A tale of two Sandys has come to an end as previous GOP nominee Sandy Smith has won over Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District GOP primary race. With all 270 precincts reporting, Smith had 13,571 votes or 31% compared to Roberson’s 11,563 or 27%.
Smith will face off against state Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, the Democratic winner, in the General Election in November for the seat occupied by retiring Democrat incumbent Rep. G.K. Butterfield. Davis won with 42,498 votes or 63% to former state Senator Erica Smith, who had 20,906 votes or 31%. The six additional GOP candidates included Billy Strickland, Brent Roberson, Brad Murphy, Will Aiken, Ernest Reeves, and Henry Williams II. Jason Albert Spriggs and Julian Bishop Sr. also ran as candidates in the Democratic primary.
Butterfield has held the seat for 17 years. During the primary, he endorsed Davis to succeed him.
After the victory became clear, Smith tweeted, “We won! Thank you all SO MUCH. Nearly $2 million in smear ads against us and we still came out on top. No run-off. I will fight for border security, jobs, cutting the gas tax and fixing our broken Biden economy. I love you all! #DrillBabyDrill #CutTheGasTax #JobsJobsJobs #NC01.”
Roberson, who was elected mayor of Rocky Mount in 2019 and served as managing partner of Health View Capital Partners, received N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore’s endorsement at a late April fundraiser, where Moore said that Roberson was the GOP’s “best chance to win the 1st District.” Smith also had a list of big-name endorsements, including many from former President Donald Trump’s circle, like U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, General Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone.
To say the race has been contentious would be an understatement. Roberson’s campaign released a trove of documents less than two weeks before the election that they alleged showed Smith was unfit to be the GOP nominee. The accusations include spousal abuse, bankruptcy, running scams, and owning a business that sells sexual clothing.
According to Roberson’s team, the information in the “Sandy Smith Exposed” file was going to be used as an “October surprise” by Democrats. They claimed to be using it as a May surprise of sorts now in order to prevent a potential GOP nominee from being discredited in a way that would put an otherwise competitive seat out of reach. In the end, the effort was not successful, as voters chose Smith despite the allegations.
Roberson’s campaign said Butterfield had the information during his 2020 election against Sandy Smith but opted not to use it because the race wasn’t close.
Smith, for her part, hit back, blaming problems with violence and other issues in Rocky Mount on Roberson’s performance as mayor of the town. She also embraced the tough housewife image after the accusations of abuse by posting pictures on social media where she is wearing an apron and holding a frying pan. Smith said she’d use the frying pan on those in D.C. standing against her conservative agenda.
North Carolina’s new 1st Congressional District comprises 18 full counties and one partial county in the rural northeast of the state: Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt (partial), Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington, and Wilson.