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Live updates: Super Tuesday 2024 Primary Elections in North Carolina

Published March 5, 2024 at 7:17 AM EST
2024 Primary Election Day in North Carolina
Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
Voters cast their ballot in the primary election in Wendell, North Carolina on March 5, 2024.

Good evening! Follow live updates as WUNC reporters, producers and editors cover primary Election Day 2024 across the Triangle. Digital producers Jason deBruyn and Eli Chen are curating the blog as results come in.

Mark Harris wins Republican primary for the 8th District

Posted March 5, 2024 at 11:55 PM EST

Charlotte pastor Mark Harris has won the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District.

As WFAE reported, Harris won with 30.44% of the vote, just above the 30% threshold to avoid a runoff election. He ran against five other candidates in this race.

Harris previously won a race for the 9th District in 2018, but was accused of ballot fraud. In the special election that followed, Dan Bishop, who is now running for attorney general, won the 9th District.

Public Schools

Morrow set to upset incumbent Truitt for State Superintendent

Posted March 5, 2024 at 10:42 PM EST
Republican candidate for State Superintendent Michele Morrow with her campaign team.
Michele Morrow campaign
Republican candidate for State Superintendent Michele Morrow with her campaign team.

Incumbent State Superintendent Catherine Truitt looks like she could be defeated in the Republican primary by her challenger Michele Morrow.

Morrow has never held public office before, having only run for a seat on the Wake County School Board in 2022, which she lost. Morrow says on her website that she has 16 years of experience in education, homeschooling her own children.

In the Democratic primary, former Guilford County School Superintendent Mo Green has a large lead over two other candidates.

Morrow has cast herself as more conservative than Truitt. In a chart Morrow displayed on her website, she portrays herself as further to the right on issues of parental rights, school safety and critical race theory. For example, Morrow points out that Truitt delayed implementation of the Parents Bill of Rights – a bill that Truitt also strongly supported and helped pass.

At a recent election forum that Morrow posted on her YouTube channel, she said she was running because she believes, "the biggest threat to our constitutional republic is the indoctrination happening right now in the public educational system in North Carolina."

Catherine Truitt has been a reliable supporter of Republicans in the General Assembly and an advocate of school choice. Her campaign donors include charter school advocates and some Republican Party chapters and clubs. Most of the contributions to Morrow's campaign in her most recent finance report come from individual donors giving $500 or less.

Morrow told WUNC's Due South talk show before the election that she believed she would defeat Truitt in the primary with an 80% to 20% margin. "I come to that number only because as I have been praying about what we're doing, that's the number that came to me," Morrow said.

Multiple incumbent state legislators lose their primaries

Posted March 5, 2024 at 10:41 PM EST

Several incumbent state legislators have lost their primaries, and others are trailing their challengers with a few more precincts left to count.

In Durham, state Sen. Mike Woodard is running far behind challenger Sophia Chitlik, a former staffer in the Obama administration. Only a few precincts are still remaining in Durham, making it unlikely Woodard will make up the difference. Woodard faced criticism in his party for working across the aisle with Republicans, and he recently lost a campaign for Durham mayor.

In Jacksonville, veteran state Rep. George Cleveland lost to political newcomer Wyatt Gable, a student at East Carolina University. Cleveland, who is in his 80s, is best known for sponsoring legislation for stricter immigration laws.

In Cabarrus County, challenger Brian Echevarria defeated incumbent Rep. Kevin Crutchfield following a campaign filled with attack ads. House Republican leaders rallied behind Crutchfield, but he came up short.

Incumbent Democratic Reps. Michael Wray and Cecil Brockman are within a few hundred votes of their challengers with a few precincts left to count. Both faced criticism for voting with Republicans.

A former state legislator, Michael Speciale, lost to New Bern Alderman Bob Brinson in a primary to replace departing Sen. Jim Perry, R-Lenoir.

Jeff Jackson wins Democratic Attorney General nomination, will face Dan Bishop in November

Posted March 5, 2024 at 10:11 PM EST

Rep. Jeff Jackson has won the Democratic nomination for North Carolina Attorney General, according to the Associated Press.

