Former Guantanamo Bay prosecutor Moe Davis easily outdistanced his rivals to win the Democratic primary for the open Congressional seat in Western North Carolina's 11th district. His GOP opponent is still unknown, as none of the 11 candidates on the ballot came close to the 30% needed to avoid a runoff.
Maggie Valley businesswoman Lynda Bennett, who received the endorsement of outgoing Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, topped the GOP field. But at only 23% of the vote, she did not come anywhere near close enough to avoid a runoff. She'll face Madison Cawthorn, a surprise second place finisher. The youngest candidate in the field at just 24 years old, Cawthorn rode first place performances in his native Henderson County and neighboring Buncombe County to a narrow second place finish. He beat out longtime GOP state senator Jim Davis by just 1,018 votes. Cawthorn told BPR's Helen Chickering at his election night party in South Asheville that he will seek the runoff, which will be held in May.
Moe Davis took home 47% of the vote in the Democratic primary, with Gina Collias coming in a distant second at 23%. With new boundaries that include all of Asheville and Buncombe County for the 11th District in this election, Democrats feel better about winning the seat. Over 111-thousand votes were cast in the Democratic primary in the 11th, as opposed to just over 90-thousand GOP votes.
OTHER RUNOFF ELECTION FEATURES FAMILIAR FACE FOR WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA VOTERS
The other election that could go to a runoff in North Carolina is the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Yvonne Lewis Holley finished first with almost 27%. Her opponent in the runoff would be second place finisher and current Buncombe County state senator Terry Van Duyn, who took in 20% of the vote. Van Duyn has until next week to decide whether she'll seek the runoff. She finished around 71-thousand votes behind Holley. Republican Mark Robinson won the GOP nomination, finishing with 32% of the vote despite the fact the Republican field of candidates was larger then the Democrats.
MAYFIELD AND MOFFITT SCORE BIG WINS IN WNC GENERAL ASSEMBLY RACES, WHILE NC-119 WILL BE QUEEN-CLAMPITT ROUND 5
Current Asheville city councilwoman Julie Mayfield scored a big victory in her quest to replace Van Duyn in state Senate District 49, which covers central and western Buncombe County. Mayfield took home almost 68% of the vote against her two challengers for the Democratic nomination, Ben Scales and Travis Smith. She'll be the heavy favorite to win the seat over Republican Bob Penland in the fall.
Four other seats in Western North Carolina's delegation to the General Assembly are open in this election, and voters will see plenty of familiar faces. The race to replace Henderson County Republican representative Chuck McGrady in District 117 will feature Tim Moffitt, who previously represented a Buncombe County district in the state house. He easily won the GOP primary and will face Democrat Josh Remillard in the fall. In Senate District 50, current state representative Kevin Corbin won the GOP primary to face Democrat Victoria Fox and Libertarian Clifton Ingraham. And in House District 119, for the fifth consecutive election, Republican Mike Clampitt will be the GOP nominee against incumbent Democrat Joe Sam Queen. Clampitt defeated Jackson County commissioner Ron Mau in Tuesday's primary.
ASHEVILLE CITY COUNCIL, BUNCOMBE COUNTY COMMISSIONER ELECTIONS SET
Ten candidates ran for three Asheville city council seats in Tuesday's primary, with the top six vote-getters advancing to the fall. Sage Turner lead the vote count with just under 16%, followed by Keith Young (the only incumbent in the race), Kim Roney, Rich Lee, Nicole Townsend, and Sandra Kilgore. Kristen Goldsmith, Shane McCarthy, Tim Collins, and Larry Ray Baker all failed to make the fall general election.
There were only two contested primaries among Buncombe County commissioner elections, both on the Democratic side. In District 1, Terri Wells handily defeated Nancy Nehls Nelson with 67% of the vote. In District 3, Parker Sloan topped Donna Ensley 54% to 46%. That sets up the commissioner races or the fall as follows -
Chair - Brownie Newman (D - incumbent), Robert Pressley (R)
District 1 - Terri Wells (D), Glenda Weinert (R)
District 2 - Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (D - current incumbent in District 1), Anthony Penland (R - incumbent)
District 3 - Parker Sloan (D), Joe Belcher (R - incumbent)