Our final March Super Tuesday preview – North Carolina

Welcome to the Monday, March 4, 2024, Brew. 

By: Juan Garcia de Paredes

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Our final March Super Tuesday preview – North Carolina
  2. Biden issues three executive orders in February, bringing his total to 133

Our final March Super Tuesday preview – North Carolina

Five states are holding primaries for congressional and state offices tomorrow: Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, California, and North Carolina. 

Last week, we looked at upcoming elections in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, and California. Today, we’ll explore North Carolina. The state is holding primaries for congressional, judicial, state executive, and state legislative elections.

In North Carolina, if no candidate receives at least 30% of the vote in the primary, the runner-up can request a runoff election in writing. While candidates usually request runoffs, sometimes they don’t.

This year’s runoffs will take place on May 14. 


North Carolina is holding Democratic and Republican primaries for governor. Incumbent Roy Cooper (D) is term-limited.

On the Republican side, state treasurer Dale Folwell, attorney Bill Graham, and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson are running. Robinson has led in campaign finance and recent polling.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) endorsed Graham in December, while Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) endorsed Robinson. Former President Donald Trump (R) has also expressed support for Robinson, but hasn’t issued an official endorsement. EMPAC, the political action committee of the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC), endorsed Folwell.

Five candidates are running on the Democratic side—Tryon Town Councilmember Chrelle Booker, Gary Foxx, former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan, state Attorney General Josh Stein, and attorney Marcus Williams. Stein has led in campaign finance and recent polling.

As of Feb. 27, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzalez rated the general election a Toss-up, while The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rated it Lean Democratic.

North Carolina currently has a divided government: Democrats control the governorship, and Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature. The state also has a Democratic triplex, meaning the party controls the governorship and the offices of secretary of state and attorney general.

North Carolina has had a Democratic governor for 26 of the past 30 years. Former Gov. Pat McCrory—the only Republican elected during that period—served from 2013 to 2017.

Other state executive

North Carolina is holding primaries for nine other state executive positions, including: 

Ballotpedia has identified the following primaries as battlegrounds: 

  • North Carolina Attorney General – Democratic primary: 16th District prosecuting attorney Satana Deberry, Tim Dunn, and U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson are running. Deberry and Jackson have led in polls and media attention. While no Republican has been elected attorney general in North Carolina since 1897,  local political observers expect the general election to be competitive owing to the candidacy of U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R), who is the only Republican running. Democratic incumbent Stein is running for governor.
  • North Carolina Secretary of State – Republican primary: Gaston County Commissioner Chad Brown, retired healthcare executive Jesse Thomas, and former police officer Christine Villaverde are running. The winner will face incumbent Elaine Marshall (D) in the general election. Marshall, first elected in 1996, defeated E.C. Sykes (R) 51%-49% in 2020, her closest election since taking office.
  • North Carolina Treasurer – Republican primary: Former asset manager Brad Briner, former state lottery commissioner A.J. Daoud, and business owner Rachel Johnson are running. Incumbent Dale Folwell, the first Republican elected treasurer since 1876, is running for governor.
  • North Carolina Auditor – Republican primary: Six candidates are running. Attorney Dave Boliek, business owner Charles Dingee, and former state Sen. Jeff Tarte lead in fundraising. The winner will face incumbent Jessica Holmes (D) and Bob Drach (L) in the general election. The last Republican elected North Carolina Auditor was Leslie Merritt (R) in 2004.

U.S. House

All 14 U.S. House seats are up for election this year. The state’s U.S. House delegation has seven Democratic and seven Republican members.

The 2024 election is the first to take place under new district lines that the North Carolina General Assembly adopted on Oct. 25, 2023. According to The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, under the redrawn map, three of the seven Democratically-held districts have a partisan lean of R+11. The three incumbents in those districts are not seeking re-election.

