North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

March 7, 2022

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After several delays due to litigation and the redrawing of districts, the list of candidates running in 2022 for elected public office in North Carolina is official. The candidate filing period for the state’s May 17, 2022 primaries opened February 24 at 8:00AM and closed Friday, March 4 at noon. This special edition of Week in Review breaks down who is running for what, who is running where, and how the 2022 primaries are starting to shape up in North Carolina. 

Retirements & Returners

With the filing period officially closed, 18 current members of the state House and eight members of the state Senate have filed their candidacy for a different office or have announced that they will not be seeking reelection to their current seat. 

In the House, these members include:

  • Rep. Gale Adcock (D-Wake) is running for a state Senate seat
  • Rep. John Ager (D-Buncombe)
  • Rep. Charles Graham (D-Robeson) is running for US Congress
  • Rep. Bobby Hanig (R-Currituck) is running for a state Senate seat
  • Rep. Rachel Hunt (D-Mecklenburg) is running for a state Senate seat
  • Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange)
  • Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret)
  • Rep. Allen McNeill (R-Randolph)
  • Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange) is running for a state Senate seat
  • Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Henderson) is running for a state Senate seat
  • Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus)
  • Rep. Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland)
  • Rep. Kandie Smith (D-Pitt) is running for a state Senate seat
  • Rep. Raymond Smith (D-Wayne) is running for a state Senate seat
  • Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland)
  • Rep. Evelyn Terry (D-Forsyth)
  • Rep. Brian Turner (D-Buncombe)
  • Rep. Lee Zachary (R-Yadkin) is running for a state Senate seat

Over in the Senate, these members include:

  • Sen. Don Davis (D-Pitt) is running for US Congress
  • Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Wake) is running for US Congress
  • Sen. Sarah Crawford (D-Wake) is running for a state House seat
  • Sen. Ben Clark (D-Hoke) is running for US Congress
  • Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) is running for US Congress
  • Sen. Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston)
  • Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) is running for US Congress

While a number of current legislators are planning their departures from the General Assembly, another handful of familiar names and faces to North Carolina politics will compete for a return to the legislature. 

In the House, seven former members have filed for election in 2022, including:

  • Marilyn Avila (R) will run in District 40
  • Elmer Floyd (D) will run in District 43
  • Stephen Ross (R) will run in District 63
  • Christy Clark (D) will run in District 98
  • Bill Brawley (R) will run in District 103
  • Tricia Cotham (D) and Rodney Moore (D) will run against each other in the primary for District 112

In the Senate, four former members of the legislature are seeking election, including:

  • Buck Newton (R) will run in District 4
  • Wesley Meredith (R) will run in District 19
  • Eddie Gallimore (R) will run in District 30
  • Shirley Randleman (R) will run in District 36

Uncontested Races

A lengthy list of incumbent legislators in both the House and the Senate will not face an opponent in November’s general election, including two of the most powerful members in either chamber. 

In the House, 24 members will run in contested races, including:

  • Speaker of the House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland)
  • Rep. Jay Adams (R-Catawba)
  • Rep. Vernetta Alston (D-Durham)
  • Rep. John Autry (D-Mecklenburg)
  • Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne)
  • Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke)
  • Rep. William Brisson (R-Bladen)
  • Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake)
  • Rep. Karl Gillespie (R-Macon)
  • Rep. Edward Goodwin (R-Chowan)
  • Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford)
  • Rep. Kelly Hastings (R-Gaston)
  • Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie)
  • Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus)
  • Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth)
  • Rep. Charles Miller (R-Brunswick)
  • Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln)
  • Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly)
  • Rep. Carson Smith (R-Pender)
  • Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston)
  • Rep. Steve Tyson (R-Craven)
  • Rep. Harry Warren (R-Rowan)
  • Rep. David Willis (R-Union)
  • Rep. Matthew Winslow (R-Franklin)

In the Senate, ten members will run opposed in 2022, including:

  • Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham)
  • Sen. Jim Perry (R-Lenoir)
  • Sen. Michael Lazzara (R-Onslow)
  • Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick)
  • Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson)
  • Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth)
  • Sen. Todd Johnson (R-Union)
  • Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed (D-Mecklenburg)
  • Sen. Ted Alexander (R-Cleveland)
  • Brad Overcash, a republican running for Senate District 43, is not an incumbent, however, he is running to replace current state senator Kathy Harrington, who announced last year that she will not run for reelection. Sen. Harrington endorsed Overcash in his effort to replace her. Overcash will not face an opponent in the general election.

Incumbent vs. Incumbent

While some legislators will not face primary or general election opponents, several others will be up against one of their own colleagues due to the recent redrawing of legislative district maps. These incumbent versus incumbent races include:

  • Rep. Jamie Boles (R-Moore) and Rep. Ben Moss (R-Richmond) will face each other in the May primary for House District 52.
  • Rep. Jake Johnson (R-Polk) and Rep. David Rogers (R-Rutherford) will compete in the May primary race for House District 113.
  • Sen. Norman Sanderson (R-Pamlico) and Sen. Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan) will be up against each other in the primary race for Senate District 1.
  • Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Michell) and Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga) will go up against each other in the primary for the Senate District 47 seat.

