We’re mixing it up a bit this Friday. Rather than a rundown on the top five stories we’ve been following throughout the week, we’re focusing on two big events that rocked NC and the overall political world over the past several days: Super Tuesday and the coronavirus. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
With the highly anticipated Super Tuesday primary election behind us, we have a mostly clear picture of who will be facing off against who in the November general election. Tuesday night’s results included some surprises, some things still TBD, and plenty for us politicos to talk about all week long. We’ll take a look at some of North Carolina’s major races and results below, and detailed outcomes of every statewide and local race can be found via the State Board of Elections.
Incumbent Gov. Roy Cooper won about 87 percent of the vote to beat challenger Ernest Reeves and lock in his reelection bid. Current Lt. Gov. Dan Forest won the GOP nomination with almost 89 percent of the vote to go on to challenge incumbent Cooper in the fall.
Both the Democratic and Republican candidate pools for LG were incredibly crowded: six Democrats and nine Republicans ran in their respective primary races. Mark Robinson ultimately won the GOP nomination with 35 percent of the vote, just above the 30 percent margin required to avoid a runoff election. N.C. House member Yvonne Lewis Holley won the Democratic contest with almost 27 percent of the vote, and N.C. Senator Terry Van Duyn came in a close second with just over 20 percent. As the runner up Van Duyn has the option to request a runoff election, which would be a second primary election held in April or May, and is expected to make a decision by the end of this week.
Longtime district attorney Jim O’Neill, one of three Republican candidates for attorney general, won his party’s primary with 46 percent of the vote. He will go on to face incumbent Attorney General Josh Stein in November.
Cal Cunningham won a fairly crowded Democratic primary for U.S. Senate with 57 percent of the vote, and N.C. Senator Erica Smith came in second with almost 35 percent. Cunningham will go on to face incumbent Senator Thom Tillis, who won his Republican primary contest with 78 percent of the vote, in November.
What about the presidential race?
On the presidential level things remain a bit more murky. Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in North Carolina as well as in nine other Super Tuesday states, and he currently holds a lead in the delegate count over former frontrunner Bernie Sanders; however, more delegates remain up for grabs. A handful of states will hold their primaries on various dates over the next few months— the next as soon as March 10 and the last on June 2– and award delegates ahead of the Democratic National Convention in mid July. The number of delegates a candidate wins ultimately determines whether they win their party’s nomination for president, and with such a crowded Democratic field the math can get interesting here. Wondering what happens to the delegates won by candidates who have since dropped out of the race? The answer is, well, it depends.
When primary elections and possible pandemics collide…
Washington, one of the most recent states to confirm rising cases of COVID-19— including one that was later transmitted to North Carolina– is currently scheduled to hold its primary elections on March 10; however, some health precautions are being set in place. The Washington State Department of Health has asked that voters mailing in their ballots do not lick their envelopes but rather use a sponge to seal them in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Concerns over the virus also resulted in the cancellation of a major Democratic fundraising dinner ahead of the primary, following Gov. Jay Inslee’s public comments encouraging caution around large public gatherings. Whether additional health and safety measures will be put into place remains to be seen.
COVID-19 in N.C.
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has continued to spread across the world and the United State this week, with cases popping up from coast to coast. Only one case has been confirmed in North Carolina so far, although Gov. Cooper said the state expects to see additional cases emerge. The federal government has been monitoring the situation and the U.S. Senate unanimously approved $8.3 billion in emergency funds to combat the virus on Thursday, sending it to the White House. In the meantime states are taking various measures to address outbreaks within their borders as the global infection rate climbs past 95,000 confirmed cases.
While the spread of COVID-19 might sound scary, there’s no reason to panic or stock up on medical masks. Check out the official CDC website to learn more about the coronavirus— how it spreads (you can not catch it from eating Chinese food or drinking Corona beer), what the symptoms look like, and ultimately how to keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.