GOP voters reject Cawthorn, Senate duel set between Beasley and Budd, and other results from NC primary

GOP voters reject Cawthorn, Senate duel set between Beasley and Budd, and other results from NC primary




Voters across North Carolina cast ballots in recent weeks and in large numbers on Tuesday, selecting their party standard bearers for contests from county commissioner to U.S. Senate.

The marquee Senate race featured no surprises as Democratic frontrunner Cherie Beasley, who served as North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice before a razor-thin general election loss in 2020, finished well ahead of a crowded field. U.S. Rep. Ted Budd also easily won the Republican nomination over a similarly crowded field in which former Gov. Pat McCrory finished a distant second.

But surprises or remarkable results did take place in races further down the ballot across the state.

In the closely watched race for U.S. House District 11, the westernmost in the state, incumbent and conservative firebrand Madison Cawthorn went down to a narrow defeat by State Sen. Chuck Edwards in the Republican primary.

Cawthorn dominated in the district’s rural counties, but trailed Edwards in metropolitan Buncombe and its suburban areas in Henderson and Transylvania counties. This may have indicated a divide between those who preferred Cawthorn’s brand of outspoken conservatism to the more establishment image of Edwards.

Cawthorn, who has been plagued by scandals and controversial statements this year, had the backing of former President Donald Trump. It appeared that this drove some support for Cawthorn but may have turned other voters against him. Edwards received the endorsement of many of the state’s other well-known Republicans.

Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara easily won the Democratic primary for the seat.

Based on recent history, the district appears likely to lean Republican in the general election.  

While incumbent U.S. Rep. David Rouzer skated to an easy victory in the Republican primary for District 7, stretching from Fayetteville to Wilmington in along the state’s southeastern edge, the Democratic contest to challenge Rouzer proved exceptionally close.

With all precincts reporting late Tuesday, State Sen. Charles Graham held a narrow lead of several hundred votes over Cumberland County Commissioner Charles Evans.  

Congress roundup

In congressional contests across the state, the Election Night results were as follows (in very close races, late-arriving absentee ballots, military votes and provisional ballots, as well as possible recounts, could change the final outcome):

  • District 1 Democrats: State Rep. Don Davis won with 63% of the vote.
  • District 1 Republicans: Sandy Smith leads with 31% of the vote. Smith previously lost in the 2020 general election for this seat to U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-Wilson, who is retiring. According to the News & Observer, Smith blamed that loss on voting machine fraud involving voting machines that are not used in North Carolina.
  • District 2 Democrats: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Deborah Ross was unopposed.
  • District 2 Republicans: Former police officer Christine Villaverde won with 55% of the vote.
  • District 3 Democrats: Nonprofit organization founder Barbara Gaskins won with 80% of the vote.
  • District 3 Republicans: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy won with 76% of the vote.
  • District 4 Democrats: State Sen. Valerie Foushee won with 46% of the vote. Celebrity candidate Clay Aiken finished a distant third with just 7% of the vote.
  • District 4 Republicans: Registered nurse Courtney Geels won with 65% of the vote.
  • District 5 Democrats: IT worker Kyle Parrish was unopposed.
  • District 5 Republicans: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx won with 77% of the vote.
  • District 6 Democrats: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning was unopposed.
  • District 6 Republicans: Army veteran and former Pentagon official Christian Castelli leads with 36% of the vote.
  • District 7 Democrats: State Sen. Charles Graham leads with 31% of the vote.
  • District 7 Republicans: Incumbent U.S. Rep. David Rouzer won with 79% of the vote.
  • District 8 Democrats: Navy veteran and nonprofit founder Scott Huffman was unopposed.
  • District 8 Republicans: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop was unopposed.
  • District 9 Democrats: State Sen. Ben Clark was unopposed.
  • District 9 Republicans: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson won with 79% of the vote.
  • District 10 Democrats: Army veteran and registered nurse Pam Genant won with 77% of the vote.
  • District 10 Republicans: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry won with 68% of the vote.
  • District 11 Democrats: Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach Ferrara won with 60% of the vote.
  • District 11 Republicans: State Sen. Chuck Edwards won with 33% of the vote, defeating incumbent U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn who had 32% of the vote.
  • District 12 Democrats: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Alma Adams won with 92% of the vote.
  • District 12 Republicans: Real estate investor Tyler Lee won with 42% of the vote.
  • District 13 Democrats: State Sen. Wiley Nickel won with 52% of the vote.
  • District 13 Republicans: Former N.C. State football player Bo Hines won with 32% of the vote. Former U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers finished a distant fifth in the crowded field, with just 9% of the vote.
  • District 14 Democrats: State Sen. Jeff Jackson won with 86% of the vote.
  • District 14 Republicans: Army veteran and business owner Pat Harrigan won with 76% of the vote.

Statewide judicial races

North Carolina Republican primary voters had choices in two statewide judicial races, while Democratic candidates for those seats ran unopposed.

In the race for state Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 5, Trey Allen, a UNC School of Government professor and former Marine Corps judge advocate won with 55% of the vote. He will face the Democratic incumbent Justice Sam Ervin IV in November.

