Eight candidates running in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District Republican primary

Eight candidates are running in the Republican Party primary for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District on May 17, 2022. Sandy Roberson and Sandy Smith led in endorsements and fundraising as of March 31, 2022. Will Aiken, Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves, Brent Roberson, Billy Strickland, and Henry Williams are also running in the Republican primary.

Incumbent G.K. Butterfield (D) announced he would not seek re-election on Nov. 19, 2021. Joseph Brusgard of Race to the WH said, “The district contains the fast-growing blue city of Greenville in the heart of the black belt, along with several small cities like Rocky Mount and Wilson. While those cities have shifted to the left, the rural parts of the district are shifting to the right. They have roughly counterbalanced each other, creating a highly competitive political battleground in NC-1.” The Cook Political Report rated the general election as Likely Democratic.

Roberson was elected Mayor of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in the nonpartisan 2019 general runoff election, defeating Bronson Williams with 60.2% of the vote. He also served as managing partner of Health View Capital Partners. “This campaign is about getting a congressman who will show up for work, who will focus on results—not rhetoric,” Roberson said. Roberson said he “made a career of getting things done, delivering results, meeting budgets, and holding others accountable” and would “prioritize fiscal responsibility, defend our Second Amendment rights, and protect the sanctity of life” and “ensure the needs of American citizens always come first and empower law enforcement to do their job.”

Smith was the Republican nominee for the district’s 2020 general election, winning the Republican primary with 77.3% of the vote. She lost to Butterfield in the general election, receiving 45.8% of the vote to Butterfield’s 54.2%. “The Democrats are scared of me,” Smith said. “I have fulfilled my first campaign promise of 2020 and that was to send G.K. Butterfield packing…If I had not done so well he would be still running today.” Smith worked as a business executive and farmer. “I’m the America First fighter and I am going to go to Washington and fight for you,” Smith said.

Candidates in North Carolina primary contests must win by at least 30 percent of the vote plus one. If no candidate reaches this total, a runoff election is held. North Carolina state law provides for semi-closed primaries, meaning that a voter generally must be registered as a party member in order to participate in that party’s primary. A previously unaffiliated voter can participate in the primary of his or her choice.