Decade low number of incumbents in contested state legislative primaries in North Carolina

Nineteen North Carolina state legislative incumbents face primary challenges, representing 13% of all incumbents running for re-election. This is a decade low number and percentage of contested incumbents in North Carolina. 

Of the 19 incumbents in contested primaries, eight are Democrats and 11 are Republicans.

North Carolina has 43 contested state legislative primaries this year, a 41% decrease from 2022 and a decade low.

Of the 43 contested primaries, there are 19 for Democrats and 24 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is 10 fewer than in 2022. For Republicans, the number is down 45% from 44 in 2022.

Overall, 363 major party candidates — 193 Democrats and 170 Republicans — filed to run. All 120 House and 50 Senate seats are up for election.

Twenty-one of those seats are open, meaning no incumbents filed. This guarantees that at least 12% of the legislature will be represented by newcomers next year.

North Carolina has had a divided government since Democrats won control of the governorship in 2016. Republicans currently have a 72-48 majority in the House and a 30-20 majority in the Senate.

North Carolina’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for March 5, the first — along with Alabama, Arkansas, California, and Texas — statewide primary date of the 2024 state legislative election cycle.

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