NC Politics In the News: Primary Update

May 10, 2012

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Dalton, McCrory to Square Off for Governor; Marriage Amendment Passes
Lt. Governor Walter Dalton gained 46 percent of the Democratic Primary vote to defeat former Congressman Bob Etheridge. By securing more than 40 percent, Dalton avoids a run-off and will now face former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory in the General Election in November. McCrory, who had no serious opposition, captured 83 percent of the vote in the Republican Primary. 
This will be the first time in modern North Carolina history that the GOP candidate for governor begins the general election campaign as the front-runner in the polls. Jim Holshouser and Jim Martin, the only two previous Republican governors in the last 100 years, both started their fall campaigns as underdogs.
The other hot topic on the ballot was Amendment One, which passed with 61% of the vote. Amendment One adds a provision to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman and prevents the General Assembly from passing legislation recognizing civil unions.  North Carolina became the 31st state to add an amendment to its constitution banning same sex-marriages.
Lt. Governor
Former State Personnel Director and former NC House member Linda Coleman, defeated first term State Senator Eric Mansfield by double digits in the Democratic Primary. Coleman’s campaign raised little cash but received over $300,000 from the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina and a national union affiliated with the Association.
Meanwhile, the Republican race for Lt. Governor will lead to a run-off. Raleigh architect Dan Forest finished first with 33 percent of the vote, below the 40 percent threshold needed to win outright. Forest will face either Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley or House Speaker Pro-Tem Rep. Dale Folwell, who are separated by less than 1 percentage point for second place.
Legislative Races
Redistricting pitted several incumbents against one another. In the House District 2 race, consisting of Granville and Person Counties, 14 term Democratic lawmaker, Jim Crawford was defeated by fellow incumbent Winkie Wilkins 56 to 37 percent. Wilkins will now face Republican Timothy Karan. Crawford was one of five Democrats who crossed over to vote with the Republican majority to override Governor Perdue’s budget veto, and several other vetoes, in 2011. He is the only Democrat currently in the House leadership, as co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, defeated Rep. Efton Sager, R-Wayne 62 to 38 percent. Rep. Mark Hollo, R-Alexander, defeated Rep. Darrell McCormick, R-Yadkin, who suspended his campaign in March, 68 to 32 percent.
In other primaries, credit union executive John Bell narrowly defeated incumbent Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, by 54 votes and incumbent, Larry Brown, R-Forsyth, lost to Forsyth County Commissioner, Debra Conrad, 43-29 percent in a re-configured district.
Incumbent Democrat, William Brisson of Bladen County, another “Gang of Five” Democrat who voted with Republicans to override several of the Governor’s vetoes last year, narrowly beat his opponent, Matt Dixon, 51 to 49 percent.
Two rematches from 2010 saw the incumbents win. Rep. Kelly Hastings, R-Cleveland, beat former Rep. Pearl Burris Floyd of Gaston County, 64 to 36 percent, while Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, beat former Rep. Earl Jones, 66 to 34 percent.
For a complete list of primary results, click here
Council of State
Democratic State Treasurer Janet Cowell easily won her primary contest over accountant Ron Elmer, taking 77 percent of the vote. In November, Cowell will face Elkin accountant Steve Royal after he defeated Frank Roche in the Republican primary.
Republican Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler took 69 percent of the vote to beat Bill McManus, a former Massachusetts legislator and lawyer. Troxler will face Democrat Walter Smith, a Yadkin County poultry farmer who beat Chatham County cattle farmer Scott Bryant.
Runoffs appear likely in the Democratic primary for Labor Commissioner and in Republican primaries for State Auditor, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction.
In the Democratic primary for Labor Commissioner, former Commissioner John Brooks finished with 37 percent of the vote, while lobbyist Marlowe Foster took 33 percent.
In the Republican primary for State Auditor, Wake County school board member Debra Goldman took 34 percent of the vote and economic development consultant Greg Dority finished second with 24 percent.
In the Republican primary for Insurance Commissioner, former House Speaker Richard Morgan took 37 percent of the vote and appeared headed toward a runoff with lobbyist Mike Causey, who had 35 percent.
A crowded race for the Republican nomination for State Schools Superintendent saw none of the candidates even getting 30 percent of the vote. Wake County school board member John Tedesco, with 28 percent, looked to face a runoff against special education teacher Richard Alexander, who had 24 percent.
Kenn Gardner and Ed Goodwin also appear headed for a runoff in the Republican primary for Secretary of State after finishing atop a four-candidate field. Gardner, a former Wake County commissioner and architect, finished with 36 percent of the vote, while Goodwin, a Chowan County commissioner, had 30 percent.
Congressional Races
  • Former state Senator, Robert Pittenger is heading to a run-off with Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Pendergraph for the GOP nomination in the Republican leaning 9th Congressional District.
  • U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield defeated his Democratic primary challenger Daniel Whittacre to face Republican Pete Dilouro and Libertarian Darryl Holloman for the 1st Congressional District.
  • Incumbent Renee Elmers will go on to face Democrat Steve Wilkins and Libertarian Brian Irving for the 2nd Congressional District.
