Second primaries possible
Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2012
A second primary to determine the Republican candidate to run in the Nov. 6 general election for the 6th District seat in the N.C. House of Representatives is a possibility, according to an elections official.
“In House District 6, that’s a possibility,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director.
Unofficial vote totals have just 66 votes separating Beaufort County resident Arthur Williams and Mattie Lawson of Dare County. Lawson received 2,643 votes in the district while Williams collected 2,577 votes in the district.
Because Lawson did not receive 40 percent or more of the votes cast, Williams has the option of requesting a second primary, Hopkins explained Wednesday.
“He could request one now, but nothing would happen until it (the vote total) was official,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins said it is unlikely Tuesday’s canvasses would result in Lawson or Williams picking up enough additional votes to move past the 40-percent threshold and avoid a second primary.
The eventual GOP candidate would face Democrat Paul Tine, a Dare County resident, in the Nov. 6 general election.
“They haven’t even got that actual vote count yet … So, I was kind of going to wait and see what the certified vote count would be before I made that decision, but I probably am,” Williams said about seeking a second primary. “I’m leaning that way.”
“I think that I made a pretty good showing, to have changed parties. … I carried Beaufort County, and I was proud of that. I really appreciate all of them coming out and supporting me,” he said.
If there is a second primary. Williams said, he would run a positive campaign and focus on issues. Williams criticized Lawson for running a negative campaign.
“Yes,” replied Lawson in a brief interview Wednesday evening when asked if she is prepared for a second primary if Williams requests one and that request is granted. “We worked to get to where I am right now. Yeah, I am prepared to do what it takes to continue.”
As for possibly extending her campaign for a second primary, Laws said, “I do not have anything that I can share with you about the campaign. I just got off one campaign and going to take a little bit of down time. We’ll be getting a strategy together, once he makes his announcement.”
A decision on a request for a second primary would not come until after ballots are canvassed next week by the boards of elections in the district, Hopkins noted. The 6th District includes part of Beaufort County (mostly north of the Pamlico River) and all of Dare, Hyde and Washington counties.
Beaufort County resident Greg Dority also has the option of requesting a second primary to determine the Republican candidate for state auditor.
Debra Goldman did not get at least 40 percent of the votes cast in that five-person race Tuesday. Goldman, the top-vote getter in that primary, tallied 235,955 votes (34.35 percent). Dority collected 163,555 votes (23.81 percent).
“We’re going to crunch the numbers and consult further with the leadership before making a decision, but right now we’re leaning in that direction,” Dority said Wednesday afternoon when asked if he will request a second primary.
Dority discussed his showing in Tuesday’s primary.
“We’re very pleased by the outcome. There are three conservative candidates in the race and one moderate. The moderate took about a third of the vote, and the conservatives split the rest of it. I feel confident that the most-conservative candidate in the race will win the runoff.”
Dority is no stranger to second primaries. In 2010, as a candidate seeking to become the Republican candidate for the 12th Congressional District seat, Dority finished second in the GOP primary. He won the second primary. Dority lost to incumbent Democrat Mel Watt in the 2010 general election.
Under North Carolina law, Williams and Dority would have to file a written request for a second primary with the executive director of the State Board of Elections no later than noon on the ninth day (Saturdays and Sundays included) following the date on which the primary was conducted, with such a request being subject to the certification of official results by the State Board of Elections.
If a second primary is conducted to determine the Republican candidate for the 6th District seat or other candidates in other races, it likely would be set for July 17, according to Hopkins, who explained that the second primary would be conducted June 26 if there is no second primary needed for a U.S. House of Representatives contest. The July 17 date for a second primary comes into play if there is second primary needed for a U.S. House of Representatives contest.
If the second primary is held June 26, early, one-stop voting would begin June 7 and requests for absentee ballots would be due June 19. Marked absentee ballots would be due at the appropriate board of elections at 5 p.m. June 25.
If the second primary is held July 17, early, one-stop voting would begin June 28 and requests for absentee ballots would be due July 10. Marked absentee ballots would be due at the appropriate board of elections at 5 p.m. July 16.