The 2002 North Carolina primaries are now in the books. The major races across the state were settled and we won’t see any runoffs, at least for federal office. We’re on to November.
At the top of the ticket, there were no real surprises. Cheri Beasley handily won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against a field of also-rans. On the Republican side, Congressman Ted Budd, the Trump endorsee, handily dispatched former Governor Pat McCrory, likely ending his political career and sending him back to talk radio. Now, McCrory can whine about the GOP as much as he whined about Democrats.
In the race that probably drew the most national attention, state Senator Chuck Edwards defeated the Boy Blunder, Madison Cawthorn. The state’s GOP Republican establishment united to take out Cawthorn after a year and a half of embarrassment and lies. Trump, though, stuck with Cawthorn, who like Trump, believed the job was all about ratings.
The map of the race looks similar to a general election map. Edwards swept the three most urban/suburban counties, Buncombe, Henderson, and Transylvania, while Cawthorn dominated the rural counties, sometimes doubling Edwards’ vote. Jasmine Beach-Farrara, who handily won the Democratic primary, will face Edwards in November and needs the map to look similar, running up her own margins in the more urban/suburban counties.
In NC-04, Valerie Foushee won the nomination by defeating Nida Allam, Clay Aiken, and a host of other candidates. The race was marked by big money PACs coming in for Foushee. While I’m sure they feel good about their investment, I suspect they hurt Foushee more than they helped her. While Foushee won her home of Orange County, she didn’t crack 50%. The money she got from AIPAC damaged her among White progressives in her own back yard. The number of people who told me they were switching from Foushee to Allam was eye-opening. I suspect she lost support in Durham as well. Allam ran a strong campaign and won Durham County, where she serves on the County Board of Commissioners.
NC-13 will probably shape up to be the most competitive Congressional race of the cycle in November. State Senator Wylie Nickel defeated former state Senator Sam Searcy. On the Republican side, Trump endorsee and Madison Cawthorn wannabe, Bo Hines, won the nomination. The two will battle it out through November, giving Triangle residents another cycle of non-stop Congressional ads.
In NC-01, state Senator Don Davis defeated former state Senator Erica Smith surprisingly easily. Smith has been running almost continuously since she challenged Cal Cunningham for the U.S. Senate nomination in 2020. She probably positioned herself too far to the left for a district like that. It’s a largely rural district that is far more Republican than it was before redistricting. Davis will face Sandy Smith in a race that could become competitive if the political environment deteriorates much more for Democrats.
I’m not prepared to dive into legislative or local races right now, so that’s my wrap. It’s a long way until November and a lot can change. We’ll see what happens over the summer.