In Court of Appeals Republican primaries, incumbent Judge Donna Stroud easily defeated a challenge with 59% of the vote and will face her Democratic opponent, former State Rep. Brad Salmon, in November’s general elections.  Republican District Court Judge Michael Stading won his primary with 71% of the vote and will face the Democratic incumbent, Appeals Court Judge Darren Jackson, in November.

Selected legislative contests

The state saw a number of close legislative primary races, some of which will determine the outcome in November in districts where candidates have no major party opposition or where the district was drawn to heavily favor one party.

In other cases, strong incumbents in favorable districts faced no primary opposition but the opposing party hosted a primary despite slim chances for the winner in November.

With decennial redistricting in play this year, several current legislators were forced to run in new districts. It remains to be seen how some of these candidates will do in the general election if the districts’ political makeup has shifted significantly.

Some of Tuesday’s legislative results follow:

State Senate primaries:

  • Senate District 1 Republicans: Incumbent State Sen. Norman Sanderson won with 55% of the vote.
  • Senate District 3 Democrats: Challenger Valerie Jordan won with 60% of the vote, defeating incumbent State Sen. Ernestine Bazemore.
  • Senate District 4 Democrats: Incumbent State Sen. Toby Fitch won with 54% of the vote.
  • Senate District 4 Republicans: Former State Sen. Buck Newton won with 68% of the vote.
  • Senate District 5 Democrats: State Rep. Kandie Smith won with 86% of the vote.
  • Senate District 10 Republicans: Lawyer Benton Sawrey won with 66% of the vote.
  • Senate District 12 Republicans: Incumbent Sen. Jim Burgin won with 53% of the vote.
  • Senate District 13 Democrats: Lawyer Lisa Grafstein won with 66% of the vote.
  • Senate District 13 Republicans: Businessman David Bankert won with 52% of the vote.
  • Senate District 18 Republicans: Businessman E.C. Sykes won with 85% of the vote.
  • Senate District 19 Democrats: Fayetteville Council member and former Mayor Val Applewhite won with 56% of the vote over incumbent Sen. Kirk DeViere, who finished with 37%. Applewhite benefitted from an unusual endorsement of a primary challenger from Gov. Roy Cooper.  
  • Senate District 19 Republicans: Former state Sen. Wesley Meredith won with 72% of the vote.
  • Senate District 22 Republicans: Army veteran and nonprofit director Larry Coleman won with 68% of the vote.
  • Senate District 23 Democrats: State Rep. Graig Meyer won with 82% of the vote.
  • Senate District 23 Republicans: Businessman Landon Woods won with 58% of the vote.
  • Senate District 30 Republicans: State Sen. Steve Jarvis, who currently represents District 29, won with 66% of the vote.
  • Senate District 36 Republicans: Wilkes County Commissioner Eddie Settle won with 37% of the vote.
  • Senate District 37 Republicans: State Sen. Vickie Sawyer, who currently represents District 34, won with 82% of the vote.  
  • Senate District 42 Republicans: Cardiologist Dr. Cheryl Russo narrowly leads businessman Scott Stone by less than 200 votes.  
  • Senate District 46 Republicans: Incumbent state Sen. Warren Daniel won with 61% of the vote.
  • Senate District 47 Republicans: Incumbent state Sen. Ralph Hise narrowly leads state Sen. Deanna Ballard, who currently represents District 45, by a little more than 300 votes.
  • Senate District 49 Democrats: Incumbent state Sen. Julie Mayfield won with 68% of the vote.

State House primaries:

  • House District 6 Republicans: Joe Pike leads Murray Simpkins by about 75 votes.
  • House District 8 Democrats: Gloristine Brown won with 59% of the vote.
  • House District 13 Republicans: Celeste Cairns won with 55% of the vote.
  • House District 42 Democrats: Incumbent state Rep. Marvin Lucas won with 56% of the vote.
  • House District 43 Democrats: Elmer Floyd won with 60% of the vote.
  • House District 43 Republicans: Incumbent state Rep. Diane Wheatley leads Clarence Goins Jr. by about 120 votes.
  • House District 52 Republicans: State Rep. Ben Moss, who currently represents District 66, won with 53% of the vote over incumbent state Rep. Jamie Boles.
  • House District 63 Republicans: Stephen Ross leads Ed Priola by about 150 votes.
  • House District 66 Democrats: Sarah Crawford leads Wesley Knott by about 130 votes.
  • House District 70 Republicans: Randolph County school board member Brian Biggs won with 52% of the vote over incumbent state Rep. Pat Hurley.
  • House District 71 Democrats: Kanika Brown won with 48% of the vote.
  • House District 83 Republicans: Kevin Crutchfield won with 45% of the vote.
  • House District 89 Republicans: Incumbent state Rep. Mitchell Setzer won with 57% of the vote.
  • House District 103 Democrats: Laura Budd won with 57% of the vote.
  • House District 109 Republicans: Incumbent state Rep. Donnie Loftis, who was appointed to complete the term of a deceased House member, won in his own right with 34% of the vote.
  • House District 112 Democrats: Former state Rep. Tricia Cotham won with 48% of the vote.
  • House District 117 Republicans: Jennifer Capps Balkcom leads Chelsea Walsh by about 140 votes.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story and will be updated with additional results on more contests and updated counts and analysis.



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