Local Politics

Primary runner-up wins runoff for Wake DA

Posted July 15, 2014

John Walter Bryant

— After finishing a close second in the May 6 primary, John Bryant initially wasn't sure he would call for a runoff for the Republican nomination for Wake County district attorney.

The defense attorney did, and on Tuesday, he pulled off a turnaround by easily defeating Jeff Cruden in an election where fewer than 10,000 votes were cast.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Bryant led Cruden, an assistant district attorney, by 63 to 37 percent, according to unofficial results.

Both men are former Democrats who spent recent weeks challenging each other's Republican credentials.

Bryant will now face Wake County Clerk of Superior Court Lorrin Freeman, who won the Democratic primary, in the general election.

In Orange County, retired deputy Charles Blackwood again outdistanced  David Caldwell, another retired deputy in the Democratic runoff for sheriff. Blackwood topped Caldwell by 64 votes in the six-man field in May but won Tuesday by 53 to 47 percent, according to unofficial results.

With no Republican opposition in November, Blackwood is the likely successor to longtime Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass, who is retiring.

In a tight race in state House District 23, former Edgecombe County Commissioner Shelly Willingham downed real estate developer R.B. "Rusty" Holderness by 52 to 48 percent in the Democratic runoff, according to unofficial results. The district covers Edgecombe and Martin counties, and no Republican will be on the general election ballot opposite Willingham.


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  • dchetson Jul 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Exactly right. I was astonished about how little coverage there was about this race, even during the main primary. Wake County DA is the most important local race - far more important than Raleigh mayor, in my view, since we have a city-manager system. The Wake County DA in fact is more important/influential than many state races, since the Wake County DA prosecutes state corruption issues.

    I hope there's better coverage of the general election. Maybe even, you know, a televised debate? Something on the UNC's State of Things? Or preempt NPR's Thistle and Shamrock for a two hour radio debate.

  • givemeabr8 Jul 16, 2014

    Bryant v. Freeman come November!! Get out and VOTE in November people...otherwise you have no right to complain!

  • Eq Videri Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    What are you talking about? WRAL has had a separate story on that since last night:


  • moppie Jul 16, 2014

    My biggest complaint is that there was extremely low voter turnout! I certainly don't want to hear anyone complaining about their choices anytime soon. Less than 10k votes? When I went to my precinct at 5pm to vote I was only #31.

  • Eq Videri Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    Former Democrat John Bryant didn't win yesterday -- current Democrat Lorrin Freeman did.

    By running Bryant instead of veteran prosecutor Jeff Cruden against Freeman, the GOP gives up the crucial advantage of superior criminal prosecution experience.

    John Holding Bryant will have lots of money to spend, but so will Freeman, who has another advantage as a female candidate.

    And Freeman's experience as a criminal prosecutor, although thin, is greater than Bryant's total lack of it.

    Advantage(s): Freeman.

    Disadvantage: McCrory, Forest, Berger, etc.

  • Michael Hart Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    never mine, it's Berger's son.... Dang Nabbit

  • Michael Hart Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    why m=no mention of Phil Berger getting ousted?

  • less_govt_is_better_govt Jul 16, 2014

    The voters of wake county have chosen wisely.

    Best news on WRAL today!

    Now if elected DA a flush of the current appointees in the wake DA's office and a top down investigation into the sheriff's office is what is needed.....

  • Billy the Kid Jul 16, 2014

    I love the party changes. At least they went the right way though.

  • Jack Miller Jul 16, 2014
    user avatar

    Both former Democrats who have seen first hand how such policies have destroyed America. Being in the courtroom seeing the same people leach of the system will make anyone who wants to save America wake up.