Hines wins competitive, closely watched Triangle-area GOP primary

North Carolina's new 13th Congressional District, which includes southern Wake County and all of Johnston County, is expected to be the state's most competitive general election congressional race in November.

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Bryan Anderson
Aaron Thomas, WRAL News

Republican political newcomer Bo Hines defeated DeVan Barbour and lawyer Kelly Daughtry in the Republican primary in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.

With early votes counted and all precincts reporting, Hines led Barbour with more than 32% of the vote, ahead of Barbour's 23%. Hines needed more than 30% to win his party's nomination outright.

In a win that underscores the value of an endorsement from former President Donald Trump and the influence of outside spending, Hines advances to the November general election, where he will face Democratic state Sen. Wiley Nickel.

“Between now and the general election, I fully intend to continue carrying my America-first message to as many voters as possible—a message that the status quo is no longer acceptable and it is long past time for Republicans to go on offense," Hines said in a statement. "I look forward to earning every voter’s support and their trust to represent our shared North Carolina values in the halls of Congress.”

Thirteen candidates ran for the Triangle district, which includes southern Wake County, all of Johnston County and portions of Wayne and Harnett counties. The district is expected to be the most competitive general election contest in November.

Nickel and former state Sen. Sam Searcy were the leading Democratic candidates coming into Election Day. The other candidates Democratic ballot were Nathan Click, a military veteran who works in business finance, Denton Lee, a Clayton teacher who describes himself as a political realist and Jamie Campbell Bowles, a nurse from Clinton.

In a victory statement, Nickel took aim at Hines.

“The contrast in this election couldn’t be clearer," Nickel wrote. "The Republicans are on track to nominate an extremist who wants to placate Donald Trump, take away a woman’s right to choose, and repeal the Affordable Care Act."

Nickel works as a defense attorney and lives in Cary, which is just outside the 13th Congressional District. State law doesn’t require U.S. House candidates to live in the area they’re seeking to represent.

Trump backing

Hines was supported by Trump and Club for Growth Action, an influential political action committee based in Washington, D.C., that spent more than $1.6 million boosting Hines.

“Bo Hines is a true conservative, and we are proud to have supported him in his victory,” said David McIntosh, the group's president. “His commitment to conservative values makes him the ideal candidate for the state of North Carolina and voters showed that today.”

The 26-year-old was a football player at North Carolina State University, where he competed for a season before transferring to Yale University. He later worked as an intern on Capitol Hill and returned to North Carolina to earn a law degree at Wake Forest University.

Hines, who at a young age had gubernatorial and presidential ambitions, welcomed the support of several hardline conservatives, including U.S. Reps. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

In a March 24 WRAL News interview, Hines embraced many policies that tilt further right on the ideological spectrum, such as a 10-year ban on immigration into the U.S.

Hines faced seven other Republican primary opponents, including Barbour, Daughtry, political newcomer Kent Keirsey, former U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, businessman Chad Slotta, physician Jessica Morel and lawyer Kevin Alan Wolff.

Hines has been criticized on the campaign trail, with local Republicans, outside groups and primary opponents questioning his ties to the community.

Hines previously considered congressional runs for seats near Charlotte and Greensboro. In February, he reaffirmed his plans to run for a seat near Greensboro. After a lengthy redistricting process made the Greensboro-area seat more likely to elect a Democrat, Hines instead ran outside the Raleigh area.

Hines last month put his Winston-Salem condo up for sale and said he signed a 12-month lease for a property in Fuquay-Varina, fulfilling a campaign pledge of his to move to the Wake County town. Voting records show he changed his address less than a month before the May 17 primary. Hines had pledged to move into the 13th Congressional District before the primary.

Nickel describes himself as a moderate, but he holds one of the most liberal voting records in the state Senate, where he’s served since 2019. He doesn’t think his record will be a factor in the general election.

He previously served former President Barack Obama on the campaign trail and during his first term in the White House.

Obama didn’t endorse anyone in the primary race, but Nickel’s ads often featured the former president. Nickel has received support from Democratic groups and U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield.


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