Primaries are over in North Carolina and the race that gets national attention is the Republican primary in NC-09 where Mark Harris upset incumbent Robert Pittenger in a rematch from 2016. Pittenger is the first Republican Congressional incumbent of the year to lose in a primary contest. Before the night was over, Sabato’s Crystal Ball called the race a tossup. Democrat Dan McCready won his primary in the district with more than 80% of the vote and has more than $1 million cash on hand. Harris has less than $100,000.
On a broader level, though, last night showed that 2018 truly is the Year of the Woman. Women won up and down the ballot. A few incumbent men hung on against women challengers, but very few men who weren’t incumbents won against women. And that phenomena occurred in states across the country.
In Wake County, Linda Coleman easily dispatched my candidate Ken Romley. Allison Dahl beat incumbent Duane Hall who was accused of sexual harassment. In Wake County Commission races, challengers Susan Evans and Vickie Adamson beat incumbents Erv Portman and John Burns.
Five of the twelve Democratic nominees for Congress are women: Coleman in NC-02, DD Adams in NC-05, Kyle Horton in NC-07, incumbent Alma Adams in NC-12, and Kathy Manning in NC-13. I’m almost certain we’ve never seen that many women on the Congressional ballot in the state.
In states like Indiana and Ohio, women came out on top in primaries, too. Ten of Ohio’s 16 Democratic nominees for Congress are women. In Indiana, five of the nine Democratic Congressional nominees are women.
Women are reshaping politics, particularly in the Democratic Party. They dominated the elections last night even if they weren’t the marquee races. They won up and down the ballot. In party politics, they’re not only running more often but they’re voting as a powerful block. In North Carolina, they make up about 60% of the state’s Democrats. That’s enough to win a lot of primaries.
We’ll see if they can win in November. If independent women start voting as a block, we could see interesting results this fall. After last night, women look like the future of the Democratic Party in North Carolina, if not the country.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >