Four candidates running in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District Democratic primary

Four candidates are running in the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Incumbent G.K. Butterfield (D), who has held the seat since 2004, did not file to run for re-election.

Donald Davis and Erica Smith have raised the most money and received the most media attention.

Davis has held a seat in the state Senate since 2013. Davis was first elected to the state Senate in 2008 but lost his re-election bid in the 2010 general election to Republican Louis Pate. Davis ran unopposed in the 2012 state Senate primary and general elections. Davis said, “As a veteran, a minister, and a state senator, I’ve rolled up my sleeves and gone to work for our neighbors and families. When I am sworn in as our next congressman, we will focus on the fight ahead — transforming the future of our region and rural America.” He has campaigned on rebuilding the rural economy and has said he will “continue to fight for affordable healthcare, voting rights and protect a woman’s right to choose” in Congress.

Smith served in the North Carolina Senate from 2015 to 2020. Smith filed to run for U.S. Senate in 2022, but switched her candidacy to the U.S. House following Butterfield’s retirement announcement in November 2021. Smith has campaigned on what she calls a platform for progress, including raising the minimum wage, strengthening unions, supporting small family farms, and investing in fisheries and wind energy. Smith said, “For three terms as a State Senator I fought for a more progressive, democratic North Carolina. I fought to raise the minimum wage, legalize marijuana, make it easier to vote, secure a woman’s right to choose, provide rural broadband, expand Medicaid, and more. Now I’m running for Congress, because I’ve seen enough of the state and the country to know that the problems I originally identified in my own rural county are everywhere.”

Jullian Bishop Sr. and Jason Spriggs are also running in the election.