  • U.S. Rep. Walter Jones won the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional District, defeating Frank Palombo. Jones will go on to face Democrat Erik Anderson in November.
  • Tim D’Annunzio won the Republican Nomination for the 4th Congressional District by beating Jim Allen and George Hutchins. D’Annunzio will face Democratic incumbent David Price in the general election.
  • Elizabeth Motsinger beat Bruce Peller in the Democratic Primary and will face incumbent Republican lawmaker, Virginia Foxx for the 5th Congressional District.
  • U.S. Rep. Howard Coble beat GOP challengers, William Flynn and Billy Yow, and will face Democrat Tony Foriest in the November election for the 6th Congressional District.
  • State Senator David Rouzer defeated Ilario Pantano and Randy Crow in the 7th Congressional district Republican Primary. Rouzer will face Mike McIntyre, an eight-term Democrat.
  • Former congressional aide Richard Hudson and former Iredell county Commissioner Scott Keadle will head into a run-off for the GOP nomination for the 8th Congressional District. The winner will face U.S. Rep. Larry Kissel, who beat Lumberton attorney, Mark Williams in the Democratic Primary.
  • State Representative Patsy Keever defeated Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy in the Democratic Primary for the 10th Congressional District. Keaver will face U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry.
  • In the 11th Congressional District, Democrat Hayden Rogers, former chief of staff to retiring U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, defeated Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell and Tom Hill. On the GOP side, Mark Meadows and Vance Patterson are heading towards a run-off since neither candidate received at least 40 percent of the votes.
  • Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mel Watt defeated his democratic challenger, Matt Newton, and will face Republican Jack Brosch, a GOP precinct organization chair, and Libertarian Lon Cecil for the 12th Congressional District.
  • Republican former US Attorney George Holding defeated Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble and retired Command Master Chief in the Navy Bill Randall for the 13th Congressional District. In the Democratic primary, Charles Malone was the top vote getter, but dropped out earlier this year citing health reasons. The Wake County Democratic Party will appoint a replacement.
Politics in the News
Berger on Session
Senate leader Phil Berger said that he expects state lawmakers to take up bills to cap the state gas tax and to approve a new gaming compact for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians during the upcoming legislative “short session.” Berger, R-Rockingham, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said those issues and a handful of others will be priorities during the legislative session that begins next Wednesday. Overall, he said he expects the agenda to be limited. “Obviously, the short session is about the budget,” Berger said. “We expect that to be the major thing we deal with.”
But he said the Senate will also take up the major public school reform plan that he recently unveiled, and that annexation legislation — following a court decision that found last year’s annexation changes unconstitutional — will again be in play. Berger said he hoped that the House would agree with the need to pursue an education reform plan. Last week, House Speaker Thom Tillis questioned whether legislators would have time to deal with the major changes called for in Berger’s plan. Tillis has been adamant about trying to complete the legislative session before or near the July 1 start of the fiscal year, and House budget writers plan to begin rolling out pieces of their budget bill within days.
“This is not something we can continue to just talk about,” Berger said of public school fixes. He cited the state’s dropout rate and the rate of students taking remediation courses in college as evidence of the need for reform. The legislation focuses on early-grade reading skills and a school evaluation system that would assign letter grades to individual schools. It also would end teacher tenure in favor of one-year contracts for teachers, an idea opposed by the N.C. Association of Educators and many legislative Democrats. Berger said he understood the opposition and is willing to listen to alternatives, but that the state must address “teachers who are not qualified.”(THE INSIDER, 5/10/12).
WRAL: Perdue releasing last budget proposal
Gov. Bev Perdue is releasing her final budget proposal as North Carolina’s chief executive – a spending plan that has the markings of a last stand against the Republicans when it comes to public education.
WXII 12: NC’s ban on same-sex marriage sparks cheers, jeers
A day after North Carolina became the latest state to approve a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman, opponents of the referendum are beginning Wednesday to explore their next options.
WRAL: Primary Casualities
Most state House and Senate incumbents who faced primaries Tuesday sailed through them easily. But half a dozen will be returning to Raleigh this month as lame ducks, at least according to unofficial state elections returns.
WRAL: Changes, incumbents rule in NC primary results
Redistricting — and the retirement of one long-serving North Carolina congresswoman — injected the promise of change into Tuesday’s primary elections.
News&Observer: Dalton defeats Etheridge to face McCrory for governor
Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton captured the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday, setting up a general election race with former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory that will feature two baby boomers regarded as moderates by their own parties.
News&Observer: July 17 runoff will settle more than a dozen election contests
A near-record number of voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election, but it will take one more round to decide the winner of more than a dozen races across the state. And the second time around, far fewer voters are expected at the polls.
Charlotte Observer: Second Tillis staffer admits to inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist
House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday a second staff member will resign this week after admitting to having an inappropriate romantic relationship with a lobbyist.
News&Observer: Sales tax increase, higher school spending in Perdue’s proposed budget
The proposed budget Gov. Bev Perdue releases tomorrow will include a sales tax increase and an additional $562 million for K-12 schools.
WRAL: State Senate leaders seek to reform NC schools
State Senate Republicans are proposing big changes to North Carolina’s public school system.