The Charlotte congressman had more than 50% of the vote over his opponents, Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry and Fayetteville lawyer Tim Dunn.

Deberry's campaign for attorney general also received funding from a mysterious PAC.

Jackson will face Republican Congressman and former state Sen. Dan Bishop of Union County in November.

Gerrymandering

Congressional primaries come down to the wire

Posted March 5, 2024 at 9:59 PM EST

The passage of a new Congressional map for this election season means that many races will be decided tonight, when voters choose which Republican will move on to the general election. But a candidate must first get at least 30% of the vote to avoid a possible runoff.

In the northeast corner of the state, the 1st District race for the GOP nomination pits Sandy Smith against Laurie Buckhout. The winner will face Democrat incumbent Don Davis. With about half of the vote in, Buckhout, a military veteran, has a 5 percentage point lead. Smith lost this race in the general election in 2020 and 2022.

Pastor and former congressional candidate Mark Harris has a slight lead in the republican primary in the 8th Congressional District. It runs from east of Charlotte across the southern border of North Carolina, to close to Fayetteville. Harris has not yet hit 30%, so that race could be headed to a runoff.

Another race very likely headed to a runoff is the Republican primary in the 13th Congressional District, where 11 candidates are vying for the nomination. Kelly Daughtry and Fred von Canon are in the lead, with 24% and 20%, respectively. 

There's a logjam at the top in the Republican primary in the 6th Congressional District. Three candidates – Trump-endorsed Addison McDowell, former congressman Mark Walker, and Christian Castelli – have separated themselves from the pack.

Voter ID

Voters adapt to new voter ID laws

Posted March 5, 2024 at 9:44 PM EST

Based on early numbers from the primaries, it looks like North Carolina voters are adapting to a relatively new photo ID requirement.

Out of more than 690,000 voters who cast ballots early, just 216 had to cast provisional ballots because they lacked a valid form of ID.

Elections officials will be reviewing data from Election Day over the next few days. But State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell said primary voters are typically politically active and more engaged than the larger pool of voters who turn out for general elections ‑ meaning additional education is needed for the November election.

"We're going to start putting out the billboards and the bus wraps," she said.

The State Board of Elections sent out mailers about photo ID to 4.9 million voter households prior to the primaries.

Several Republican primary races likely headed to a runoff election

Posted March 5, 2024 at 9:42 PM EST

Multiple Republican primary races could be headed to a runoff election.

Early returns are showing close races for lieutenant governor, state auditor and several congressional races — all on the GOP side, and with no candidates garnering more than 30% of the vote so far. The congressional races in runoff territory are the 8th district (east of Charlotte), the 6th district (Triad area) and the 13th district (outskirts of the Triangle), all of which have crowded fields of candidates.

That 30% number is the threshold for candidates to win the primary without a runoff. If there’s a runoff, voters would head back to the polls on May 14. Runoffs aren’t automatic though; it’s up to the second-place finisher in today’s primary to call for another election.

Some candidates in the past have decided instead to concede the race. Only voters who are registered Republicans, unaffiliated voters who didn’t vote in March, and unaffiliated voters who picked the GOP ballot in March will be eligible to participate in the runoff election.

Board of Elections

No rest for the weary; elections workers only partly done

Posted March 5, 2024 at 9:40 PM EST

While primary votes have been cast in North Carolina, elections administrators still have a lot of work to do.

Over the next 10 days, county elections boards will go through the vote certification process, which includes reconciling check-in sheets from polling sites with the number of ballots cast, updating voter history information, reviewing provisional ballots, and conducting hand-to-eye audits of ballots from randomly selected precincts.

County boards will also be counting mail-in ballots from military and overseas voters. State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell has been an elections administrator for 18 years, and says the period after an election is just as busy as the lead up to Election Day.

"I still have friends and family who reach out to me and say, 'Sure hope you get to take tomorrow off,'" she said. "We do not take the day after the election off."

The certification process culminates in the county canvass, the final tally of votes 10 days after Election Day.

Incumbent Catherine Truitt trailing Michele Morrow for State Superintendent

Posted March 5, 2024 at 9:35 PM EST

A race to watch has emerged in the Republican primary for State Superintendent.

