Brooks Pierce Election Update, March 4, 2020


North Carolina Voters Cast Primary Ballots

Over 2.1 million North Carolina voters cast primary election ballots on March 3 and during the early voting period. Most races have been decided, but a few may require runoffs. In races where no candidate receives 30% of the vote, the second place finisher may call for a runoff. Given that many political observers see North Carolina as a “purple” state, the November elections are expected to be hotly contested.

While the official results have not yet been certified and the possibility for recounts or runoffs in some races remains…

Here’s what we know:


President Donald Trump (R) won the Republican contest with 94% and Democrat Joe Biden won his party’s primary with 43 % to 24 % for Bernie Sanders, 13% for Michael Bloomberg and 10% for Elizabeth Warren.


Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest both won their party’s primary by large margins and will face off in November.

Lt. Governor           

Republican Mark Robinson appears to have won with 33% and there may be a runoff on the Democratic side between Wake County Rep. Yvonne Holley (27%) and Buncombe County Sen. Terry Van Duyn (20%).

Attorney General

Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein will face Republican winner Jim O’Neill, the Forsyth County District Attorney, who received 47%.


Republican Commissioner Steve Troxler will face Democratic winner Jenna Wadsworth, a Wake County Soil and Water Supervisor, who received 54%.


Democratic Auditor Beth Wood will face Republican Tony Street, a Brunswick County businessman, who received 56%.


After winning his primary with 65%, Republican Commissioner Mike Causey will face former Commissioner and current NC Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin in a rematch of their 2016 race.


With the retirement of Commissioner Cherie Berry, this is an open seat. Rep. Josh Dobson of McDowell County won the Republican nomination with 40% and the Democratic nominee will be Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes.

Public Instruction

This is an open seat since Republican Superintendent Mark Johnson ran for Lt. Governor (unsuccessfully). Jen Mangrum, an University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) professor, won the Democratic nomination with 33% and Catherine Truitt, a former education advisor to Gov. Pat McCrory and head of Western Governors University in North Carolina, won the Republican nomination with 57%.

Secretary of State

Democratic Secretary Elaine Marshall will face Republican businessman E.C. Sykes, who won his party’s primary with 43%.


Republican Treasurer Dale Folwell will face Ronnie Chatterji, a professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and former economic advisor to President Barack Obama, who won his party’s primary with 36%.


Sen. Thom Tillis captured the Republican nomination with 78% and will face former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, who won the Democratic primary with 57%.

Ten incumbents (7 Republicans, 3 Democrats) won their primaries or did not have opposition. Three other districts will have new members after November.   

In the 2nd Congressional District, former State House member and 2016 Democratic nominee for US Senate Deborah Ross won the Democratic nomination with 70% and will face Republican Alan Swain in November. Greensboro businesswoman Kathy Manning won the Democratic nomination for the 6th Congressional District with 48% and will face Lee Haywood, who won the Republican primary with 73%.    

There will likely be a runoff in the Republican race in the 11th Congressional District where Congressman Mark Meadows chose not to run. Lynda Bennett led the vote with 23% with Madison Cawthorn at 20% and Senator Jim Davis at 19%. Moe Davis won the Democratic primary in the 11th Congressional District with 47%.

NC General Assembly

All 170 seats are on the Nov. 3 ballot. Republicans are seeking to maintain their majorities in both houses, which are currently 29 to 21 in the Senate and 65 to 55 in the House. Some of the district lines this year have changed and it is uncertain what impact they will have on the results. Members return to Raleigh on April 28 for their 2020 “short” session.

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