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Election Scheduled to Replace Watt in North Carolina

Updated 6:35 p.m. | North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory announced a Nov. 4 special election to replace longtime Democratic Rep. Melvin Watt, ensuring the contest coincides with previously scheduled elections in the Tar Heel State.

The 12th District primary — which will mostly likely determine the next member of Congress from this deeply Democratic district — will be held May 6. A runoff is scheduled for July 15.

“Because of the various filing deadlines, ballot preparation time, state and federal calendar requirements for ballot access, voter registration deadlines and to avoid voter confusion, it was determined the most efficient process would be to roll the special election into the already established primary and general election dates,” a news release from McCrory’s office said.

The candidate who wins the special election will likely be sworn in soon after the November midterms.

Seven Democrats have been running for Watt’s seat since he was nominated to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency this spring. Another candidate recently announced his candidacy following Watt’s confirmation to that post.

Democrats running for the 12th District include:

  • State Rep. Marcus Brandon, a former aide to former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign. Brandon would be the first openly gay member elected to Congress from the South, as well as the first openly gay African-American member of Congress.
  • State Rep. Alma Adams, a former member of the Greensboro City Council. Adams has the endorsement of EMILY’s List, an organization that boosts female candidates who support abortion rights.
  • State Sen. Malcolm Graham, a former Charlotte City Council member.
  • Charlotte City Council Member James Mitchell, who lost a Democratic primary for Charlotte mayor last year.
  • Former Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board Chairman George Battle III, whose father is a prominent bishop in the Tar Heel State.
  • Attorney Curtis Osborne, a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte.
  • State Rep. Beverly Earle, a state legislator from Charlotte.

Watt was first elected to Congress in 1992.

North Carolina’s 12th District is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. President Barack Obama carried the district by a 57-point margin in 2012.

Update 6:35 p.m. | State Rep. Rodney Moore is no longer running in the 12th District special election. He will instead seek re-election in his state House seat located in Charlotte.

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