Incumbent Catherine Truitt is trailing Michele Morrow by more than 25,000 votes with 65% of precincts reporting across the state.

Morrow is a self-described "lifelong Christian conservative." In Morrow's only other race for public office, she lost the second District race for Wake County School Board in 2022.

On the Democratic side, former Guilford County superintendent Mo Green leads the race for the Democratic nomination with two-thirds of the vote.

House Speaker Tim Moore wins Republican nomination for 14th congressional district

Posted March 5, 2024 at 8:27 PM EST
North Carolina House speaker and US Congressional candidate Tim Moore speaks to the crowd at a Trump rally in Greensboro, NC on March 2, 2024.
Matt Ramey
/
For WUNC
North Carolina House speaker and US Congressional candidate Tim Moore speaks to the crowd at a Trump rally in Greensboro, NC on March 2, 2024.

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore has easily won the Republican nomination for the 14th Congressional District seat.

The Associated Press called the race less than an hour after polls closed. Early returns showed that Moore, who has led the state House for nearly a decade, had more than 80% of the vote over two little-known opponents.

Moore has had his eye on a promotion to Congress for years, initially mulling a run two years ago before stepping aside when then-Congressman Madison Cawthorn switched districts, a move that would have forced Moore to run against the incumbent.

Moore, an attorney from Kings Mountain, presided over a state House that drew the new congressional district lines last fall. The new 14th district now runs from the Charlotte suburbs west to Morganton and Polk County. The new district leans heavily Republican, making it all but certain that Moore will head to Congress in January. Current 14th district Congressman Jeff Jackson, a Democrat, decided to run for attorney general instead of re-election after the district was redrawn.

Moore has said he expects one of his top deputies, House Rules Chairman Destin Hall, will replace him as speaker next year.

Top races in North Carolina have been called

Posted March 5, 2024 at 8:11 PM EST

The Associated Press has called the winners of the presidential and governor primaries in North Carolina.

As expected, Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primary minutes after polls closed, and Donald Trump won the Republican presidential primary.

AP has also called NC Attorney General Josh Stein the winner of the Democratic nomination for governor, and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson the winner of the Republican primary.

The Associated Press called the race shortly after 8 p.m. even as most election results haven’t been posted yet.

Early returns show Robinson with nearly two-thirds of the vote, far ahead of State Treasurer Dale Folwell and Salisbury attorney Bill Graham.

Graham spent millions of dollars of his personal fortunes on ads highlighting Robinson’s past comments about the Holocaust and other topics, but the commercials didn’t persuade GOP primary voters.

Robinson benefited from a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who praised him as “Martin Luther King on steroids” during a Greensboro rally over the weekend.

  • Read a preview of what to expect in the race for North Carolina governor.
VOTER VOICES

Two voters in Cary aim to set an example, take a stand

Posted March 5, 2024 at 3:45 PM EST

At the Herbert C. Young Community Center in Cary, 41-year-old Rita Shelton brought her two daughters out with her as she cast her ballot.

She says while she’s trying to set a good example for her daughters, she admits she’s not thrilled about the candidates running this election season.

“I see a lot of moral ambiguity going on in politics,” said Shelton. “It’s very discouraging. It’s not a great list of [candidates].”

43-year-old Robert Whitaker describes himself as an unaffiliated, more moderate voter.

“I don’t like extremes on either side, but I’m really concerned about some of the extremism on the far right,” said Whitaker. “I don’t like Donald Trump [and] I don’t like Michelle Morrow, so I took a Republican ticket and voted against them.”

Morrow is a Republican candidate running for the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Photos

Seeking Democratic nomination for NC Gov., Stein greets voters at the polls

Posted March 5, 2024 at 3:18 PM EST

Freelance photographer Matt Ramey captured these images on Super Tuesday for North Carolina Public Radio:

VOTING CHANGES

2024 primary is biggest test yet for NC voter I.D. law

Posted March 5, 2024 at 3:03 PM EST

In this year's primaries, North Carolina's photo I.D. law is getting its biggest test since being implemented last year.

