The drama around the state’s congressional districts got a confusing new chapter Thursday with a proposed reshuffling of the state’s primary elections. The state House voted not to proceed with the congressional primary March 15 and instead hold it June 7, effectively hitting the restart button on those campaigns. All other issues on the ballot – including races for governor and a statewide $2 billion bond issue – still would be decided March 15. But in a major change, the House proposal also said no runoff elections would be held in March or June. Currently, if no candidate gets 40 percent of the vote, a second primary is held. But if this change is enacted, the final winner would be the top vote-getter in the initial vote this year, no matter how many candidates compete.
That could have implications for several key races, including the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District – where a large field reduces the chance that any candidate could get 40 percent of the vote.
In another twist, candidates who won a March 15 primary then could file to run for a congressional seat June 7. If they won in both primaries, they would have to withdraw from one, within a week after the June 7 results were certified.
That means, for example, a legislator who already had been renominated for a seat could run in a congressional primary, and continue to seek re-election as a legislator if he or she lost the latter vote. That provision could benefit any legislators who want to run in the new 12th District (Mecklenburg County) or the new 13th District (Greensboro to Statesville), where the current incumbent doesn’t live in the district.