Congressional Races

In addition to the state legislative races, all 14 of North Carolina’s US House of Representatives seats will be up for election, in addition to one of the state’s two Senate seats.

Last year, incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr announced that he would not seek reelection to the US Senate. Following the end of the filing period las week, 26 candidates will vie to replace him, including 13 Republicans, 10 Democrats, and one Libertarian.

Democrat Cheri Beasley will most likely be her party’s nominee. State Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg) was also running for the US Senate seat but withdrew from the race to support Beasley’s candidacy.

The Republican primary is not as cut-and-dry. Congressman Ted Budd (R-Davie) is endorsed by former President Trump and influential PACs who support conservative candidates. Former Governor Pat McCrory is seen as Budd’s main challenger because of his long tenure of service in North Carolina and his high name recognition. However, another Republican, retired US Army intelligence officer Marjorie Eastman, has gained on Budd and McCrory in the polls.

Following the redraw of North Carolina’s Congressional district lines by a 3-judge Superior Court panel, Democrats likely gained an additional seat in North Carolina. Elections experts expect Republicans to win in seven of the 14 races, Democrats in six, and one district is considered to be a competitive toss-up district.

  • 1st District: Following incumbent Congressman G.K. Butterfield’s (D-Wilson) announcement that he will not seek re-election, several Democratic legislators announced their intentions to run for the minority-majority district. State House member James Galliard (D-Nash) was a declared candidate, but he withdrew to run for re-election to the state House. State Senator Don Davis (D-Pitt) and former state Senator Erica Smith will run for the Democratic nomination and will compete against one of eight Republicans running in their party’s primary.
  • 2nd District: Incumbent Deborah Ross (D-Wake) is seeking re-election in this Wake County-based district. She has no primary opponents.
  • 3rd District: Incumbent Greg Murphy (R-Pitt) has a newly drawn district still including much of eastern North Carolina. He has four primary opponents, and two Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination.
  • 4th District: When incumbent Congressman David Price (D-Orange) announced his intention to retire, a crowded Democratic primary field emerged. While the district lines changed, the field narrowed. It will now include a competitive primary contest between state Senator Valerie Foushee (D-Orange), Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam (D-Durham) and singer Clay Aiken.
  • 5th District: Incumbent Ted Budd (R-Davie) is not running for this seat again to instead seek his party’s nomination for the US Senate. Incumbent Virginia Foxx (R-Watauga) will be running for this seat instead.
  • 6th District: Incumbent Kathy Manning (D-Guilford) watched her Triad-centric district change multiple times during redistricting, but eventually it resulted in a familiar district including Greensboro and Winston Salem. Manning is running for re-election and will face one of seven Republicans. 
  • 7th District: Incumbent David Rouzer (R-New Hanover) did not see his district change very much. He has one primary challenger and will then face the winner of a Democratic primary field including state Representative Charles Graham (D-Robeson). 
  • 8th District: A newly drawn seat, there is no formal incumbent. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Union) has filed to run for this seat and will face one Democratic opponent who is also unchallenged in his primary.
  • 9th District: Another newly drawn seat with no incumbent, this Republican-leaning seat stretches from Fort Bragg up to Chatham County. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Cabarrus) is seeking his party’s nomination in this district which includes some familiar and some not-so-familiar communities for him. State Senator Ben Clark (D-Hoke) will be the Democratic nominee.
  • 10th District: Republican incumbent Patrick McHenry (R-Lincoln) saw his district change very little. The powerful Congressman will face three Republican challengers, and two Democrats. 
  • 11th District: Republican freshman incumbent Madison Cawthorn filed to run in his current district, after previously filing to run in the 13th District, which was originally drawn as an open seat that was more reliably Republican than the 11th District, which includes the city of Asheville and multiple university campuses. Cawthorn faces seven other Republican challengers, including State Senator Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson). Six Democrats, including Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, will compete for their party’s nomination.
  • 12th District: Incumbent Democrat Alma Adams (D-Mecklenburg) is running for this Charlotte-based district and will face one primary challenger.
  • 13th District: This will be the most competitive district in the state. An open seat with no incumbent, and a true toss-up district which has elected both Democrats and Republicans on the state and national level, politicos can expect a significant amount of resources and time to be devoted in this southern-Wake County-based district. Democratic challengers include state Senator Wiley Nickel (D-Wake) and former state Senator Sam Searcy (D-Wake). Republicans will have an even more competitive primary, as big names like former Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-Harnett), conservative firebrand Bo Hines, and Kelly Daughtry (the daughter of long-time state legislator Leo Daughtry) will vie for their party’s nomination. 
  • 14th District: Another open seat was created in southern Mecklenburg County which will likely elect a Democrat. State Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg), who was formerly running for the US Senate before withdrawing to endorse Cheri Beasley, has filed for this congressional seat.

While these will most likely be the districts and candidates for Congress this year, it is still subject to one last judicial hurdle. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Republican legislative defendants have asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn the map approved last week by a Republican-majority, 3-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court, saying that court had no right to draw a map, that it was the constitutional purview of the General Assembly.

For a complete list of candidates who have filed to run for office in 2022, visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections website, or click here.