The 2018 law had been on hold due to a state court ruling that it discriminated against Black voters. The list of valid I.D. includes state driver's licenses and photo I.D. issued by state and federal public assistance programs. The Republican-majority state Supreme Court reinstated the law last year in time for the relatively low turnout municipal elections.

State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell told reporters Tuesday that 216 voters cast provisional ballots because they lacked proper I.D. out of more than 690,000 who participated in early voting.

"We believe this is a strong sign that the word is getting out that you should bring your I.D. to vote," she said.

voter voices

In Raleigh, voting is important for folks who remember a time when they couldn't

Posted March 5, 2024 at 1:29 PM EST
Tamara Bridges voted at the Barwell Road Community Center in Wake County on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
Brianna Atkinson
/
WUNC
Tamara Bridges voted at the Barwell Road Community Center in Wake County on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

It's primary Election Day in North Carolina, and voters across the state are casting their ballots.

One of those people is Tamara Bridges, who voted in Raleigh with her 80-year-old mother.

"She wasn't always allowed to vote. And her family wasn't always allowed to vote," Bridges said. "So, it's important to me that we get out here for our history, and to help make decisions that we weren't always able to make."

Tangie and Asa Fleming also voted at the Barwell Road Community Center in Wake County.

"The way to really impact change is to actually get out and make a difference and do your civic duty, which is to vote," Asa Fleming said. "I am a Black man and people died so that I could have the right to do it. So just to honor them, I come out and make sure I get it done."

VOTER VOICES

Voters in Alamance County see voting as a 'civic duty'

Posted March 5, 2024 at 1:20 PM EST

David and Michelle Bainbridge are from Liberty in Alamance County. They both said it was important to them to vote today.

"It's our civic duty, but it's our responsibility and I felt bad not voting so it felt like the right thing to do," David said.

Michelle added: "I think it's an honor to vote."

North Carolina is one of 15 states across the U.S. holding primaries on Super Tuesday.

Al Freitas also brought family along to cast his ballot from Liberty in Alamance County. His son Tucker is a first-time voter. Al said to him, voting is his civic duty.

"You know, it's to get the people we want in office" Freitas said. "If you don't vote, you can't complain."

ELECTION ISSUES

State election officials: 'minor disruptions' at a few polls

Posted March 5, 2024 at 1:18 PM EST

It's primary Election Day in North Carolina, and there are about 2,600 polling places open across the state Tuesday.

State election officials say so far, there have been a few issues, including power outages, printer jams, and longer lines at some voting locations.

But they called those "minor disruptions."

Polls close at 7:30 p.m.

VOTER VOICES

For one mom, voting was painless in Durham

Posted March 5, 2024 at 1:11 PM EST
Nyssa Tucker (pictured), a registered unaffiliated voter, shows off her "I Voted" sticker after casting a ballot at Durham's Lyons Farm Elem
Sophie Mallinson
/
WUNC
Nyssa Tucker (pictured), a registered unaffiliated voter, shows off her "I Voted" sticker after casting a ballot at Durham's Lyons Farm Elementary School on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

The polling location at Durham's Lyons Farm Elementary School had a full parking lot on the morning of Tuesday's Election Day.

One voter, Sarah Hill, said casting her vote was smooth and easy. She had her two young children in tow, and said democracy is the most important thing.

"They needed to come and see what voting is all about. They've been asking a lot of questions," Hill said. "Who are you voting for? So we went ahead and did our research this morning and here we are."

One of her children chimed in: "I did not research."

And the other: "I didn't either!"

Nyssa Tucker also voted at Lyons Farm Elementary on Tuesday. A registered unaffiliated voter, Tucker said voting is important because, "You've got to let them know what's going on. You've got to reflect the environment back at the people in power."

Helping Voters

Organizers in Raleigh offer gentle reminders about polling sites

Posted March 5, 2024 at 1:08 PM EST
Jerome Brown (left) and Charles Rodman (right) with the Wake County Voter Education Coalition are helping folks at Chavis Community Center near downtown Raleigh find their correct polling site on March 5, 2024.
Celeste Gracia
/
WUNC
Jerome Brown (left) and Charles Rodman (right) with the Wake County Voter Education Coalition are helping folks at Chavis Community Center near downtown Raleigh find their correct polling site on March 5, 2024.

