North Carolina congressional races highlighted for possible national impact

North Carolina voters have the opportunity to vote in their party primaries today, with polls open until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Offices up and down the ballot are up for grabs in an unusual, highly competitive campaign season.

Many voters will be casting their ballots for primary elections for state legislature, local government seats, sheriff and others.

But it’s North Carolina’s several congressional races which are getting highlighted today by the left-leaning Vox.com, which included some of those races in its article, “Every May 8 primary election you should know about, briefly explained.”

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In particular, Vox highlighted the state’s second congressional district, a suburban district right outside of Raleigh and currently held by incumbent Republican George Holding. Two Democrats are running — former state lawmaker Linda Coleman and tech entrepreneur Ken Romley — with hopes to face Holding in the fall. Holding does not have a challenger.

Why’s story with the race?

Vox explains: “North Carolina’s Second District isn’t one Democrats would typically be expected to do well in; in the center of the state, including the suburbs around Raleigh, it’s predominantly white and has an R+7 Cook’s rating. But in 2016, Holding’s margin of victory was smaller than that of most incumbent Republicans in North Carolina; he only defeated the Democratic first-time candidate with 57 percent of the vote. And weak approval ratings for Trump and an energized base have Democrats thinking they could flip the suburban district.”

Vox also says North Carolina might be home to the “next Conor Lamb,” referencing the moderate Democrat who ousted a Republican congressional incumbent in Pennsylvania during a special election this year.

Who’s that special someone? Vox says it’s Ninth Congressional District Democratic candidate Dan McCready, who, like Lamb, is a Marine Corps veteran who leans a bit more centrist.

McCready faces off today with primary challenger Christian Cano, an openly gay candidate who has made waves after calling McCready a “coward” and “pussy” and making other off-color remarks and insults about other leaders. (Vox points out that the state’s Democratic party had to ask Cano to apologize for his behavior and remarks, which he has done.)

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The winner of the Ninth District Democratic primary will face the eventual Republican primary winner in November. The GOP race includes incumbent Robert Pittenger and anti-LGBTQ extremist Mark Harris, the former pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte and former president of the North Carolina Baptist Convention.

Here’s how Vox explained this race: “The district, a heavily suburban area around Charlotte, has been gerrymandered so that Democrats haven’t been competitive in recent elections. But a combination of the current political climate and a Republican primary that has moved the candidates to the right has shifted the district’s Cook’s rating from Likely Republican to Lean Republican, making it one of the few districts Democrats think they could flip in the state.”

Also highlighted by Vox is North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.

Be sure to hop over to Vox for the full write-up, including their take on other races in Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer is a staff writer for QNotes. He previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015.