The Tuesday, March 3 primary didn’t offer much more clarity at the top of the ticket in North Carolina than was already there.
The voters still don’t know who Republican President Donald J. Trump will be running against, although if it were up to North Carolina voters it would certainly be Joe Biden who claimed 43 percent of the vote in a five-way race. That would include counting Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who continues to poll in the low single digits but has not officially dropped out, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg, who have now dropped out.
For those who voted early, it was an eight-way race since Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer didn’t drop out until after early voting had ended but before March 3. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who finished second with 24.1 percent, wasn’t even close and, according to rules the Democrats have for primaries, only Biden and Sanders walked away with any delegates because a presidential candidate has to win at least 15 percent of the vote to qualify for delegates.
There was no doubt about Trump, who finished with 93.5 percent of the Republican vote.
In the US Senate race, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham have been running against each other for months, even though neither one was technically the nominee of their party until all the votes were counted on Tuesday.
Tillis, to no one’s surprise, won with 78.1 percent of the vote. Cunningham, who had 57 percent, had a challenge from Erica D. Smith who finished with 34.7 percent, but it wasn’t enough of a challenge to keep Cunningham from spending a lot of ad money during the primary running against Tillis.
Now that those two are the official candidates, they can take the gloves off and really go after each other.
The North Carolina governor’s race falls into the same category. Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who won with 87.2 percent, and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who won his primary with 88.9 percent, have been running against each other despite not being the official nominee of their respective parties.
Now that the results are in, it makes sense for both Cooper and Forest to have been running against each other rather than wasting time and money campaigning against opponents that were so far down in the polls.