A relatively small number of North Carolina voters went to the polls on Tuesday to decide nominees in a handful of statewide, congressional and legislative races. The mid-summer runoff election was necessary for contests where no candidate received more than 40 percent of the vote in the May primary.
In a race for state labor commissioner – the lone statewide Democratic runoff contest – John Brooks defeated Marlowe Foster, 54-46 percent. Brooks moves on to face incumbent Republican Cherie Berry as he attempts to reclaim the post he held from 1977-1993.
Republicans had a longer slate of runoff candidates, with Raleigh architect Dan Forest beating out Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley in the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor. Former Wake County Commissioner Kenn Gardner lost out to Ed Goodwin in the race for secretary of state, while Wake County school board member John Tedesco won the Republican nomination for state superintendent of public instruction over Richard Alexander.
Mike Causey defeated former speaker of the state House Richard Morgan to take the Republican nomination for insurance commissioner in what was the lone statewide contest where the top vote-getter from May lost Tuesday’s runoff.
Opposing candidates were watching Tuesday’s returns closely with the general election just three months away. Shortly after Forest was called the winner in the Republican runoff for lieutenant governor, Democratic nominee Linda Coleman tweeted, “It’s game on, my friends.”
Incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall also got into the mix, tweeting that she welcomed Goodwin to the race and that she looked forward to “educating him about the Office of Secretary of State.”
Three Republican congressional primaries were decided on Tuesday, with establishment favorite Richard Hudson winning soundly over insurgent Scott Keadle in the 8th District, 64-36 percent. Former state senator Robert Pittenger edged out Jim Pendergraph in the 9th District, 53-47 percent. And in the 11th District, Mark Meadows claimed a sizable win over Vance Patterson, 76-24 percent.
The Tuesday runoff also included several state legislative contests. On the Democratic side of the ledger, Robert Clark won the N.C. Senate District 21 nomination over Billy King, assuring Clark of a victory in November since he faces no general election opponent. Nathan Baskerville beat out Jim Crawford in the race for N.C. House District 32.
Among Republicans, Ronald Rabin finished ahead of Don Davis to win the party’s nomination in N.C. Senate District 12. Jeff Tarte defeated John Aneralla in N.C. Senate District 41, with Tarte guaranteed a victory in the fall since there is no Democratic or Libertarian candidate in the race. David Curtis topped Chris Carney in N.C. Senate District 44.
Meanwhile, Mattie Lawson won the nomination for N.C. House District 6 over Arthur Williams. Dana Bumgardner beat Wil Neumann by 168 votes in N.C. House District 109.
According to the State Board of Elections, the runoff election cost at least $7 million with turnout reaching just 3.6 percent, down from the 4.5 percent in a 2010 runoff but higher than the record low of 2.5 percent.