Cal Cunningham defeated Erica Smith and three other candidates in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in North Carolina on Tuesday. Cunningham led with 57.6% of the vote, followed by Smith with 35.2%, as of 8:40 p.m. ET with 12.4% of precincts reporting.
Cunningham, a member of the Army Reserves and a former state senator (2000-2002), was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He focused on expanding Medicaid, lowering prescription drug costs, and eliminating corruption in Washington. Smith has been a state senator since 2015. She said her platform, which included healthcare for all and a Green New Deal, would energize the base and young people to turn out in November.
Incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R) was elected to the Senate in 2014 when he defeated incumbent Kay Hagan (D) by 1.5 percentage points. Three ratings outlets rate the 2020 general election either Toss-up or Lean Republican. Max Greenwood of The Hill wrote, “Tillis has the backing of President Trump and may benefit from high Republican turnout in the general election. But Democrats have grown optimistic in North Carolina, as demographic changes and an influx of new residents from out of state have put the Tar Heel State in play.”
Republicans hold a majority in the Senate with 53 seats to Democrats’ 45. Two independents caucus with Democrats.