Commentary, News

Multiple incumbents lose in party primaries

Congressman Robert Pittenger

Rep. Duane Hall

Though turnout was typically low, North Carolina’s primary election wasn’t without some notable fireworks last night. Topping the headlines was the defeat of Charlotte-area congressman Robert Pittenger, who lost the Republican primary in the 9th congressional district to Mark Harris — a far right preacher. Harris will face Democratic nominee Dan McCready — a marine combat veteran — in the fall. National analysts were quick to upgrade the prospects of Democrats to capture the GOP-leaning seat, as Harris is seen as a much weaker general election candidate than Pittenger.

Incumbents and/or one time incumbents suffering defeat in state legislative primaries included:

  • State Rep. Duane Hall of Raleigh, a Democrat, who lost overwhelmingly to political newcomer Allison Dahle. Hall, of course, was the subject of a Policy Watch investigation earlier this year in which multiple witnesses came forward to accuse the lawmaker of inappropriate sexual conduct.
  • State Rep. Justin Burr of Stanly County, who lost convincingly to his Republican challenger Wayne Sasser. Burr, a bail bond agent and powerful committee chair at the General Assembly, has been the driving force behind controversial GOP efforts to remake the state judiciary.
  • Former State Senator Bob Rucho, now a member of the UNC Board of Governors. Rucho lost in an attempt at a political comeback to Vickie Sawyer in the Republican primary in Senate district 34 — a location far from his former district in Mecklenburg County.
  • State Rep. Rodney Moore of Charlotte, who came in a distant third in the Democratic primary in the 99th House district to newcomer Nasif Majeed.
  • State Senator Joel Ford,  a conservative Democrat who was defeated in his bid last year for Mayor of Charlotte. Ford lost by more than 10 percentage points to Mujtaba Mohammed in Senate district 38.
  • State Rep. Beverly Boswell from the Outer Banks who faced criticism for controversial remarks on multiple issues and incorrectly describing herself as a nurse despite not being licensed as one. Boswell lost by six points to Currituck County commissioner Bobby Hanig.

You can check out all state and local election results by clicking here.

2 Comments


  1. William

    May 9, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Can you please define “far right preacher” for me?

  2. Rob Schofield

    May 9, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Someone, like Harris, who preaches hate and exclusion and regularly associates with others who do likewise. Click here for one example.

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