This month for “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” we focused on the importance of voting in the North Carolina primary elections. You can watch the whole video with guest Aylett Colston below. Since we have election results now, we wanted to take a look at a few of things things we saw emerge last night.

Incumbents Felt the Heat

For a variety of reasons, there were several high profile incumbent losses in yesterday’s election. Duane Hall (D; NC-11) and Beverly Boswell (R; NC-06) both had plenty of well-deserved negative headlines chasing them in the last few months. As a result, their challengers were victorious. Allison Dahle wiped out Hall by earning more than double the votes. The #MeToo movement made its presence known in this race.

GOP Rep for NC-09, Robert Pittenger, lost his primary race to a previous challenger. What is perhaps more interesting to note, is that the Democratic winner, Dan McCready, earned more votes than all three of the Republican candidates in the GOP primary. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come for November.

Redistricting advocates Justin Burr (NC-67) and Bob Rucho (NC-34) also lost their primaries. Burr is leading the efforts to push judicial redistricting through the legislature prematurely, against the advice and will of judges and attorneys across the state. Rucho, a former NC State Senator, is best known for his role in gerrymandering the state back in 2011 which has now cost taxpayers over $50M in legal fees and created the extremist supermajority we have today.

The News & Observer has an excellent summary of the incumbent defeats for the night.

Turnout Was Low

According to the NC State Board of Elections website, turnout for these primaries was at 14.25%. While non-presidential election years tend to to have lower turnout, this still is not a great number. We need to do better in November if we want to enact real change, elect more progressives to the NCGA to eliminate the supermajority, and stop the White House’s agenda in Congress.

Other Interesting Points to Note

In the NC-35 House race, Rep. Chris Malone had a closer than expected win over his challenger. As Jonathan Kappler pointed out on Twitter, could this be a sign of things to come for the race against Terence Everitt in November? Terence narrowly lost to Malone in 2016, let’s hope for a different result this year!

According to Gender Watch 2018, 6 of the 25 NC races for US House have female candidates across both parties. Of the six, three are black women. As we talked about during our discussions on Intersectionality, let’s do what we can to uplift these women and support their platforms.


Take a look at this month’s episode of “This Is What Democracy Looks Like”. Please excuse the funky camera angle for the first 2.5 minutes – we were “flipping” over the prospect of flipping the NCGA!