RALEIGH – Participation in Tuesday’s primary elections across North Carolina was paltry, but not an uncommon trait of midterm primary races with not statewide races to decide. Just over 14 percent of registered voters visited ballot box to set the stage for general elections in the fall.
Most evident in the results is the fact that incumbents have a massive advantage when it comes to besting even the stiffest of competition. This phenomenon is well known. Still it is perplexing in the context that entrenched politicians are commonly held to be unpopular among voters, but when it counts they usually walk away with first place in the popularity contest.
It seems voters dislike established politicians in general, but when it comes to THEIR guy, well, he/she is a good one. Such is the effect of name recognition and the power of pull.
On the federal side of things there were no huge upsets, as incumbents secured their spots on the November ballot.
Allen Chesser, who challenged Rep. George Holding (NC-2), earned about a quarter of the votes against a relatively solid sitting congressmen. Nothing to be ashamed of there.
Perhaps most interesting in Republican congressional primaries was the Third District race down east. Longtime incumbent Rep. Walter Jones had two challengers that together carried a good number more votes that Jones, who only garnered 43 percent of the vote.
Who knows how those votes would have fallen if there was only one challenger, but Jones’ assertion that this is his last term in congress maybe a necessary choice as much as a personal one. As such, the 2020 primary for that seat will be very important and deserving of a solid liberty candidate, as opposed to the more Swampy characters that have challenged Jones in the last few cycles.
State side, liberty challengers to incumbent Republicans and more Establishment types fell short, with a few interesting results.
Incumbent Republican House member Justin Burr (R-Stanly) lost to challenger Wayne Sasser in House District 67. Burr was very much a part of the leadership crowd in the House, driving issues like judicial redistricting and reform.
Burr hadn’t always been so close to leadership, however, originally gaining notoriety for being a thorn in the side of Speaker Tim Moore. Alas, Burr made nice with the Speaker, gained a committee chairmanship, and cut out the criticism of the Speaker.
And then he lost his seat to Wayne Sasser.
On a more hopeful note, Jarrod Lowery bested his primary challenger in the Republican race to challenge an incumbent Democrat in House District 47. That district had traditionally voted Democrat, but over the last decade or so the community’s social conservatism has translated into changing electoral dynamics.
Lowery, a solid conservative with deep roots in the district, has a great chance to beat the Democrat in November and gain a seat during a cycle that many suspect could be a wave election for Democrats.
There were also several close races on the Democrat side, with incumbents either succumbing to, or narrowly fending off challengers from the Left. If the Democrats continue their lurch Left in the general, their chances at a Blue Wave could disappear into the depths.
For more primary election results click here.