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Congressional primary attracts stampede of candidates

Posted March 25

This map shows the new congressional districts drawn during the Feb. 18 redistricting session.

— Seven members of the General Assembly want to move from Jones Street to Capitol Hill.

The redrawn congressional districts created new opportunities in the 13th Congressional District and the 12th Congressional District for the June 7 primary and spurred more interest in other races as well. Seventy-six candidates had filed for the 13 U.S. House seats by the time filing closed at noon Friday, about double the number who had filed to run in the old districts.

The changes were required when federal judges ruled in February that the Republican-led General Assembly relied too heavily on race to draw the 1st Congressional District and the 12th Congressional District in 2011. Lawmakers held a special session to overhaul North Carolina's congressional map, moving the 13th District from the Triangle to the Triad, compressing the snake-like 12th District into Mecklenburg County and making the boundaries of the other 11 districts less jagged and spindly.

Congressional districts map Watch proposed congressional maps take shape across NC

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In the 12th District, Democratic Congresswoman Alma Adams has said she plans to move from Greensboro to Charlotte to continue to represent the district. She will face six primary opponents, including state Reps. Tricia Cotham, Carla Cunningham and Rodney Moore and former Rep. Malcolm Graham, all Mecklenburg County Democrats. On the Republican side, recent U.S. Senate candidate Paul Wright is among three candidates.

Reps. John Blust, R-Guilford, Julia Howard, R-Davie, and Harry Warren, R-Rowan, and Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, are among the 17 Republicans running in the 13th District primary. Perennial candidates Vernon Robinson and Jim Snyder and Kay Daly, who previously filed to run in the 2nd Congressional District, also are in the mix. The Democratic primary includes five candidates, including recent U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Griffin, recent labor commissioner candidate Mazie Ferguson and Adam Coker, who had filed to run in the 2nd District under the old map.

The 2nd District still features what could be the biggest battle in the primary. Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers is seeking her fourth term but must get past 13th District Congressman George Holding and former U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon in the primary. Although he lives a few miles outside the district in Raleigh, Holding has said the redrawn 2nd District includes many of the voters he has represented for the past four years in the old 13th District, so he chose to run there rather than try to win over unfamiliar territory in the new 13th District.

Raleigh attorney John McNeill and businessman Ron Sanyal, who had both planned to run in the 13th District before the map changed, are among the five Democrats seeking the 2nd District seat.

Other U.S. House races shape up as follows:

  • No changes in the 4th Congressional District, where Republicans Sue Googe and Teiji Kimball face off for the right to go against longtime Democratic Congressman David Price in November.
  • Libertarian candidate J.J. Summerell, who had filed to run for lieutenant governor in November, added his name to the list of 1st Congressional District candidates, replacing Libertarian C.L. Cooke on the ballot. There is no primary for this seat.
  • The altered map eliminated the primary for Republican 7th District Congressman David Rouzer after challenger Mark Otto was drawn out of the districts and decided against refiling.
  • Republican 6th District Congressman Mark Walker still faces first-time candidate Christopher Hardin in the primary, but the Democratic field has been whittled from three to one – Pete Glidewell – and candidates Bruce Davis and Jim Roberts shifted their filings to the 13th District and the 5th District, respectively.
  • Republican 3rd District Congressman Walter Jones faces two primary opponents, including Taylor Griffin, whom he defeated two years ago. Recent U.S. Senate candidate Ernest Reeves is one of two Democrats in the race.
  • Three Democrats and one Republican are running against Republican 5th District Congresswoman Virginia Foxx.
  • Perennial candidate Tim D'Annunzio is challenging Republican 8th District Congressman Richard Hudson.
  • Rev. Mark Harris, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, is one of two primary opponents for Republican 9th District Congressman Robert Pittenger.
  • Three Republicans and one Democrat are running against Republican 10th District Congressman Patrick McHenry.
  • Two Democrats will vie to face Republican 11th District Congressman Mark Meadows in November.

Primary tentatively set for NC Supreme Court

Associate Justice Bob Edmunds has three people challenging him for his seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court after a special three-judge panel ruled last month that Edmunds couldn't simply face a retention election – an up-or-down vote without any opposition – under a law the General Assembly passed last year.

Sabra Faires, a former legislative staffer who challenged the retention election law, and Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan are among those seeking Edmunds' seat. The primary would trim the field to two candidates for the November election.

The Supreme Court is expected to review the three-judge panel's ruling next month, however, so the primary could be scratched if the court overturns the decision and upholds retention elections.

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