News: CJ Exclusives

Tillis, Hagan Will Meet in November Senate Showdown

Justice Hudson fends off Republican challenge but will face Levinson in November

Editor’s note: The vote counts were updated Wednesday morning using information available as of 10:55 a.m. from the State Board of Elections.

RALEIGH — In a state primary race with national implications, House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, defeated seven other candidates and won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by freshman Democrat Kay Hagan. And in a contest that drew more than $1 million in independent expenditures in recent weeks, Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson, a Democrat, was able to survive a challenge from Republicans Eric Levinson and Jeanette Doran and will face Levinson in the general election.

Tillis won 46 percent of the vote, surpassing the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a July 15 runoff. Dr. Greg Brannon, a Cary obstetrician, finished second with 27 percent. Charlotte pastor Mark Harris finished third with 18 percent. The remaining five candidates split the remaining nine percent of the votes.

Brannon and Harris congratulated Tillis Tuesday night, urging unity against Hagan. Just after 10:00 p.m. on his Facebook page, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who had endorsed Brannon and made several appearances on his behalf, also congratulated Tillis and said he “look[s] forward to working with him” in the Senate.

National political observers see North Carolina’s results in November as a key to determining the partisan balance in the Senate. Hagan, who won her party’s nomination easily over two opponents, may need to hold her seat to prevent Republicans from taking control of the upper chamber.

In the Libertarian primary, Sean Haugh defeated Tim D’Annunzio, 61 percent to 39 percent.

Supreme Court

In an ostensibly nonpartisan contest pitting a Democratic incumbent against two Republican challengers, Justice Robin Hudson won 43 percent of the vote. Former appeals court Judge Eric Levinson got 37 percent and will face Hudson in the Nov. 4 general election. Raleigh attorney Jeanette Doran, another Republican, won 21 percent. Republicans currently hold a 4-3 majority on the state Supreme Court, and are certain to add a seat as Democratic Chief Justice Sarah Parker is retiring and two Republicans — Associate Justice Mark Martin and Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis — are running for the top spot on the court.

Congress

U.S. House District 1

• Arthur Rich won the Republican primary with 51 percent of the ballots cast. Brent Shypulefski had 49 percent.

• Incumbent G.K. Butterfield, who has represented the district since winning a special election in July 2004, won the Democratic primary, with 59,496 votes, or 81 percent of the ballots cast. Runner-up Dan Whittacre had 13,640 votes.

U.S. House District 2

• Two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers won the Republican nomination with 21,358 votes, or 59 percent of the ballots cast. Frank Roche received 14,989 votes.

• Political newcomer and entertainment personality Clay Aiken avoided a runoff for the Democratic nomination with 11,634 votes, or just over 40 percent of the ballots cast. Former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco got 39.5 percent of the votes (11,265), and Democratic Party activist Toni Morris received 20 percent percent (5,593). At press time, Crisco’s campaign said it would wait for the initial ballot count to end before deciding whether to ask for a recount.

U.S. House District 3

• Ten-term incumbent Walter Jones appeared to win the Republican primary, and if so will face Democrat Marshall Adame, who had no primary opposition, in the Nov. 4 general election. Jones received 22,534 votes, or 50.91 percent. Taylor Griffin received 19,937 votes, or 45.05 percent of the ballots cast. Al Novinec got 1,788 votes, or 4.04 percent.

U.S. House District 5

• Five-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx easily outdistanced Philip Doyle for the Republican nomination, getting 49.371 votes, or 75.42 percent of the ballots cast. Doyle received 24.58 percent, or 16,091 votes.

• Democrats Joshua Brannon and Gardenia Henley will be in a July 15 runoff for their party’s nomination since none of the four candidates received 40 percent of the vote. Brannon received 7,972 votes, or 33.03 percent, while Henley got 6,386 votes, or 26.46 percent. Also running were Michael Holleman, 23.18 percent (5,394), and Will Stinson, 17.32 percent (4,180).

U.S. House District 6

• Phil Berger Jr. and Mark Walker will be in a July 15 runoff since neither won 40 percent of the vote in their Republican primary. They seek to succeed 15-term U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, who is retiring at the end of his present term. Berger received 15,083 votes, or 34.28 percent, to 11,094 votes, or 25.21 percent, for Walker. There were seven other candidates in the race. Bruce VonCannon received 11.46 percent of the ballots cast (5,041); Zack Matheny, 11.44 percent (5,034); Jeff Phillips, 7.91 percent (3,481); Don Webb, 4.30 percent (1,890); Mike Causey, 3.23 percent (1,431); Kenn Kopf, 1.15 percent (504); and Charlie Sutherland, 1.03 percent (454).

• Laura Fjeld won the Democratic nomination with 18,989 votes, or 56.14 percent, versus Bruce Davis, who received 14,833 votes, or 43.86 percent.

U.S. House District 7

• David Rouzer won the Republican nomination with 22,923 votes, or 52.99 percent of the ballots cast in the district that had been represented by nine-term Democrat Mike McIntyre, who did not seek re-election. Runner-up Woody White received 40.09 percent (17,341), and Chris Andrade got 6.92 percent (2,992).

