RALEIGH, N.C. — House Co-Speaker Richard Morgan held off a political novice in a highly charged Republican primary Tuesday, while two of his allies lost in separate elections that turned into a litmus test on Morgan's leadership.
With all of the precincts reporting, Morgan, R-Moore, had 4,345 votes, or 51 percent of the vote, compared to 4,096 votes, or 49 percent, for Peggy Crutchfield, according to
complete, unofficial results.
Morgan sought his ninth term against Crutchfield, a former local United Way director making her first run at elective office.
Crutchfield contended that Morgan forgot his constitutents while building up his political power in Raleigh. Morgan and nine of his top lieutenants faced tough primary races, each a referendum on the success of the leadership coalition Morgan formed with the Democrats in 2003.
Crutchfield said she "came up just a little short" but added: "I hope my opponent learned something from this election and takes those lessons to Raleigh with him.
"If he doesn't heed the message the voters sent, he may very see another strong challenge in two years," Crutchfield said.
One of Morgan's allies, Rep. David Miner, R-Wake, lost handily to Nelson Dollar. With all precincts reporting,
unofficial returns showed Dollar with 3,597 votes, or 64 percent of the vote, compared to 2,001 votes, or 36 percent for the six-term Miner.
Miner said he took full responsibility for his defeat but said he had a primary only due to his alliance with Morgan.
Dollar "definitely got his people out," said Miner, who was known for his moderate stands on the death penalty and a constitutional amendment bannning gay marriage. He said his views did not contribute to his defeat.
Dollar said "grassroots Republicans sent a very clear conservative, forward-looking message.
"They have worked for a conservative approach to state government," he said. "That's what they want."
Three members of the GOP's conservative wing, who accused Morgan of betraying the party and raising taxes by $1 billion, won their primary races while a fourth was trailing. The historic co-speakership between Morgan and Rep. Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, angered Republicans in line to assume the leadership.
Elsewhere in the House, Kernersville Mayor Larry Brown defeated Rep. Michael Decker, who has been called a "Benedict Arnold" for changing his party affiliation to Democrat -- opening the door for the Morgan-Black coalition.
Decker later returned to the GOP.
Among House Democrats,
Rep. Rick Glazier edged Rep. Alex Warner in a battle for the same Cumberland County seat,
according to complete, unofficial returns. Glazier had 2,201 votes, or 51 percent, while Warner had 2,078 votes, or 49 percent.