It was an evening of brisk departures, expected victories and surprises in the North Carolina primary election.
State of play: More than 109,000 people voted, including 43,000 who voted early, per the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. The latter set a new record for a primary election in a non-presidential year, according to Mecklenburg Elections director Michael Dickerson.
Of note: Voter turnout rose after the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion indicating the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Separately, absentee ballots will be counted if they were postmarked by Election Day. They will not be counted if they arrive after 5pm on the Friday following the election.
Why it matters: You can only vote for one party in a primary, and the results determine which candidates from each party face off in November, meaning some races are essentially determined in the primary given the Democratic party dominates in Charlotte.
- Keep in mind, local leaders make the decisions impacting our daily lives — from setting property tax rates to pandemic response.
By the numbers: Mecklenburg County has just under 788,000 registered voters: 42.4% registered Democrat, 20.6% registered Republican and 36.2% registered unaffiliated.
- Unaffiliated voters recently became the largest group registered in North Carolina.
Our 2022 primary election superlatives:
🏃🏻♂️💨 Quickest exit: Pat McCrory
😳 Most likely to jump the gun: Madison Cawthorn
👀 Most interesting newcomer: Stephanie Hand
🪧 Most consistent: Pat Cotham
Now for the primary results:
Of note: Again, these are primary results. They do not reflect every name that will be on your ballot in November.
Incumbent Spencer Merriweather, the county’s first Black district attorney, beat former public defender Tim Emry. There is no Republican opponent for the general election.
Why it matters: If Roe v. Wade is overturned and North Carolina bans abortions, it will be up to the district attorney to enforce laws passed by the state and federal officials, placing him at the center of a debate about whether to prosecute abortions.
- In the prior two elections, Merriweather showed a quiet and steady political power, winning at least 70% of the vote in each.
Incumbent Sheriff Gary McFadden, a former homicide detective and reality TV star, beat two Democratic challengers: Aujiena (Gina) Hicks, who fired by McFadden in 2019, and Marquis Robinson. He is unopposed in the general election.
- McFadden became sheriff in 2018, making national headlines as “The sheriff who’s defying ICE” less than a year after being sworn in.
- Of note: Hicks was the first Black woman to run for sheriff.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, a Democrat who is running for her third term, will face Republican Stephanie de Sarachaga-Bilbao, a first-time candidate with a background in media and finance.
Charlotte City Council
Why it matters: Expect to see new faces on council, as members like Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt chose not to run for reelection.
- Greg Phipps, who was appointed in 2021 to fill James “Smuggie” Mitchell‘s vacant at-large seat, isn’t running.
- District 1 Rep. Larken Egleston ran at-large and lost.
Why it matters: If there was a race to watch, this was it, but not for the reasons we initially thought.
Incumbent at-large council member Braxton Winston received the most votes in the Democratic primary.
Go deeper: Braxton Winston brings home most votes in Democratic City Council primary
District 1: It covers parts of Uptown, and neighborhoods just to the North, East and South, including Plaza Midwood, Dilworth, Druid Hills and NoDa.
District 2: Incumbent Democrat Malcolm Graham, whose district covers much of west Charlotte, will face Republican Mary Lineberger Barnett.
District 3: Incumbent Democrat Victoria Watlington, whose district includes southwest Charlotte, will face Republican James H. Bowers.
District 4: Incumbent Democrat Renee Perkins Johnson, whose district includes northern Charlotte, is unopposed in the general.
District 5: Democrat Marjorie Molina, a member of the city’s Equitable Development Commission, is also unopposed in the general.
District 6: United Methodist clergy person Stephanie Hand will try to unseat incumbent Republican Tariq Bokhari in southeast Charlotte.
District 7: Incumbent Republican Ed Driggs will represent the Ballantyne area for another term. He faces no primary or general election opponents.
Of note: You can view an interactive map of City Council district boundaries here.
Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners
At-large: Longtime commissioner Ella Scarborough is on medical leave and will not be running for reelection.
