The Upcoming June Primary: What You Need To Know
Many Triad-area voters will be in new districts when they cast their ballots for the quickly approaching congressional primary.
How Did We Get Here?
State mapmakers redrew the boundaries after a federal court determined they were racially gerrymandered. That decision came just a few weeks before the March 15 primary, so the congressional primary was pushed back to June 7. Early voting begins Thursday and runs through June 4.
The voting day is normally reserved for runoff elections. Because the congressional primary takes that slot, there now will be no runoffs. That means any given candidate can win by just one vote.
Tar Heel voters cast ballots for president and most other offices in March, so many are expecting this primary to have low turnout. In 2014, 44,000 GOP voters went to the polls in the Sixth District – this election will likely have a fraction of that amount.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that congressional candidates were on the March ballots - but those were under the old districts and those votes won't count.
How Have The Triad-Area Districts Changed?
The new Piedmont Districts that have been redrawn are generally more compact and include more whole counties than the previous maps. And while they have some increased diversity with the addition of the former 12th District residents, they are still overall reliably Republican.
- The former 12th District once ran from Greensboro to Mecklenburg County and included parts of downtown Winston-Salem and High Point. The 12th is now entirely in Mecklenburg.
- The Fifth District adds Surry and Stokes counties back into the fold – they had been part of the district when Rep. Virginia Foxx first won her seat in 2004 but were placed in the Sixth District in 2011. Foxx is running for re-election. She faces a primary challenge from newcomer Pattie Curran. The Democratic primary has three candidates – Josh Brannon, who lost to Foxx in 2014, Charlie Wallin and Jim Roberts.
- The Sixth District had run largely along the Virginia border but now is more compact and runs further south. First-term incumbent Mark Walker is running for re-election. He’ll face Chris Hardin in the Republican primary, and the winner will run against Democrat Pete Glidewell in November.
- The 13th District had been in eastern North Carolina, with much of the district east of Raleigh. It now begins in the High Point area in Guilford County and includes Lexington, Mocksville and Statesville. It’s an open seat – incumbent George Holding has decided to run in the Second District. That has created a flurry of interest among Republicans. Seventeen GOP candidates have filed, a figure reminiscent of the early days of this year’s Republican presidential primary which once had the same number. Five Democrats have also filed to run.
(Confused about what district you are in now? Check out this handy tool from the North Carolina State Board of Elections to find out. )
NC Supreme Court
Voters statewide will also be asked to elect one seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. Justice Robert H. Edmunds Jr. is the incumbent.
The General Assembly tried to change the election law to make Edmunds’ seat the first to face a retention election. Had that change held up, Edmunds would not face opposition. Instead, voters would basically give a thumbs up or down on whether he should remain on the bench.
That measure also failed to pass the courts’ scrutiny. Edmunds now faces three primary opponents – Mike Morgan of Raleigh, Daniel Robinson of Advance, and Sabra Faires of Wake County. The two top vote-getters will advance to the November general election.
New Voting Rules
The March primary ushered in a new series of voting rules which will largely remain in effect. You’ll still need a photo ID to vote. Same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will also be available, but this is the last election that those two provisions are scheduled to be in place.
(More information on what you need in order to vote on June 7 is available at the North Carolina State Board of Election's website.)