Voting ends Tuesday in NC primary election runoffs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 14, 2024

By Lynn Bonner

NC Newsline

The primary election season isn’t over, which may be a surprise to a lot of us.

A few candidates from some very close March primary races are in runoffs to make the November ballot. The final day for voting in the runoffs is Tuesday.

Turnout is usually low in runoff primaries, and voting this year looks to be true to that pattern.

By the end of early voting Saturday, about 37,000 people had cast ballots.

The runoff this year comes with blockbuster candidate announcements and rules on who can vote that are more complicated than usual.

Two candidates dropped out of their races after ballots were printed.

Unlike general elections, not all voters can participate in the runoff primaries.

Statewide runoffs will fill out the GOP candidate lines for lieutenant governor and state auditor for the general election.

Registered Democrats must sit this one out.

The GOP primaries are open only to registered Republicans, unaffiliated voters who didn’t vote in the March 5 primary, and unaffiliated voters who chose a Republican ballot in that first go-round, Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the state Board of Elections, said Monday.

She urged eligible voters to cast ballots.

“There is still time to make your voice heard,” she said. “All too often we see low turnout in second primary elections. Yet, votes cast in these contests will decide the nominees of the Republican Party for the general election.”

Hal Weatherman and Jim O’Neill are in the runoff to win the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor. Weatherman was former Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s chief of staff. Weatherman also worked for Forest’s mother, former Charlotte Congresswoman Sue Myrick. O’Neill is the Forsyth County district attorney. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Rachel Hunt, who won her primary in March.

In the GOP primary for state Auditor, Jack Clark, a CPA and research assistant to state Rep. Kyle Hall is facing off with Dave Boliek, a lawyer and member of the UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.

The winner will face incumbent Democrat Jessica Holmes. Gov. Roy Cooper chose Holmes to fill former Auditor Beth Wood’s unexpired term after she resigned last year.

Candidates in two contests dropped out before primary day, though voting in these races continues.

In the 13th Congressional District, Kelly Daughtry, a Johnston County lawyer, emerged as the top vote-getter in a crowded field of candidates after the first round of primary voting. Second-place finisher Brad Knott, a former federal prosecutor, called for a runoff.

Daughtry dropped out of the runoff on May 2, after early voting started. She said she could not overcome former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Knott.

Knott will face Democrat Frank Pierce in November.

Republican legislators reconfigured the 13th District, so Knott’s general election victory is a near guarantee. Incumbent Democratic Congressman Wiley Nickel decided not to run for reelection in the newly drawn district, citing the new gerrymandered boundaries.

A runoff for an Orange County school board seat took a twist when incumbent Jennifer Moore announced she was dropping out of the race against Bonnie Hauser. The vote is still happening. However, Moore said in a statement that she would not return to the board if she wins.

This is a nonpartisan race. All voters who live in the Orange County school district can cast ballots, no matter their party affiliation.

It will be up to the highest vote-getter to decide whether to assume office, said Paul Cox, the state Board’s general counsel. If the top candidate doesn’t take the seat, it will be up to the Orange Board of Elections to fill the vacancy, he said.

Gaston County voters have a GOP runoff for county commissioner. Again, this one is open only to Republican voters, unaffiliated voters who chose Republican ballots in March, and unaffiliated voters who didn’t vote in March.

Otherwise, all the usual voting rules apply.  Voters who have acceptable photo IDs should bring them to their assigned polling place to cast ballots Tuesday.

Some polling places have been consolidated. Information on assigned polling places can be found on the voter search at