The 17th Senate District consists of Southwestern Wake County, including the towns of Cary, Apex, and Holly Springs. This is an affluent, fast-growing district with a lot of residents who are new to North Carolina. Representing this district is Tamara Barringer, a Republican first elected in 2012. Sen. Barringer was reelected in a landslide two years later.

This time around, expect a closer race. Democrats have a decent recruit, Wake County Board of Education member Susan Evans. This is important because observers of North Carolina politics know that it’s hard to beat a woman unless the opponent is a woman as well.

On her website, Barringer lists two issues of critical importance: education and the economy. Her opponent Evans stands for public education, “an economy that works for everyone”, and government transparency. Evans might want to add repealing HB 2 to that list, as Barringer voted for it and it’s particularly unpopular in the Research Triangle.

Evans is somewhat notorious for her role on the Wake County School Board. She’s been called an “intolerant liberal culture warrior” and Republicans will certainly try to depict her as such on the campaign trail. Both candidates’ records on education will be of paramount importance, particularly Evans’ opposition to neighborhood schools.

This is one of those districts where changing demographics could make things more favorable to Democratic candidates, and will be one of the most competitive races going into the November elections. This one gets a rating of Leans Republican because Barringer appears to be a well-liked incumbent and the challenger is somewhat controversial.

District Rating: Leans Republican

2014 Result
58.5% Barringer
41.5% Fulghum

Voter Registration
35.6% Republican
33.8% Unaffiliated
30.2% Democrat

80.7% White
10.4% Other
8.9% Black

Results in Other Elections
2012 President
52.3% Romney
46.4% Obama

2012 Governor
57.9% McCrory
39.3% Dalton

2010 Senate
57.9% Burr
39.3% Marshall

2008 Senate
48.5% Dole
48.0% Hagan

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