May 9, 2018
2018 North Carolina Primary Election Report
2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting election year. Legislative redistricting and a possible “Blue Wave” have given Democrats hopes of breaking the supermajorities in the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate and hopes of winning a majority in one or both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly. This election year also features a record number of women candidates matching the rise seen nationally.
These two trends already have resulted in an unusual situation in North Carolina – every seat in the General Assembly will feature a competitive election in the fall, with both major parties fielding a candidate in every race. The latest evidence of 2018 being a “change year” came last night, with incumbents facing an unusually tough night and falling to challengers in congressional, legislative, and local primaries throughout the state.
N.C. Primary Election Highlights
Below are notable outcomes from yesterday’s primary elections.
U.S. House of Representatives
NC-9 – In one of the state’s most competitive primaries, incumbent Congressman Robert Pittenger was upset by Rev. Mark Harris in the Republican primary, a reversal of the 2016 primary. Harris will face a well-funded Democrat, Dan McCreedy, in the general election.
NC-3 – Rep. Walter Jones defeated two primary challengers and is almost certain to retain his seat as he faces no general election challenger. Jones has announced this will be his final term in office.
NC-2 – Republican Rep. George Holding and Democrat Linda Coleman each easily won their primary bids and will face off in the general election.
North Carolina General Assembly
A number of veteran lawmakers already have gotten notice that they will not be returning to the General Assembly in 2019. In two races, this result was inevitable where redistricting left incumbent legislators double-bunked.
- Senate District 31 – Sen. Joyce Krawiec appears to have edged out a win over Sen. Dan Barrett – beating him by less than 2 points in the Republican primary.
- Senate District 45 – Sen. Deanna Ballard beat out Sen. Shirley Randleman in the Republican primary.
A number of incumbent legislators also lost primaries to challengers. These legislators are:
- Sen Joel Ford (Senate District 38 Democratic primary)
- Sen. David Curtis (Senate District 44 Republican primary)
- Rep. Beverly Boswell (House District 6 Republican primary)
- Rep. Duane Hall (House District 11 Democratic primary)
- Rep. Justin Burr (House District 67 Republican primary)
- Rep. Rodney Moore (House District 99 Democratic primary)
In the Charlotte region, incumbent Dan Bishop handily won his Republican primary election, which was billed as a referendum on HB2. He likely will face Chad Stachowicz in the general election, who narrowly gained the Democratic nomination by six votes.
In addition, Republican Bob Rucho, who was attempting to make a return to the state Senate representing Iredell and Yadkin Counties in the newly redrawn 34th District, lost his primary bid to Vickie Sawyer, a party leader and planning board member for Iredell County.
In the Raleigh area, Wiley Nickel defeated Luis Toledo by 10 percentage points in the Senate District 16 Democratic primary. The newly drawn district, centered in western Wake County, has no incumbent and is strongly Democratic.
In the House District 11 Democratic primary, Rep. Duane Hall lost to newcomer Allison Dahle. Rep. Hall had faced calls to resign from Democratic party leaders in the wake of allegations of sexual impropriety.
Mecklenburg District Attorney – Spencer Merriweather defended his seat in his first election and will not face a Republican opponent in November. Merriweather was appointed to the post last year when former DA Andrew Murray was nominated U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina
Board of County Commissioners – Unlike Charlotte city council races last year, the county commission will not be experiencing an influx of younger candidates in November. Incumbents on the ballot held their seats, including Vilma Leake (District 2) and George Dunlap (District 3). Neither Democrat will face a general election opponent.
- At-Large – All three incumbents – Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller, and Ella Scarborough – emerged victorious from a crowded Democratic field. They will face only one Republican challenger in November and are likely to retain their seats.
- District 4 – An open seat race attracted three Democrats. Mark Jerrell won the race and will not face a general election challenger.
County Sheriff – Former CMPD detective Garry McFadden unseated incumbent Sheriff Irwin Carmichael, who finished third in the Democratic primary. There is no Republican candidate on the ballot, so McFadden is set to become the county’s next Sheriff.
Board of County Commissioners – In the Democratic primaries for county commissioner, incumbents Erv Portman and John Burns lost to Susan Evans and Vickie Adamson, respectively. Incumbents Sig Hutchinson, Matt Calabria, and James West each held off challengers in their races.
Primary Election News Clips
- Challenger Mark Harris stuns U.S. Rep. Pittenger of NC in GOP primary upset (Charlotte Observer)
- Walter Jones set for final term in Congress; Coleman wins Democratic primary to face Holding (McClatchy)
- These five NC Republicans won’t get another term in the legislature (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Former Sen. Bob Rucho loses his bid to return to NC General Assembly (NC Insider)
- Charlotte politics will have plenty of new faces. Incumbents fall in multiple local primary races (Charlotte Agenda)
- Spencer Merriweather Wins Race For Mecklenburg District Attorney (WFAE)
- 2 incumbent Democrats lose, 3 win in heated Wake County commissioner races (Raleigh News & Observer)