The turnout was a bit higher than most expected. The average in recent primaries has been 25 percent. 34 percent voted in this election and about 25 percent of the 2.1 million who voted cast their ballots early.
Few were surprised with the result of the Marriage Amendment vote, however it is interesting that the only counties where the amendment was defeated were around the Triangle (Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham), Mecklenburg, Buncombe and Watauga.
The candidates (or Superpacs) who spent the most money prevailed. George Holding’s Superpac spent large sums in his 13th District Congressional Race…and won outright the primary. His message that Paul Coble was a career politician resonated. State Senator Robert Pittenger reportedly spent 1 million dollars of his own money and won a runoff spot with former Mecklenburg Sheriff Jim Pendergraph. And it is certain that Walter Dalton’s more sizeable treasury helped propel him to a larger win over Bob Etheridge than might otherwise have been the case.
There are always some interesting tidbits in elections. One involved the 9th District US House race, where the Charlotte Observer endorsed sheriff Jim Pendergraph, then unendorsed him. In 40 years of covering elections we’ve never seen that happen before. As is always the case several incumbents were defeated, most notably Jim Crawford, House Appropriations co-chair who was double-bunked with Representative Winkie Wilkins.
We have a larger than normal number of possible runoffs. Democrats gave former Labor Commissioner John Brooks enough votes to force a runoff with Marlow Foster. Former Republican House Speaker Richard Morgan will face a second contest with Mike Causey, the lesser known of the two. The Republican Lt. Governor’s contest, Auditor’s race and Superintendent of Public Instruction race will likely see runoffs, as will the GOP Congressional contests in Districts 8, 9 and 11.
And who can understand why the runoff scheduled in July? We hear it is to shorten the campaign cycle but the outright winners have more time to raise money and prepare strategies than those who will face runoffs.
The stage is set for some interesting general election campaigns in November and you can count on us to give our spin on what’s going on.