District 2: Incumbent Vilma Leake beat Angela Edwards in the Democratic primary. Edwards also ran against Leake in 2018.
District 6: Incumbent Susan Rodriguez-McDowell did not have an opponent in the Democratic primary, but Republican Jeremy Brasch, who previously ran for an at-large seat, beat Desiree Zapata Miller, the former president of the Mecklenburg Republican Women’s Club.
Mecklenburg County has six state Senate districts (see printable map, and interactive map for street-level detail). Only one had multiple candidates in a primary.
Representing southeast Charlotte, Republican cardiologist Cheryl Russo will face current state Rep. Rachel Hunt, a democrat.
Of note: Mecklenburg has 13 state House districts.
This south Charlotte/Matthews seat is being vacated by Rachel Hunt, who’s running for the state Senate seat above.
- Rachel Hunt, who is vacating this seat to run for state Senate, asked attorney Laura Budd to run. Budd will face Republican state Rep. Bill Brawley, who lost his old seat to Hunt in 2018.
Covers north Charlotte around I-77.
Covers Mint Hill and parts of east Charlotte.
- Former state Rep. Democrat Tricia Cotham will face Republican Tony Long.
The race to fill incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s seat continues to draw national attention. Democrat Cheri Beasley will face U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, who was endorsed by former President Trump.
Go deeper: Trump-endorsed Ted Budd wins N.C. GOP Senate primary
Of note: Beasley, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, raised a reported $3.7 million in the first quarter.
- And on the Republican side, former Charlotte Mayor and Gov. Pat McCrory was an early exit Tuesday night. AP called the race 17 minutes after the polls closed.
Legal challenges over redistricting reshaped Charlotte-area residents’ representation in Congress, dividing the county into two districts: The 12th and the 14th.
The district, which includes north Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County, favors Democrats, with 64% of the votes in its precincts going to President Biden in 2020.
Democratic incumbent Rep. Alma Adams will face Republican real estate investor Tyler Lee.
Another Democrat-leaning district, it includes south Mecklenburg and Gaston County — 57% of the voters in its precincts favored Biden in 2020.
Democratic State Sen. Jeff Jackson, who dropped out of the U.S. Senate race late last year, will face Republican Pat Harrigan, a Hickory resident who owns a firearms manufacturing company. Both served in the military.
District 26D: Democrat David H. Strickland beat Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Roy H. Wiggins.
- Strickland does not have a Republican opponent in the general election.
District Court: District 26
Seat 18: Democrat Cecila Oseguera, a bilingual Spanish speaker with two decades of experience as an attorney, beat Keith Smith. Oseguera does not have a GOP opponent for November.
Seat 19: Mecklenburg County magistrate Samantha Mobley, a Democrat, beat assistant public defender Belal Elrahal. Mobley also does not have an opponent in the general.
Seat 01: Shante’ Burke-Hayer, who practices family law, beat Mecklenburg County magistrate Christopher Bazzle, and will not face a competitor in November.
N.C. Supreme Court
Seat 05: Republican Curtis “Trey” Allen, a former Marine who was appointed general counsel for the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts in 2021, will face Democrat Judge Sam Ervin IV, who was elected to the state Supreme Court on Nov. 4, 2014.
N.C. Court of Appeals
District 9: Republican Donna Stroud, the current chief judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals will face Democrat Judge Brad Salmon.
District 11: Michael Stading, a Republican who served as a prosecutor in Mecklenburg County and a District Court judge, and currently serves as a JAG officer in the Air Force, will face Democrat Judge Darren Jackson, who was appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper to the Court of Appeals in 2020.
July 26: The Charlotte City Council general election was pushed back because of census delays and rescheduled for July.
Sept. 9: Absentee ballots mailed out for the general election.
Oct. 20-Nov. 5: Early voting for the general election.
Nov. 8: Election Day. You can vote from 6:30am-7:30pm at your designated polling place.
Additional resources: Use voter search to check if you’re registered.