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Primary Recall

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt
N.C. General Assembly


For many election cycles, North Carolina held its primary in early May. This year the state hosts two primary elections. State lawmakers chose an earlier date (eventually settling on March 15th) with the hopes of being a more prominent, visible, player during the national race.

Then, due to the ruling of a federal three-judge panel in a redistricting case, the congressional primaries were pushed back. Those 13 races will now take place in early June. Up for grabs in the state are 107 delegates on the Democratic side, and 72 in the Republican race. There are 14 Democratic superdelegates. 

Overall, the state has a sizable number of delegates in play relative to other states.  But with Senator Marco Rubio's home state of Florida, Governor John Kasich's home state of Ohio, as well as potential winner-take-all scenarios in Illinois and Missouri all part of this Mega-Tremendous Tuesday, North Carolina is hovering beneath the radar.

The polls close on this Mega Tuesday at 7:30. Results are expected to flow in over the following hours.

Before the results are in, consider some reflections on primary nights past.

What memories do you have of previous primaries? Were there particular campaigns or candidates who resonated (or didn't) for you? Share your primary recall with us…

Carter Wrenn, longtime Republican Strategist and Jesse Helms' staffer:

"The biggest primary I was in was Reagan here in '76. As a primary it ended up palying a pretty big role in national politics because it turned Reagan's presidential campaign around and that was sort of key to his eventual election in '80."

Reagan didn't win the GOP nomination in 1976, losing narrowly to incumbent Gerald Ford following a contested convention.

Carter Wrenn at his office in Raleigh.
Credit Jeff Tiberii
Carter Wrenn at his office in Raleigh.

Aubrey Montgomery, Principal at Rittenhouse Political Partners - Fundraising Consulting firm based in Philadelphia. Her organization works primarily with Democrats:

"Primaries are just family fights. Primaries end up being just emotionally difficult, because you know it's with people you generally agree with."

Montgomery says the political battles of the spring are like those around the holidays.

Brandon Lenoir, former TV reporter at WLNS (Michigan), current professor of Political Science at High Point University. Lenoir remembered a slew of Democratic presidential hopefuls in 2004. He remembered this about John and Elizabeth Edwards:

"He was very smooth. He was the quintessential politician. And he also sent his wife as a surrogate to Michigan. And she actually provided more substance than her husband did. He stayed very consistently on his talking points and didn't veer from them. He was personable. But it was very mechanical."

Professor Brandon Lenoir also sat down with Vermont Governor Howard Dean 12 years ago, and made a joke that fell flat. Hear the full story here.


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