Trump, Robinson top North Carolina’s GOP ballot for November

Mark Robinson Speaking at Trump Rally Source: Jacob Emmons, Carolina Journal

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  • Turnout among Democrats was lower than in 2016 or 2020. "Democratic Party leaders made sure that Biden had no challengers on the ballot. Party leaders similarly lined up beyond Josh Stein for Governor and several others in statewide races. It made the top of the ballot somewhat boring," said Dr. Andy Jackson.

In Tuesday night’s North Carolina primary election results, former President Donald Trump and the state’s Lt. Governor Mark Robinson emerged as winners, Trump capturing 73% of the Republican vote over seven primary competitors. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley got 22% of the vote, and the remaining six additional primary opponents, most of whom had already dropped out of the race, split the remaining votes.

According to the National Review, Haley is expected to suspend her presidential campaign Wednesday after the disappointing night.

Robinson earned 65% of the GOP vote, ahead of State Treasurer Dale Folwell with 19% and attorney Bill Graham with 16%. Robinson led in the polls throughout the primary race, capping it off with a Greensboro appearance on Saturday with Trump, where the former president endorsed him.

“He’s a great natural speaker and an outstanding person,” Trump attested. “He’s been an unbelievable lieutenant governor. You’re going to be the next governor.”

Robinson will face North Carolina’s Attorney General Josh Stein, who won his primary Tuesday against former NC Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan 70% to 14%.

“no preference”

Among the big takeaways from Tuesday night, incumbent President Joe Biden, supported by North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, got 87% of the primary vote with no primary opponent at all.

More than 11% of North Carolina voters who filled out a Democratic primary ballot opted for “no preference” over choosing Biden. In the American Somoa territory primary, Biden lost to entrepreneur and challenger Jason Palmer. The “no preference” trend happened in other states around the country, a campaign by some Democrats to express their disapproval of the current president and the lack of choice on their party’s ballot.

In the Libertarian primary, the “no preference” slot won the most votes by a landslide, getting 40% over the 10 primary candidates led by Libertarian Chase Oliver who got 13%.

“super tuesday for a reason”

Nationwide, Trump won the Republican primary in most Super Tuesday states, finishing the night with 995 GOP delegates. Haley won only Vermont, and has 89 delegates. Trump needs 1,215 delegates to win the Republican nomination outright. The primaries come just days after the US Supreme Court handed down a decision reversing a Colorado Supreme Court ruling and finding that Trump cannot be barred from the ballot.

“They call it Super Tuesday for a reason,” Trump said in a victory speech Tuesday night from Palm Beach Florida. “It is my honor to represent not just the Republican Party but our country in leading it back to health and prosperity.” 

This is the third time Trump has won a Republican primary in North Carolina, narrowly beating Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, in 2016, and getting 93% of the primary vote in 2020. Trump won the general election in North Carolina in both 2016 and 2020.

North Carolina Congressman Dan Bishop congratulated Trump on Twitter. Bishop will be on the November ballot for North Carolina’s attorney general. Bishop did not have a primary race, and will face Congressman Jeff Jackson who won the Democrat primary for AG.

Biden’s approval rating in North Carolina has been underwater all year, yet the president’s supporters publicly have denied the lack of enthusiasm among their base over the economy and concerns about the Biden’s age. In an August Civitas poll, Biden had a 58% disapproval rating among North Carolinians polled, and just 18% of voters said they would like to see the incumbent Democrat take the presidential oath for a second term. Low approval ratings may have influenced enthusiasm at the polls on Tuesday, where the state’s largest voting group, unaffiliated voters, were taking a Republican ballot by more than two to one in early voting.

Turnout was also down in the Democratic primary, at about 320,000. ballots.

“That is down from both the 2016 (400,000) and 2020 (525,000),” said Dr. Andy Jackson, director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity at the John Locke Foundation. “That is a reflection of the noncompetitive nature of the race. Democratic Party leaders made sure that Biden had no challengers on the ballot. Party leaders similarly lined up beyond Josh Stein for Governor and several others in statewide races. It made the top of the ballot somewhat boring.”

In an October Civitas poll, Donald Trump was the pick for 52% of Republican polled, with the next closest being Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 12%. Nikki Haley got 10% of the support in that poll. The general election is slated for November 5, 2024.