May 10, 2022 - Politics

What to watch: North Carolina primary edition

Illustration of a checkmark over a square changing into a question mark.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Some consequential races will be on your primary ballot. If you're just tuning in (or not) here are a few things we're watching:

U.S. Senate Republican primary

  • If U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, who has led polls in recent weeks, wins this race, it will tell us how much North Carolina voters care about former President Donald Trump's endorsement.
  • It will also serve as a reminder of the power of big spending in elections. Budd, who Trump endorsed in June 2021, is also backed by Club for Growth, a powerful conservative political action committee that has spent some $11 million in the race so far, according to federal election commission filings.
  • Budd's top contenders are former Gov. Pat McCrory, who is widely known by voters across the state and whose campaign has spent slightly more than Budd's, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and Marjorie Eastman, a political newcomer.

Fourth District Democratic primary

  • As we reported in our newsletter Friday, an influx of outside money is being poured into this race, which polls show state Sen. Valerie Foushee, Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken leading.
  • Asher Hildebrand, former chief of staff to retiring U.S. Rep. David Price, told The News & Observer that the race is "kind of a microcosm of debates over the future of the Democratic Party."
  • If Foushee wins, it will serve in part as a reminder of the power of Democratic establishment, which has backed her in full force.

13th District Republican primary

  • North Carolina's 13th Congressional district is one of the most competitive races in the state.
  • But the Republican primary battle feels a bit like 26-year-old Bo Hines vs. everyone else. Hines, like Budd, is backed by Trump and Club for Growth spending.
  • The race is crowded, but if Hines wins, his opponents will have failed in their attempts to cast him as an outsider to the district.

13th District Democratic primary

  • The winner of this race will play a role in whether the party can hold onto this seat in November.
  • Former state Sen. Sam Searcy and state Sen. Wiley Nickel are two of the leading candidates in this race.

Wake County Sheriff Democratic primary

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that former state Sen. Sam Searcy has not been formally endorsed by the Democratic party’s congressional campaign arm. We removed a phrase that said he was.


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