The GOP contest for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District was a three-candidate game – but the real battle played out between front-runners David Rouzer and Woody White. Rouzer scooped up victories in ten of the twelve counties.
On the Democratic side of the ticket, Jonathan Barfield captured the nomination but with just six counties.
Viewed as whole, the twelve-county district spreads from the southeastern coastal counties across largely rural, agricultural areas to suburbs just east of Raleigh. Four of those counties – Pender, Hoke, Cumberland, and Robeson -- offer just small portions of themselves to the 7th District.
David Rouzer won the GOP primary by about 13 percentage points. Woody White’s base of support showed up strongly in New Hanover County – where he trounced Rouzer by 59% to 33%. But Brunswick was the only other county where White overtook Rouzer, and even there he squeaked past by just five percentage points.
The third GOP candidate Chris Andrade never managed more than single digit showings – except in Hoke and Pender Counties where he earned 13% and 9%, respectively. Hoke is next door to Andrade's home county of Cumberland.
Jonathan Barfield trumped political newcomer and retired police detective Walter Martin by a margin of almost 17 points. County-by-county, it was a geographic split. Barfield won the six eastern-most counties in the district: New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Bladen, Columbus, and Duplin. Martin, from western-most Johnston County, picked up that side of the district.
Republican David Rouzer now faces Democrat Jonathan Barfield in the battle leading up to November in a race that many political pundits call a "Republican-safe seat."