50.73%)
  • Sen. Deanna Ballard (49.27%)

Senate District 49

Democrat:

  • Sen. Julie Mayfield (68.27%)
  • Sandra Kilgore (20.71%)
  • Taylon Breeden (11.03%)

NC House of Representatives

House District 05

Republican:

  • Bill Ward (68.33%)
  • Donald Kirkland (31.67%)

House District 06

Republican:

  • Joe Pike (51.07%)
  • Murray Simpkins (49.92%)

House District 08

Democrat:

  • Gloristine Brown (58.93%)
  • Sharon McDonald Evans (41.07%)

House District 09

Republican:

  • Timothy Reeder (57.90%)
  • Tony P. Moore (42.10%)

House District 13

Republican:

  • Celeste Cairns (54.91%)
  • Pete Benton (34.86%)
  • Eden Gordon Hill (10.23%)

House District 14

Democrat:

  • Ike Johnson (81.57%)
  • Eric Whitfield (17.43%)

House District 17

Democrat:

  • Eric Terashima (70.78%)
  • Edward McKeithan (29.22%)

House District 25

Republican:

  • Allen Chesser (49.67%)
  • Yvonne McLeod (45.55%)

House District 26

Republican:

  • Rep. Donna McDowell White (65.80%)
  • Rick Walker (34.20%)

House District 27

Democrat:

  • Rep. Michael H. Wray (79.00%)
  • Jerry McDaniel (21.00%) 

House District 28

Republican

  • Rep. Larry Strickland (83.51%)
  • Jim Davenport (16.49%)

House District 33

Democrat:

  • Rep. Rosa Gill (86.13%)
  • Nate Blanton (13.87%)

House District 34

Republican:

  • Ashley Seshul (70.73%)
  • Joshua Jordan (29.27%)

House District 35

Republican:

  • Fred Von Canon (79.46%)
  • Brandon Panameno (20.54%)

House District 37

Democrat:

  • Christine Kelly (38.54%)
  • Elizabeth Parent (37.26%)
  • Mary Bethel (24.20%)

House District 40

Democrat:

  • Rep. Joe John (74.18%)
  • Marguerite Creel (25.82%)

House District 42

Democrat:

  • Rep. Marvin Lucas (55.78%)
  • Naveed Aziz (44.22%)

House District 36

Republican:

  • Kim Coley (56.11%)
  • Gil Pagan (43.89%)

House District 37

Republican:

  • Erin Pare (59.27%)
  • Jeff Moore (21.79%)
  • Anna Powell (18.93%)

House District 43

Republican:

  • Rep. Diane Wheatley (51.34%)
  • Clarence Wilson Goins, Jr. (48.66%)

Democrat:

  • Elmer Floyd (59.99%)
  • Kimberly Hardy (35.96%) 

House District 44

Democrat:

  • Charles Smith (61.74%)
  • Terry Johnson (38.26%)

House District 45

Democrat:

  • Frances Vinell Jackson (52.35%)
  • Chris Davis (41.18%)
  • Keith Byrd (6.47%)

House District 47

Republican:

  • Jarrod Lowery (70.15%)
  • Mickey Biggs (29.85%)

Democrat:

  • Charles Townsend (63.90%)
  • Aminah Ghaffar (36.10%)

House District 50

Democrat:

  • Renee Price (72.00%)
  • Matt Hughes (28.00%)

House District 52

Republican:

  • Rep. Ben Moss (53.36%)
  • Rep. Jamie Boles (46.64%)

House District 53

Republican:

  • Rep. Howard Penny (63.39%)
  • Brian Hawley (36.61%)

House District 54

Republican:

  • Walter Petty (64.26%)
  • Craig Kinsey (35.74%)

House District 55

Republican:

  • Rep. Mark Brody (84.65%)
  • Brandon Smith (15.35%)

House District 56

Democrat:

  • Allen Buansi (51.46%)
  • Jonah Garson (48.54%)

House District 59

Democrat:

  • Sherrie Young (74.48%)
  • Eddie Aday (25.52%)

House District 63

Republican:

  • Stephen. Ross (49.79%)
  • Ed Priola (46.31%)
  • Peter Boykin (3.90%)

House District 65

Republican:

  • Rep. Reece Pyrtle (79.86%)
  • Joseph A. Gibson III (20.14%)

Democrat:

  • Jay Donecker (69.33%)
  • Gary L. Smith (30.67%)

House District 66

Democrat:

  • Sen. Sarah Crawford (47.20%)
  • Wesley Knott (45.17%)
  • Jeremiah Pierce (7.63%)

House District 70

Republican:

  • Brian Biggs (52.26%)
  • Rep. Pat B. Hurley (47.74%) 

House District 71

Democrat:

  • Kanika Brown (47.81%)
  • Frederick N. Terry (38.31%)
  • David M. Moore (13.88%)

House District 73

Republican:

  • Brian Echevarria (57.49%)
  • Catherine Whiteford (22.39%)
  • Parish Moffitt (20.11%)

House District 74:

Democrat:

  • Carla Catalan Day (68.56%)
  • Sean Lew (31.44%)

House District 78

Republican:

  • Neal Jackson (67.15%)
  • David Ashley (17.36%)
  • Cory Bortreee (15.48%) 

House District 79:

Republican:

  • Rep. Keith Kidwell (83.27%)
  • Ed Hege (16.73%)

House District 83:

Republican:

  • Kevin Crutchfield (45.09%)
  • Brad Jenkins (32.36%)
  • Grayson Haff (22.55%)

House District 89:

Republican:

  • Rep. Mitchell Smith Setzer (57.18%)
  • Kelli Weaver Moore (31.27%)
  • Benjamin Devine (11.56%)

House District 90:

Republican:

  • Rep. Sarah Stevens (74.42%)
  • Benjamin Romans (27.58%)

House District 91:

Republican:

  • Rep. Kyle Hall (82.99%)
  • James Douglas (10.45%)
  • Stephen L. James (6.56%)

House District 103:

Democrat:

  • Laura Budd (56.93%)
  • Ann Harlan (43.07%)

House District 107:

Democrat:

  • Rep. Kelly Alexander (83.52%)
  • Vermanno Bowman (16.48%)

House District 109:

Republican:

  • Rep. Donnie Loftis (33.61%)
  • John Gouch (23.07%)
  • Ronnie Worley (22.21%)
  • Lauren Bumgardner Current (21.11%)

House District 112:

Democrat:

  • Tricia Cotham (47.74%)
  • Yolanda Holmes (31.29%)
  • Jay Holman (17.13%)

House District 113:

Republican:

  • Rep. Jake Johnson (65.03%)
  • Rep. David Rogers (34.97%)

House District 115:

Republican:

  • Pratik Bhakta (50.06%)
  • Sherry M. Higgins (49.94%)

House District 117:

Republican:

  • Jennifer Capps Balkcom (42.53%)
  • Chelsea Walsh (41.44%)
  • Dennis Justice (16.03%)