• Jonathan Barfield Jr. won the Democratic nomination with 21,868 votes, or 58.31 percent of the ballots cast. Walter Martin Jr. received 41.69 percent, or 15,632 votes.

U.S. House District 9

• First-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger retained his seat for a second term with 29,466 votes, or 67.6 percent of the ballots cast in the Republican primary. He defeated challenger Michael Steinberg, who had 14,119 votes, or 32.4 percent of the ballots cast. No Democrats filed to run in the primary.

U.S. House District 10

• Five-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry defeated Richard Lynch in the Republican primary, and will face Democrat Tate McQueen, who had no primary opposition, in the Nov. 4 general election. McHenry received 29,336 votes, or 78.05 percent of the ballots cast. Lynch had 21.95 percent, or 8,249 votes.

U.S. House District 11

• Tom Hill won the Democratic nomination with 16,644 votes, or 53.97 percent of the ballots cast. Keith Ruehl got 46.03 percent, or 14,193 votes. Hill will face first-term Republican incumbent Mark Meadows in the Nov. 4 general election. Meadows had no primary opposition,

U.S. House District 12 (Unexpired term)

• Alma Adams appears to have won the Democratic special election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, who vacated his seat to take a position leading the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Adams received 14,927 votes, or 44.2 percent of the ballots cast. Finishing behind her were Malcolm Graham, 22.15 percent (7,482); George Battle, 13.10 percent (4,426); Marcus Brandon, 8.81 percent (2,974); James Mitchell, 6.02 percent (2,032); Curtis Osborne, 5.73 percent (1,934).

U.S. House District 12

• Vince Coakley won the Republican nomination with 8,630 votes, or 78.02 percent of the ballots cast, in his bid to succeed GOP runner-up Leon Threatt got 2,431 votes, or 21.98 percent.

• Alma Adams appears to be the Democratic nominee out of a seven-candidate field. She received 15,199 votes, or 43.99 percent of the ballots cast. Finishing behind her were Malcolm Graham, 23.64 percent (8,169); George Battle, 12.55 percent (4,335); Marcus Brandon, 8.23 percent (2,842); James Mitchell, 5.13 percent (1,772); Curtis Osborne, 5.01 percent (1,732); and Rajive Patel, 1.45 percent (500).

U.S. House District 13

• Brenda Cleary won a three-way Democratic primary and will face first-term Republican incumbent George Holding in the Nov. 4 general election. Holding had no primary opposition. Cleary received 24,323 votes, or 70.34 percent of the ballots cast. Virginia Conlon got 18.03 percent (6,236), and Arunava Sanyal received 11.762 percent (4,019).

General Assembly

Most incumbents in the General Assembly fared well as they faced voters from their own party for the first time since the historic 2013 session.

A couple of exceptions were Sen. Clark Jenkins, D-Edgecombe, and Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, who trailed challengers as vote totals came in.

Jenkins, a six-term senator, trailed Erica Smith-Ingraham 49 percent to 40 percent in the Senate District 3 primary.

Unofficial returns show Brawley, a vocal critic of Tillis, trailing his challenger, John Fraley, 51 percent to 49 percent with all 11 precincts reporting in the House District 95 GOP primary. The margin was just 105 votes. In District 80, Rep. Roger Younts, R- Davidson, lost to Sam Watford 55 percent to 45 percent.

In all three races, the primary winners face no major party opposition in November. Barring a successful write-in or unaffiliated campaign, they will win the general election.

Rep. Annie Mobley, D-Hertford, fell to Howard Hunter III in the Democratic primary in House District 5. Mobley originally was appointed to the House seat in 2007 when Hunter’s father, Rep. Howard Hunter Jr., died.

In other legislative races:

• In Republican Senate primaries where the winner faces no Democratic opposition, Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, won District 33; Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, won District 36; Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, led in District 39; and Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, led in District 47.

• In other Democratic Senate primaries where the winner faces no GOP opposition in November, Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, won with 72 percent of the vote against two challengers, in District 5. In District 21, Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, handily defeated three challengers. Sen. Gladys Robinson, D-Guilford, prevailed against Skip Alston in District 28. In District 40, Joyce Waddell defeated three other candidates, avoiding a runoff with 42 percent of the vote.

• In other House Republican races where the primary winner faces no Democratic opposition, Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, fought off a challenge in District 14. In District 15, Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow, easily won, as did Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, in District 26. Other GOP winners included Lee Zachery in the open District 73 seat, Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, in District 77, Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes, handily won the primary for his District 94 seat, as did Rep. Dana Bumgardner, R-Gaston, for his District 109 seat.

• In other House Democratic primaries where the winner faces no GOP opposition, Shelly Willingham led in District 23 with 35 percent of the vote and faces a runoff against Rusty Holdreness. Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, D-Wilson, was re-elected in District 24, Rep. Michael Wray, D-Northampton, won District 27, Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, won District 57, Ralph Johnson won the open seat in District 58, as did Cecil Brockman in the open seat in District 60.

Managing Editor Rick Henderson and Associate Editors Barry Smith and Dan Way provided reporting for this story.