Local organizations are reminding voters that they must vote at their assigned polling place on Election Day.

This is different than early voting, where voters can go to any early voting site in their registered county.

At Chavis Community Center near downtown Raleigh, several people came to vote only to realize the center was not their correct polling location.

Charles Rodman is the vice chair of the Wake County Voter Education Coalition. He's been standing outside the community center to help voters since polls opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"If you come to us and ask us, either we can tell you where you should go, or go into the facility and they can tell you where you need to vote,” Rodman said. "You have to keep up with it every voting cycle."

Rodman says people may get confused because it can be hard to follow the different rules.

Eastern NC

Low turnout for early voting in New Hanover County

Posted March 5, 2024 at 11:51 AM EST

Less than 9% of registered voters in New Hanover County have turned out in early voting for this year’s primary, down from the last presidential election in 2020, when more than 11% of registered voters voted early. That presidential primary saw a total of 31% turnout in New Hanover County.

In 2020, many more Democrats turned out than Republicans, with 33,809 Democratic ballots cast and 18,650 Republican ballots cast. That was likely because the Republican presidential ticket was uncontested at the time.

This year’s primary looks likely to be something of a reversal, with a contested Republican presidential primary.

  • Read more here about Election Day in eastern North Carolina from our partners at WHQR.
From BPR

Western NC heads to the polls

Posted March 5, 2024 at 11:30 AM EST

"Women's rights, abortion rights, LGBTQ rights … All that is extremely important," said Katherine Lloyd, who voted this past Saturday at the Library in east Asheville with her son Cameron, a student at UNC Asheville.

Cameron Lloyd said affordable housing was among the issues that top his list.

"There are people, locals, natives who grew up in Asheville and they're getting driven out because of the increasing prices of housing," he said. "You know, a lot of it is due to the rising touristy aspect of Asheville... And, and so that's something for sure that we need to fix and work on."

Mark Totman, who had voted and was volunteering in the Republican Party tent at the library in east Asheville on Saturday said: "I'd like to see more conservative people on the ballot or in offices. It’s a very liberal area. So, I think we could use more conservative people."

  • Read more here about Election Day in western North Carolina from our partners at Blue Ridge Public Radio.
VOTER ID

Non-profit aims to provide guidance at Wake County polling site

Posted March 5, 2024 at 11:13 AM EST

A nonprofit organization is at a Wake County polling location on Tuesday to help voters learn more about the new voting rules. Volunteers with El Pueblo are standing outside of Barwell Road Community Center in Raleigh.

Elke Weil Millan is El Pueblo's development and special projects manager.

She says providing information to the community is especially important this year, with the state's new voter I.D. requirement.

“We're here to protect everyone's vote,” Millan said. “We're not here, just to vote, just to ensure that specific people get their vote counted. We're here for the community, we want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to vote, and that their voter, that their vote is not suppressed.”

Anyone voting in a North Carolina election must have some form of identification in order to cast their ballot.

Voter Voices

NC Governor's race, immigration is the focus for some voters

Posted March 5, 2024 at 10:02 AM EST
Christine Edwards voted at Sycamore Creek Elementary in Wake County on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. She is especially paying attention to the races for U.S. President and North Carolina Governor.
Celeste Gracia
/
WUNC
Christine Edwards voted at Sycamore Creek Elementary in Wake County on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. She is especially paying attention to the races for U.S. President and North Carolina Governor.

At Sycamore Creek Elementary School in Wake County, 44-year-old Megan Boyles says issues she's worried about include immigration and local education.

“I was just telling my son, who I brought with me, that it's important to vote because we have a right to vote and it's important for us to participate in events that we can participate in,” Boyles said. “Just because if we don't I feel like that kind of takes away our say.”

Meanwhile, Christine Edwards says she's especially paying attention to the races for U.S. President and North Carolina Governor.

“You know, I think that we got a lot of issues nationally and I think that we ignore what's going on in our own backyards, and the impact we have at a local level and so I think it's really important to get out,” Edwards said.

