Davis wins Democratic primary for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District

Donald Davis defeated Erica Smith and two other candidates in the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District on May 17, 2022. Incumbent G.K. Butterfield (D) did not file to run for re-election.

WRAL’s Bryan Anderson wrote: “Central to Davis’ campaign was an argument about electability, where he sought to persuade Democratic voters that his more centrist policies and track record of working with Republicans could make him the likeliest candidate to keep the seat in Democrats’ hands.”

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. 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 said he would “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 campaigned on what she called a platform for progress, which she said included 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 also ran in the election.

Three independent race forecasters consider the general election to Lean Democratic.