The winner of the Republican primary in District 13 is anyone’s guess. It’s a total jump ball. There are 17 – yes, 17 – candidates running, meaning that technically a candidate could win with as little as 6% of the vote. The General Assembly canceled runoffs for the primaries so the person who places first wins the Republican nomination – and likely a seat in Congress, as the district is drawn to elect a Republican. (It’s the least Republican of the “Republican” districts, however).

So who do I think’s going to win? If I had to guess, I would say businessman Ted Budd has the greatest chance of winning, but not by much. That’s because the Club for Growth has gone all-in around his candidacy. They’re the only group really spending significant money, and some think that will be all it takes for him to come out ahead of his rivals.

There are certainly other candidates who could win – as I said before, it’s really a jump ball. The strongest contenders besides Budd include Representatives Harry Warren, Julia Howard, and John Blust. Of those three, the one who appears best-poised to win is Julia Howard, who has been endorsed by Newt Gingrich. Next there’s State Senator Andrew Brock, whose district largely overlaps with the 13th. Then there’s Guilford County Commissioner Hank Henning. Iredell County Register of Deeds Matt McCall is a social conservative who is also in the “contender” category, as well as attorney George Rouco, who was running against Rep. Robert Pittenger in the 9th district before the maps were ruled unconstitutional.

Then there are two other names that deserve mentioning, simply because of the outlandish nature of their candidacies. The first is Vernon Robinson, of “Jesse Helms is Back – And This Time, He’s Black” fame. Finally there’s Kay Daly, who keeps sending me e-mails asking whether or not transgenderism is a mental disorder. Name recognition alone could have them wind up with the Republican nomination. (If either of them become the nominee, the race for the general election instantly becomes competitive.)

That’s nine people out of seventeen with a decent shot at winning this race. We could have a result where every county is carried by a different candidate. I don’t think the winner will take only 6% but that they’ll win with less than 20% is a good possibility. This is definitely one to watch on June 7th.


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