Greg Dority, a Republican who lives near the N.C. coast, beat Scott Cumbie in Tuesday's 12th Congressional District runoff.
It was the only race in North Carolina - and perhaps the country - where neither candidate could vote for himself.
Dority beat Cumbie 52percent to 48 percent in unofficial returns.
He faces Democratic U.S. Rep. Mel Watt and Libertarian Lon Cecil in the fall election.
The 12th is North Carolina's most urban district, a 100-mile stretch from Charlotte to Greensboro where African-Americans outnumber whites and one voter in four is a registered Republican.
Dority, 51, is a businessman from Beaufort County. He's a security specialist who lives in the 3rd District in "Little" Washington, N.C., almost 300 miles from Charlotte.
He ran in the 1st District in 2002 and 2004 and planned to run in the 4th before joining the race in the 12th.
Dority campaigned on a message of fiscal conservatism. He could not be reached Tuesday night.
Cumbie, 48, came within 1percentage point of winning the May 4 primary outright. He's a computer-storage specialist from Winston-Salem who says he lives "within spitting distance" of the 12th District.
Cumbie has promised to reduce taxes and regulations and hopes to replace the income tax with the so-called Fair Tax, a sort of national sales tax.