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May 07, 2014 9:34 AM North Carolina Primary Results

By Ed Kilgore

With the exception of one contest that’s still hanging fire, it was a relatively early night of vote-watching from North Carolina (with some less nationally notable results from Ohio and Indiana). The first returns showed House Speaker Thom Tillis pulling over 40% of the GOP SEN vote, which is what he needed for the nomination, and he stayed well above the threshold all evening, finishing with just under 46%, with Greg Brannon second at 27% and Mark Harris third with 17%. Tillis got over half the vote in his base of Mecklenberg County (Charlotte) but did pretty well in all parts of the state. His win is being hailed as a big triumph for the Republican Establishment; I’ve evaluated that claim dyspeptically over at TPM Cafe, and will have more about it here a bit later.

The Establishment will clearly view last night’s relatively narrow win for Rep. Walter Jones over Right-From-Central-Casting Beltway Conservative Parker Griffin as a lost opportunity. Jones will return for another term as a Republican gadfly, and Ron Paul can chalk up another surrogate victory over his many GOP foes.

There will be one Republican congressional runoff in NC on July 15, as the crowded field to succeed Rep. Howard Coble in the strongly Republican (Cook PVI R+11) north-central NC 6th district was led by Rockingham County DA Phil Berger with 37%. He will face Baptist minister Mark Walker, who won 27%.

Former state senator David Rouzer, who came within an eyelash of beating Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre in 2012, has won the nomination for a second chance now that McIntyre has retired (the Republican will be heavily favored in November).

Two NC primaries of interest occurred on the Democratic side in NC. State Rep. Alma Adams pretty much guaranteed herself a congressional seat by narrowly clearing the 40% threshold in a combined primary and special primary to succeed Rep. Mel Watt, who resigned to take a post in the Obama administration. Things are less resolved in the 2d district, where two wealthy Democrats were in a very tight race for the chance to fight an uphill campaign against Rep. Renee Ellmers. With all the votes in, former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken appeared to have very narrowly defeated (and very narrowly avoided a runoff, too) self-funding former state commerce secretary Keith Christie. But a recount is possible. Meanwhile, Ellmers had an underwhelming 59-41 primary victory over a vastly underfunded opponent, probably indicating conservative unhappiness with her support for immigration reform.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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