State News

NC voters pick final party nominees for fall races

Posted July 17, 2012

— Few North Carolina voters headed to the polls Tuesday for runoff elections to choose party nominees for statewide, congressional, legislative and even some local races.

Voters already picked their party favorites in the May 8 primary, but some first-place candidates failed to receive the more than 40 percent needed to win outright, requiring the top two vote-getters to advance to a runoff. The candidate with the most votes for each race Tuesday will advance to the fall election.

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Voting NC voter resources

Election administrators expected turnout statewide to be very low, at about 2.5 to 3 percent, even with more statewide and congressional runoffs than in recent memory. With 10 weeks between the first primary and Tuesday voter interest has been lukewarm save for a few hot spots where campaign placards and commercials have been plentiful.

Fewer than 37,000 people had turned in ballots statewide through the early voting period that ended over the weekend, or well below 1 percent of the state's nearly 6.3 million voters, according to the State Board of Elections. That's about the same number of early voters during 2010 primary runoffs, when there was only one statewide race.

"It surprised me tremendously," said Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, who had hoped that runoff turnout would exceed 8 percent, the highest he's seen during his 20 years as director.

The leading races included five runoffs for Council of State positions, including the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor between Raleigh architect Dan Forest and Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley. There are also three GOP runoff elections for congressional districts — two around Charlotte and a third in the mountains.

Early voting was stronger in Mecklenburg County, which anchors the 9th Congressional District and the district runoff race between former Sheriff Jim Pendergraph and ex-state Sen. Robert Pittenger. Other GOP runoff races are in the 8th District between Richard Hudson and Scott Keadle and in the 11th District between Mark Meadows and Vance Patterson.

Empty polling booths Voting in primary runoffs could set record low

There was only one statewide Democratic runoff — the primary party for labor commissioner between John Brooks and Marlowe Foster.

Three additional GOP races for the Council of State are between Richard Alexander and John Tedesco for superintendent of public instruction; Mike Causey and Richard Morgan for insurance commissioner; and Kenn Gardner and Ed Goodwin for secretary of state.

There are seven runoffs for General Assembly seats, only one of which involves an incumbent in Sen. Chris Carney, R-Lincoln. A couple of winners from legislative races would face no general election opposition.

Nearly all registered voters could cast ballots in the runoff, including those who didn't vote in the May primary. Libertarians and unaffiliated voters who voted only in nonpartisan races in May could not vote.

The cost of the statewide runoff is between $6 million and $7 million from state and local sources, Bartlett said. The cost includes producing ballots, many which will never be used due to low turnout, and staffing voting precincts statewide.


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  • cwood3 Jul 17, 2012

    Better remember your ID-oh-she vetoed that-shame on her.
    Hope nobody cheats this time!!!!

    Want to make some wagers about November??? I'll bet that Chicago is as dirty as ever!! Philly, NY, DC,LA too!!

    Sooner of later-voter ID will be the law-and it should be!!!
    State can help those needing to get an ID!!

  • RomneyRyan2012 Jul 17, 2012

    I don't even know if there are any races I'm supposed to vote in today...

  • archmaker Jul 17, 2012

    run-off was a little disappointing. i got the dem ballot last time because the presidential and governor nominations for the republican side were wrapped up and the governor nominations on the democrat side were still up for grabs.

    on the run-offs the interesting races are on the republican side. (and i would have voted for anyone running against tedesco or gardner).

  • Mon Account Jul 17, 2012

    "Don't blame the big bad corporations, it's the sorry, lazy people who don't vote who are the REAL problem here." - Tired Of Excuses

    Corporations and interest groups have pockets deep enough to pay for ads that are full of misinformation (on both sides). They may not have a real vote, but they can 'encourage' votes to go their way by dumbing down the masses and tossing out lies as the truth.

    And I do agree to a point on some votes - that it's people NOT voting that's a problem. The Marriage Amendment had 35% turnout and a 'landslide' vote *for* it. In other words, about 20% of the total population voted 'for'. The minority are voting these people into office although they use 'landslide' liberally.

    Turn off the TV, educate yourselves, and THEN go vote!

  • hpr641 Jul 17, 2012

    "I voted Dem in May, and am disappointed I cannot do my part to see that Mr. Tedesco retires early from his politics."
    - HopingForABetterWorld

    Here's the way our political system works: You are allowed to choose to join a political party. If you take part in an election while affiliated with that party, you don't get to also take part in another party's elections ... because you have thus declared allegiance to their political opponent. Now, if someone you don't like wins another party's elections, here's the awesome thing about our system, you STILL get to vote against him AND FOR your party's nominee.

    For those confused about jury duty, the jury pool is made up of the combined rolls of 18yo+ registered voters AND licensed drivers.

    Finally, I say everyone is voting today: Either for candidate A, for candidate B, or don't care. If you vote for don't care, then don't complain if you get disappointed.

  • Tired Of Excuses Jul 17, 2012

    A few comments.
    If a person doesn't vote to keep from having to serve jury duty, I don't want them to vote, nor do I want them to serve on a jury...
    I worked a precinct and only saw 3 people in 4 hours.
    Perhaps if the liberal media talked more positively about it and made few comments about people not showing up at the polls, perhaps there would have been a better turn out.
    I voted early, I walked in and walked out. It took maybe a minute.
    So what if Corporations and Special Interest groups have an influence. Don't blame the big bad corporations, it's the sorry, lazy people who don't vote who are the REAL problem here.

  • Uhavenoclu Jul 17, 2012

    Read your history people...Most if not all Confederates who fought in the civil war ...To protect their liberty and land and have less government it wasn't about slavery that was a government propaganda..Were Democrats..Yes the south were democrats.

  • howlowcanyougolo Jul 17, 2012

    Please, all you Republicans, make the effort to get out and vote against Tedesco today. Better to keep him here embarrassing Wake County than to allow him to embarrass the entire state. At least we can vote him off the Wake County board in 2013.

  • kurebeachsurfer Jul 17, 2012

    Kony/Sandusky 2012!

  • HopingForABetterWorld Jul 17, 2012

    NO TO TEDESCO...Thanks to all the are voting against him. I read that you can't vote for the party today if you didn't vote for them in May. I voted Dem in May, and am disappointed I cannot do my part to see that Mr. Tedesco retires early from his politics.