  • A total of 64 candidates are running for the state’s 14 districts, including 15 Democrats and 49 Republicans. That’s an average of 4.6 candidates per district, less than the average of 7.14 candidates per district in 2022, the first election after the number of congressional districts in North Carolina increased from 13 to 14. In 2020, when the state still had 13 congressional districts, an average of 4.9 candidates ran. In 2018, an average of 4.3 candidates ran, and in 2016, an average of 5.7 did.
  • One hundred candidates ran in 2022. In 2020, when the state had 13 districts, 64 candidates ran. Fifty-six candidates ran in 2018, a decade low.
  • There are five open seats this year—the most in a decade.
  • Reps. Jeff Jackson (D-14th) and Dan Bishop (R-8th) are not running for re-election in order to run for state attorney general, while Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-10th) is retiring from public office. Reps. Kathy Manning (D-6th) and Wiley Nickel (D-13th) are not running for re-election either. Both cited the partisan lean of their redrawn districts as the reason.
  • Fifteen candidates—one Democrat and 14 Republicans—are running for the open 13th District, the most candidates running for a U.S. House seat in 2024. 
  • Four incumbents—one Democrat and three Republicans—are facing primary challengers. 
  • The 3rd and 6th Congressional Districts are guaranteed to Republicans because no Democrats filed to run. Republicans are running in every congressional district, meaning none are guaranteed to Democrats.
  • Thirteen primaries—two Democratic and 11 Republican—are contested. That’s fewer than the 20 contested primaries in 2022, and tied with 2020 as the lowest number of contested primaries this decade. 
  • As a percentage of all possible primaries, the 13 contested primaries in 2024 are the lowest this decade (46%). North Carolina had 13 districts in 2020, making the 13 contested primaries that year 50% of all possible major party primaries.

Ballotpedia is covering two of tomorrow’s primaries as battlegrounds:

  • North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District Republican primary: Six candidates are running. Christian Castelli, Bo Hines, Addison McDowell, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, who represented a previous version of the 6th District, lead in endorsements and media attention. Since no Democratic, minor party, or independent candidates filed to run, the primary winner will be unopposed in the general election.
  • North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District Republican primary: Six candidates are running. Allan Baucom, John Bradford III, and Mark Harris lead in noteworthy endorsements, media attention, and fundraising. Harris ran to represent North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District in 2018. The state Board of Elections did not certify the results of that election following allegations of ballot tampering. The board called for a special election, which Harris did not run in due to health issues.

State legislature

All 50 seats in the Senate and all 120 seats in the House are up for election. Republicans currently have a 72-48 majority in the House and a 30-20 majority in the Senate.

  • There are a decade-low 43 contested state legislative primaries this year, a 41% decrease from 2022.
  • Of the 43 contested primaries, 19 are Democratic, and 24 are Republican. Democrats had nine contested primaries in 2022. For Republicans, the number is down 45% from 44 in 2022.
  • A total of 363 major party candidates—193 Democrats and 170 Republicans—filed to run. 
  • Twenty-one seats are open. This guarantees that newcomers will represent at least 12% of the legislature.
  • Nineteen state legislative incumbents face primary challenges, representing 13% of all incumbents running for re-election. That’s a decade low, both in numbers and percentage of incumbents facing primary challengers.
  • Of the 19 incumbents in contested primaries, eight are Democrats, and 11 are Republicans.

Statewide courts

North Carolina is also holding primaries for one seat on the state Supreme Court and three seats on the state’s Court of Appeals.

Other races 

In addition to congressional, judicial, state executive, and state legislative primaries, Ballotpedia is covering primaries for municipal offices in six local jurisdictions, and primaries in four school board districts—Cabarrus, Guilford, Johnston, and Union.

Ballotpedia is also covering elections for local offices across the state on March 5, including 53 primaries and 35 general elections for local school boards, 108 primaries for county commissioners, 13 primaries for judicial positions, nine primaries for registers of deeds, one primary for a clerk of the courts position, and one primary for a prosecuting attorney.

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Biden issues three executive orders in February, bringing his total to 133  

President Joe Biden (D) issued three executive orders in February, bringing his total to 133.

The three orders he issued in February were:

Biden issued 25 executive orders in January 2021, more than any other month of his presidency. He did not issue any executive orders in November 2022, January 2023, or January 2024.

Biden is averaging 42 executive orders per year, tying him with George H.W. Bush (R) for the third-lowest average among the seven presidents who have held office since 1981. Donald Trump (R) averaged 55 executive orders per year, the most in that time. Barack Obama (D) averaged 35 per year, the fewest in that time.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) issued an average of 307 executive orders per year, the most of all U.S. presidents. William Henry Harrison (Whig) issued none during his one month in office. Three presidents issued only one executive order each: James Madison (Democratic-Republican), James Monroe (Democratic-Republican), and John Adams (Federalist).

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