North Carolina Runoff Elections: Hudson Advances in 8th District
[9:40 p.m.] Former House staffer Richard Hudson won the Republican primary runoff in North Carolina's 8th District Tuesday, fending off Scott Keadle in a fierce primary that became a proxy war for different wings of the Washington, D.C. GOP.
The Associated Press called the race at 9:30 p.m. With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Hudson led Keadle 64 percent to 36 percent. Hudson advances to a general election matchup against Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell, one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress.
Hudson, who served as chief of staff to several current and former Republican members of Congress, drew a difficult challenge from Keadle, who was endorsed by the Club for Growth in March. The powerful conservative group's various arms spent about three-quarters of a million dollars on Keadle's behalf. Counteracting that influence, two outside groups with close ties to House leadership -- YG Action Fund, a super PAC run by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and the American Action Network, which has a number of staffers with ties to Speaker John Boehner -- came to Hudson's defense. Hudson was the first candidate that YG Action supported with an independent expenditure this cycle.
The outside groups countered the Club for Growth's spending with similar amounts and reinforced Hudson's message that Keadle was not conservative enough, turning the usual primary attack for Club-backed candidates the other way around. TV ads keyed on Keadle's acceptance of federal stimulus funds when he was a county commissioner.
Hudson also had a broader base of support to begin with; he finished first in the original primary by a wide margin. But a runoff election in the middle of summer promised such low turnout that nothing was certain for the front-runner.
Now, Hudson gets a major opportunity to unseat Kissell. Kissell survived the Republican wave in 2010, but redistricting swung his district about 10 points more Republican. The two-term incumbent has moved to the right this year as a result, but in doing so Kissell has angered some of his important black supporters, threatening his cachet with the district's Democratic base.
[9:38 p.m.] Mark Meadows won the Republican nomination in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District Tuesday night, defeating Vance Patterson in the GOP primary runoff.