North Carolina: Establishment-Backed Richard Hudson Wins

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted July 17, 2012 at 9:42pm

In a victory for the Republican establishment, former Hill aide Richard Hudson won his GOP primary runoff in North Carolina’s 8th district tonight, beating dentist Scott Keadle, who was strongly backed by the anti-tax Club for Growth.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Hudson was ahead with 64 percent of the vote to Keadle’s 36 percent. In the Republican primary and the runoff, outside groups spent more than $1.6 million on this race.

Hudson will now face vulnerable Rep. Larry Kissell (D), whose district was made significantly more Republican in redistricting. The GOP nominee has a better-than-even chance of unseating Kissell.

Hudson, who most recently worked on the Hill as Texas GOP Rep. Mike Conaway’s chief of staff, had support from the YG Action Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.).

Hudson is a former district director for former Rep. Robin Hayes (R), whom Kissell unseated in 2008. Hayes is now the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.

The Club for Growth made a heavy push for Keadle, a former Iredell County commissioner, putting more than $720,000 into the race.

“In Indiana, Eric Cantor’s Young Guns backed an octogenarian RINO squish because he backed subsides for ethanol, and they urged for Democrats to vote in the Republican primary. The Club for Growth PAC won that one,” club spokesman Barney Keller said. “In this race, the Young Guns backed a Washington, D.C., insider and one of their political cronies. They won this one. Good for them.”

The club backed Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his victory over Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana’s May GOP primary. A sister organization of the YG Action Fund backed Lugar.

Meanwhile, in western North Carolina, real estate investor Mark Meadows easily beat businessman Vance Patterson in the 11th district GOP runoff. With 72 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Meadows, who had 77 percent to Patterson’s 23 percent.

The open district, currently represented by retiring Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler, was drawn to be significantly more Republican in redistricting. It’s a likely pickup for Republicans. The Democratic nominee is former Shuler Chief of Staff Hayden Rogers.

In the race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Sue Myrick in North Carolina’s 9th district, former state Sen. Robert Pittenger beat Myrick-endorsed Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Pendergraph.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, he got 53 percent to Pendergraph’s 47 percent. Pittenger is likely to be the next Member from the GOP-leaning district.