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Hagan Secures N.C. Senate Nomination; Jones, McHenry Lead Their Primaries

As Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) scored a big victory Tuesday in North Carolina’s Democratic presidential primary, there were few cliffhangers downballot in North Carolina Congressional races, according to local media reports.

State Sen. Kay Hagan (D) locked up her party’s nomination for a chance at Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) this fall. With about half of the precincts reporting, Hagan had 61 percent to 19 percent for her closest competitor, investment adviser Jim Neal (D).

Dole is favored to win a second term, but some Democrats believe Hagan is a sleeper candidate who can make the race very close.

The vote was still out for Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R), an early primary target, in his battle with Onslow County Commissioner Joe McLaughlin (R). Jones led 59 percent to 41 percent with about a third of precincts reporting.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) also appeared to be weathering an April surge by his primary challenger, retired Judge Advocate General Lance Sigmon (R). McHenry was leading 65 percent to 35 percent with almost three-quarters of precincts reporting.

– Matthew Murray

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