RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — By the end of the night Tuesday, one sitting U.S. House member from North Carolina will be out of a job in January.
The most watched race in Tuesday’s congressional primaries is the 2nd District GOP, where two sitting members of Congress are running against each other for the first time since 2012: George Holding of Raleigh and Renee Ellmers of Dunn. Cary obstetrician Greg Brannon is also in the race.
Although turnout across the state has been light, more voters could go to the polls in the redrawn 2nd District, where both Holding and Ellmers have flooded the airways with ads and made extensive efforts to get out the vote.
The two ended up pitted against each other after federal judges in February struck down twoNorth Carolina congressional district boundaries as illegal racial gerrymanders. The state legislature redrew parts of all 13 districts in the state and delayed the congressional primary originally set for March 15. Holding decided to run in the new 2nd, which absorbed significant portions of the old 13th District he represented.
Voters at Apex Baptist Church were divided over whom they support in the race.
Greg Fiorentino said he saw little substantial difference between Ellmers’ and Holding’s work in Washington, but he was swayed to Ellmers because he saw her running a less negative election campaign.
Hugo Canedo said he voted for Holding because he considers him the more conservative of the two representatives.
The most significant influx of money has come from outside groups seeking to defeat Ellmers or elect Holding.
The Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and American Foundations Committee combined have spent well over $1 million, accusing Ellmers of not being conservative on fiscal issues and failing to challenge President Barack Obama’s administration.
The ad blitz made an impression on attorney Mark Montgomery of Wake Forest, who made up his mind at the last minute to vote for Brannon over Holding. He ruled Ellmers out earlier because of her record on spending.
“She didn’t do what she promised, and instead followed the Washington elite,” he said. “She didn’t hold Obama’s feet to the fire.”
Ellmers, once the favorite of tea party activists who helped elect her in 2010, said the outside spending is retribution for not following the groups’ agendas closely enough. Holding, a former federal prosecutor, was first elected in 2012. Brannon finished second in the past two GOP U.S. Senateprimaries.
Tuesday’s winner will have the upper hand in November to win the Republican-leaning district. Five Democrats are running to face the GOP winner in the general election.
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