Primaries set up McCrory-Cooper in November

RALEIGH, N.C. — Beyond the presidential races, primary voters chose nominees on Tuesday for scores of statewide, legislative and local positions. The results set the stage for some high-profile campaigns for the November elections.


Republican incumbent Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper both won their gubernatorial primary elections handily, setting up what's expected to be an expensive and contentious general election.

With nearly all precincts reporting unofficial results, McCrory received more than 80 percent of the vote, defeating former Rep. Robert Brawley of Mooresville and Charles Kenneth Moss, who also ran in the 2012 GOP primary.

Cooper, state government's top lawyer since 2001, had about 70 percent of the vote in his primary, defeating Durham attorney Ken Spaulding.

Cooper, also a former state legislator, has been critical of Republican policies pushed by the General Assembly and signed into law by McCrory. Cooper says the sitting governor has taken the state backward on education.

McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor elected governor in 2012, says he's put the state on stronger financial footing and made government more efficient. He says that teacher pay has increased and that the state's unemployment insurance debt is now paid off.

Libertarian Lon Cecil also will be in the race.


The fall election for U.S. Senate will pit two-term Republican incumbent Richard Burr of Winston-Salem against Democrat Deborah Ross, a former state House member from Raleigh.

Burr, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, beat Cary obstetrician Greg Brannon and two other GOP primary candidates. According to most precincts reporting, Burr held a more than 2-to-1 advantage over Brannon, who lost the 2014 GOP Senate primary to general election winner Thom Tillis.

Democrats favored Ross over three rivals — Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey, Durham staffing company owner Kevin Griffin and Greenville army veteran Ernest Reeves. Ross received more than 60 percent of the votes cast.

Burr highlighted national security issues during the primary. Brannon accused Burr of being part of the Republican establishment and enabling President Barack Obama to expand his agenda. Ross took in the most campaign money among the four Democrats and received endorsements from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, state AFL-CIO and abortion-rights groups.

Sean Haugh is the Libertarian nominee.


The race to succeed Roy Cooper as North Carolina attorney general will be between two sitting state senators. Democrat Josh Stein and Republican Buck Newton won their primaries Tuesday, turning back competitive rivals. Stein led by about 7 percentage points over Marcus Williams of Lumberton, while Newton led by 10 points over Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O'Neill, according to nearly complete, unofficial returns.

Linda Coleman, the 2012 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, won her party's nomination again, defeating three rivals, including Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones. Her victory sets up a rematch with Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who narrowly beat Coleman four years ago.

State schools superintendent June Atkinson won the Democratic primary over Henry Pankey. She'll face Republican Mark Johnson, the winner of a three-candidate race. Three-term Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler won the Republican primary. He's got a Democratic challenger in November.

Dan Blue III won the Democratic primary for state treasurer, while former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker won the Democratic primary for labor commissioner. Blue faces Republican Dale Folwell in the fall, while Meeker will take on GOP Commissioner Cherie Berry.

Mike Causey is the Republican nominee for insurance commissioner for the fifth time after winning a three-person primary. Causey has never won in the general election.


Complete, unofficial results show state Rep. George Robinson, R-Caldwell, losing to Destin Hall. Nearly complete results have Rep. Ralph Johnson, D-Guilford, losing to Amos Quick, a Guilford County school board member. Johnson suffered a stroke last month but was still in the race. Quick has no Republican opposition in the fall.

Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg, the Republican conference chair, was in a tight race with Tom Davis.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, senior co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and House Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, won their primaries. Rep. Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin, narrowly won his primary against Dwight Shook. Zachary has no Democratic challenger.

Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, narrowly defeated Lane Burris with 51 percent of the vote, according to complete, unofficial results. Burr has been critical of the leadership of House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland.

In the Senate, incumbent David Curtis, R-Lincoln, squeaked out a victory over former Sen. Chris Carney.


Some Mecklenburg County commissioners will return to their seats for another term after winning Tuesday’s elections.

In the at-large race, Ella Scarborough, Pat Cotham and Trevor Fuller won the Democratic primary.

In District 2, incumbent Vilma Leake won with 66 percent of the vote. Leake does not have a Republican opponent on the November ballot, so it appears she'll serve another term.

In District 6, Republican Bill James won with 63 percent of the vote. Like Leake, he does not have to face a challenger in November, so it looks like he will also keep his seat.

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