State Sen. Valerie Foushee, D-Orange, is the winner of the competitive Democratic primary race in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District. With 157 of 162 precincts reporting, Foushee won with 39,923 or 47% of the vote compared to Nida Allam with 31,320 (37%) and Clay Aiken came in 3rdwith 6,288 votes (7%). Ashley Ward, Richard L. Watkins, Crystal Cavalier, Stephen J. Valentine, and Matt Grooms were also candidates in the Democratic race.
Foushee will face off against Courtney Geels who won the Republican primary over Robert Thomas with 19,175 (65%) to 10.534 (35%) of the votes respectively. The winner in the General Election in November will fill the seat of retiring long-time Democrat incumbent David Price. Price represented the 4th District from 1987 to 1995 and every year since 1997.
Foushee, the first African-American woman to be an Orange County commissioner, was elected to the House in 2012 but was selected by Democrats to fill a vacancy in the Senate caused by the resignation of Sen. Eleanor Kinnaird in 2013. She was reelected in 2014 and has held the office ever since.
The progressive caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party rescinded its support of Foushee last month after she received more than $165,000 from American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has endorsed Republican candidates who objected to the certification of the 2020 Presidential election.
While Foushee advocates for criminal justice reforms, she is a former Chapel Hill Police Department employee. Allam, who once tweeted “F*** the police,” is vague when directly asked about defunding the police but opposed what she calls “consistent increases in police surveillance.”
Allam, a far-left progressive, was elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 2020. She has been touted as the next member of “The Squad”, a group of six far-left progressive Democratic members of the House of Representatives that include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. As she notes repeatedly, Allam is the first Muslim woman elected to public office in North Carolina and bills herself as an “unprecedented progressive.”
She had been endorsed by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I, VT. Other notable endorsements she had received included U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Talib of Michigan, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, local Durham progressives like city councilmembers Jillian Johnson and Javiera Caballero and county commissioner Wendy Jacobs, and left-wing organizers like Carolina Forward and the Durham People’s Alliance.
Allam advocated for government-funded abortions and served as a political director for Sanders campaign in 2020.
In addition to receiving the Squad endorsements, Allam fits in with the group in that she is only 28 years old, and Squad members are about 20 years younger on average than the typical congressperson. In addition, Allam’s platform stated that she is in favor of Medicare for all and the Green New Deal, the two signature parts of the Squad’s policy agenda.
Former American Idol runner-up, Clay Aiken, has been much like his 2003 single “Invisible.” His campaign has been relatively quiet, other than having a website and very few media appearances. He is in his second run to be the first openly gay member of Congress from North Carolina. He first ran for office in 2014.
The 4th District covers Alamance, Orange, Durham, Person, Granville and a small sliver of Caswell counties. With the large liberal populations of Orange and Durham, the district leans very heavily towards the Democrats, despite the more evenly balanced populations of smaller Alamance, Person and Granville counties. The voting analysis shows this is among the least competitive districts in the state under the new maps, with 66% of voters preferring Democrats and only 33% preferring Republicans.