RALEIGH: Ellmers beats rival Roche in 2nd District GOP race - WNCN: News, Weather

Ellmers beats rival Roche in 2nd District GOP race

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers and former state Sen. David Rouzer won Republican Party primaries on Tuesday in closely watched North Carolina congressional races.

Ellmers, a 50-year-old nurse from Dunn, beat former foreign currency trader Frank Roche of Cary to win the GOP nomination in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, according to unofficial results.

"I hope we can unite as a party and move forward to November with our focus on retaining our conservative majority in the House and reclaiming a conservative majority in the Senate," Ellmers said in a statement. "We cannot stop (President Barack) Obama without it."

Ellmers rode the tea party wave that shook up Congress in 2010 and now is looking for a third term. She enjoys an advantage because the district's map was drawn by GOP lawmakers to favor a Republican. Mitt Romney won nearly six in 10 votes in the district in 2012, and Ellmers captured 56 percent.

Ellmers will face the candidate chosen in the Democratic Party primary contest. Democrats were choosing from among entertainer Clay Aiken, textile entrepreneur Keith Crisco and licensed family counselor Toni Morris.

"I think Clay is truly interested in helping people," 64-year-old Jane Hinnant of Pittsboro said as she voted in the Democratic primary. Aiken is an openly gay man in a district populated with many socially conservative, evangelical Christians.

"We need to stay out of people's bedrooms," said Bob Finch, a 57-year-old Democrat from neighboring Lee County.

Republican David Rouzer gets another chance to win the congressional district he lost two years ago by a razor-thin margin to Democrat Mike McIntyre. Rouzer won Tuesday's Republican primary against Woody White and Chris Andrade in the 7th Congressional District. McIntyre is retiring rather than campaign again in the district, which favors Republicans.

U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield won the Democratic primary in northeast North Carolina's 1st District over Dan Whittacre. He'll face either Republican Arthur Rich or Brent Shypulefski.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx beat Philip Doyle to again take the Republican Party nomination in the 5th District in northwest North Carolina. Democrats will hold a runoff election in July to choose between Joshua Brannon and Gardenia Henley after no candidates were able to win at least 40 percent of the vote in a four-candidate field.

Baptist minister Mark Walker and Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., son of powerful state Senate leader Phil Berger, will also have a July runoff. The winner faces Democrat Laura Fjeld, a retired University of North Carolina system administrator, for the 6th District seat open after GOP Rep. Howard Coble decided to retire after 30 years in office.

Former Charlotte television anchor and radio personality Vince Coakley won the Republican primary in the heavily Democratic 12th District over church pastor Leon Threatt. Seven Democrats were vying for the nomination. The winner will replace former U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, who resigned to become director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the groups that own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages.

In the 13th District, which stretches east and north from Raleigh, Brenda Cleary won the Democratic primary and will face incumbent U.S. Rep. George Holding.

U.S. Reps. Robert Pittenger and Patrick McHenry won Republican primary elections in their Charlotte-area districts.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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