Super Tuesday Issues

Abortion is driving Democrats to the polls in North Carolina

Posted March 5, 2024 at 7:48 AM EST

Concerns about new restrictions on abortion are motivating voters and candidates alike in North Carolina primary races. It's an issue that the Biden campaign hopes will energize voters not just on Super Tuesday, but also in November's presidential election.

Only one Democratic presidential candidate has won this state in modern times – former President Barack Obama, in 2008, by the narrowest of margins.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he believes this issue will put North Carolina in play. He isn't running this time – the state has term limits – but the race to replace him is shaping up to be a barn burner, and the Republican supermajority in the state legislature is on the line, too.

"When you add issues like reproductive freedom, when you add the biggest governor's race in the country — those things, I think, come together to make North Carolina ground zero in 2024," Cooper told NPR in an interview at the governor's mansion in Raleigh.

"You can care about more than one issue, but this is one where we need to make clear about the stark difference between Republicans and Democrats. Women's reproductive freedom depends on getting Democrats elected across this country and particularly in North Carolina," Cooper said.

  • Read more here from NPR’s Tamara Keith and Jeongyoon Han on how the issue of abortion is impacting voters on Super Tuesday in North Carolina.

Polls open

Election Day begins

Posted March 5, 2024 at 7:34 AM EST

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. until 7-30 p.m. for primary elections on Tuesday across North Carolina.

A new wrinkle this year: Voters must show a photo I.D. to cast a ballot.

Congressional Races

Money talks for NC’s 5 open U.S. House seats

Posted March 5, 2024 at 7:24 AM EST
2024 Super Tuesday Primary - Early Voting in Durham
Mitchell Northam
/
WUNC
Voters show up for early voting ahead of Super Tuesday at the Durham County South Regional Library on Feb. 29, 2024.

North Carolinians like to joke that their congressional lines are good for one election only thanks to legal wrangling over partisan redistricting. This year's example - 10 of the state's 14 congressional districts heavily favor Republicans. That's thanks to new maps drawn by the GOP-held legislature. Five of those Republican-friendly districts have no incumbent. Voters are hearing a lot from the 34 different Republicans running across the five seats.

Many of those candidates have so far spent at least $50,000 of their own money. That's a total of more than $6 million. Political newcomer Fred Von Canon alludes to his finances in a TV ad that suggests money won't influence him in Congress.

But this year's short election timeline may place more value on money and candidates who can chip in their own cash on Day 1. The new maps were released in late October. That gave candidates little time to persuade individual donors to help their campaigns. One person voters in the 13th district won't be considering is their current representative. Democrat Wiley Nickel decided not to run for reelection after his district was redrawn. He's now pushing for redistricting reform.

  • Read more here from Colin Campbell on how North Carolina’s Republican candidates for congress are spending big.
Campaign Finance

GOP backing Deberry in NC AG Democratic primary

Posted March 5, 2024 at 7:23 AM EST

The national Republican Attorneys General Association has spent more than $1 million supporting a Democrat in North Carolina.

New campaign finance filings show the group is behind an ad campaign encouraging Democrats to vote for Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry in the Super Tuesday primary.

The spending on TV commercials and text messages far exceeds the amount spent by Deberry's campaign. One of her primary opponents, Congressman Jeff Jackson, says the effort shows Republicans don't want to run against him in November. Jackson’s campaign has raised more than $2 million.

The winner in the Democratic primary will face Republican Congressman and former state Sen. Dan Bishop of Union County – who is running unopposed in the primary – in November’s general election.

  • Read more here from Colin Campbell on the showdown between Jackson and Deberry.
Election Changes

Prepare for slower ballot counts

Posted March 5, 2024 at 7:19 AM EST

State elections officials are urging voters to turn out for primary Election Day, but to be patient as they await results because a law passed by the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly changed the timing for processing early votes.

In the past, elections boards could tabulate mail-in and early ballots ahead of Election Day. Then, as soon as Election Day polls closed at 7:30 p.m., those stored results could get released. Now, under the new law, early votes cannot be run through tabulators until after polls close on Election Day.

State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell told reporters that means a later start to a multi-step process.

"To tabulate and close down those machines, to export the results and upload those into our system," she explained.

  • Read more here from Rusty Jacobs on election changes this year and how early voting went.