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2024 Primary Results: The Surprises and the Locks

November takes shape

Yvette Townsend-Ingram, a winner in the 2024 primaries
Yvette Townsend-Ingram came in third place in Tuesday’s primaries, edging out longtime commissioner Pa Cotham.

The results are in from Tuesday’s primaries, with candidates finalizing their slots for the general election in November.

With the presidential candidates pretty well locked in, all eyes were on the statewide and local races. The biggest surprise of the night came in a local race, so we’ll start there.

Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners

In what was the biggest surprise of the night for Mecklenburg County, longtime commissioner Pat Cotham was ousted from her seat after 12 years on the Board of Commissioners. With incumbents Leigh Altman and Arthur Griffin, Jr. taking the first two spots, respectively, Cotham fell to fourth behind Yvette Townsend-Ingram, director of foundation relations at Johnson C. Smith University.

It’s believed that Cotham, the top vote-getter in the 2022 primary and general election, struggled due to her connection with daughter Tricia Cotham, who won her seat in the NC House as a Democrat then switched political parties, giving the Republicans a supermajority in the process.

Read more: Democrats React to Tricia Cotham’s Decision to Switch Parties

According to the NC State Board of Elections, Cotham fell more than 13,700 votes short of Townsend-Ingram, who garnered 23.76% of the vote compared to Cotham’s 17.48%.

In other county races, incumbents Vilma Leake and George Dunlap won their respective races, as Leake will now face Republican Angela Edwards White in the general and Dunlap will skate to another term unopposed.

North Carolina governor

Both gubernatorial primaries were called rather early in the night, as current NC Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, will faceoff with current Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican, for a spot in the Governor’s Mansion.

While Stein has confronted large corporations in fights over rape kit backlogs, opioid settlements, coal ash cleanup and teen vaping, among other issues, Robinson has been busy spouting hate speech and conspiracy theories, calling the Holocaust “hogwash” and pushing for the arrest of trans people who use public facilities based on their gender identification.

“Mark Robinson’s ascension to the Republican nomination for Governor in our state is a disturbing signal of how extreme the GOP establishment has become in North Carolina,” wrote Allison Scott, director of impact and innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality, in a statement on Tuesday night.

“This is a man who has called LGBTQ+ people ‘filth,’ has helped make the NCGA a testing ground for extreme policies that harm all of us, and has called for transgender women like me to be arrested because of who we are. He wants a North Carolina where it’s prohibitively hard for us to exist — but we won’t let that happen. All fair-minded North Carolinians must come together in the months ahead and show that there is no place for Mark Robinson’s hateful, divisive rhetoric and policy stances in our state.”

Other statewide races

Current US Rep. Jeff Jackson beat out former Durham District Attorney Satana Deberry for the Deomcratic Attorney General nomination with 55% of the vote compared to Deberry’s 33%.

Jackson will now face his current colleague in the US House, Dan Bishop, a lackey of former President Donald Trump who voted against certifying the presidential election results in 2021.

“The job of Attorney General is to stand between the people of the state and those that mean them harm. It’s not about culture wars — it’s just about doing what’s right,” Jackson wrote in a victory statement on Tuesday. “We need an Attorney General that will defend our kids from fentanyl and keep them safe online, go after scammers who target our bank accounts, and corporations who break the rules and pollute our water.”

Former CMS COO and deputy superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green will be the Democratic candidate for NC Superintendent of Public Education, facing off against Republican Michelle Morrow who homeschooled all five of her children and has taken strong stances against public schools, calling them “socialism centers” and “indoctrination centers.”

Morrow also filmed herself participating in the Jan. 6 riot, stating that she brought her eldest children there in order to teach them “a lesson about citizens’ role in a democracy,” according to WRAL. She upset incumbent Superintendent Catherine Truitt.

North Carolina General Assembly

In NC Senate races that included Mecklenburg County voters, Democrat Caleb Theodoros beat out three opponents in the District 41 race, guaranteeing him a seat. In District 42, Republican Stacie McGinn beat Jaime Daniell. The two have been involved in a defamation suit over which one of them is as steadfast against diversity as they claim to be.

McGinn will now face Mary Bradley in the general election.

In the NC House races affecting Mecklenburg County, Democrat Nicole Sidman will face Tricia Cotham in the District 105 race. In District 98, Democratic primary winner Beth Gardner Helfrich will now face Republican Melinda Bales, while incumbent District 106 rep Carla Cunningham will keep her seat after winning Tuesday’s primary.

A reported 147,269 voters turned out to vote in Tuesday’s primaries, or about 18.67% of registered voters in the county. Statewide, the 1,780,332 voters who shoed up on Tuesday make up 23.88% of registered voters.

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