RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Rep. George Holding has won the only congressional primary between incumbents this year, defeating Rep. Renee Ellmers.
Holding beat Ellmers and doctor Greg Brannon on Tuesday by a wide margin in a redrawn North Carolina district that includes much of the territory that elected Holding before.
“I’m just really pleased with the result, really thankful for all the support,” Holding said. “My record as a member of Congress was attacked. My votes were attacked and I had to respond to them.”
Related info: Complete rundown of other NC congressional and judicial races
Holding kept his victory speech short but thanked his supporters and volunteers.
He had more than double the number of votes that Ellmers received. Holding supporters said Ellmers’ time in Washington had a negative impact on her.
“I think Washington changed her. I’m not a Trump supporter and she was the first one to support Trump on top of that,” said Edie Benchabbat.
In a statement, Ellmers said it had been an honor to serve the 2nd District and looks forward to helping Donald Trump become the next president.
“My loyalty is, and has always been, to my constituents – not to the Washington special interest groups or their deep pockets. I have sought to be an effective legislator, providing common sense conservative solutions to everyday problems. Unfortunately, today the special interest groups, super PACs and their deep pockets won. However, their days are numbered as I roll up my sleeves to help elect Donald Trump as our next president to shake up the status quo in Washington,” Ellmers said.
The final weeks of the race became a feud on the airwaves over conservative credentials, with heavy spending by the incumbents and more than $1 million from outside groups attacking Ellmers.
It was the first time two sitting members of Congress have run against each other since 2012.
Holding is expected to have a strong chance of winning the Republican-leaning district in the November general election.
The race was set up by court-ordered redistricting in February that moved Ellmers’ 2nd District to the north and east, absorbing much of Holding’s old 13th.
Precincts were open in the state’s 100 counties on Tuesday as voters made choices in 11 of the state’s 13 congressional districts. That also includes the redrawn 12th Congressional District, where six Democrats and three Republicans were seeking their respective parties’ nominations. Among the Democrats running was incumbent Alma Adams.
Veteran U.S. Rep. Walter Jones Jr. of North Carolina won the 3rd District Republican primary over a former Bush administration official for the second consecutive election cycle.
Jones topped Taylor Griffin of New Bern and Phil Law of Jacksonville splitting the rest.
Griffin narrowly lost to Jones in the 2014 primary for the eastern North Carolina district. Griffin and Law had planned to run against Jones in the March primary and refiled when court-ordered redistricting delayed House races by three months.
Jones has been in Congress since 1995. He has been a frequent critic of House Republican leaders and opposed the Iraq war.
Jones will take on Tuesday’s Democratic primary winner in November in the GOP-leaning district.
10th District Rep. Patrick McHenry of Denver, the chief deputy whip in the House, pushed back three challengers Tuesday in his Republican primary, receiving nearly 80 percent of the votes cast. McHenry faces Democratic nominee Andy Millard of Tryon in November.
First-term Rep. Mark Walker in the 6th District defeated Chris Hardin of Browns Summit in the Republican primary. Waiting for him in the general election is Democrat Pete Glidewell.
The 2nd District Democratic nominee will be Raleigh attorney John McNeil, who with most precincts reporting had a 2-to-1 lead over his closest competitor in the five-candidate race. McNeill will take on Holding, who defeated Ellmers and Brannon earlier Tuesday.
Sue Googe of Cary won the Republican 4th District primary over Teiji Kimball and will take on veteran Democratic Rep. David Price of Chapel Hill.
Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds and a Wake County Superior Court judge have advanced to the general election for a seat on North Carolina’s highest court.
Unofficial and nearly complete results show Edmunds and Michael Morgan finishing one-two in Tuesday’s officially nonpartisan primary for the bench. Trailing were Sabra Faires of Cary and Daniel Robertson of Advance.
Edmunds. who is from Greensboro, has served on the Supreme Court since 2001. The state Republican Party sent mailers and automated recorded calls featuring Gov. Pat McCrory urging people to vote for Edmunds. Morgan was backed by the state Democratic Party.
Last year, there seemed to be no need for a primary because the General Assembly passed a law allowing Edmunds to run by himself this coming November in an up-or-down referendum. But Faires and others sued, calling the “retention election” idea unconstitutional, and a three-judge panel agreed.
Other winners on Tuesday:
- John McNeil, Dem, nominated U.S. House, District 2
- Ernest Reeves, Dem, nominated U.S. House, District. 3
- Virginia Foxx, GOP, nominated U.S. House, District. 5
- Patrick McHenry, GOP, nominated U.S. House,. District 10