Alma Adams, an 11-term state representative from Greensboro, easily defeated a former TV news anchor from Charlotte on Tuesday to succeed Mel Watt in the 12th District seat in the U.S. House.
Running in a heavily Democratic district that stretches along Interstate 85 through cities from Charlotte to Winston-Salem and Greensboro, Adams had 75 percent of the vote, according to preliminary returns.
She turned back a well-funded Republican candidate, Vince Coakley, 49.
Adams, 68, resigned Oct. 31 from the state House seat she had held for two decades. She pushed legislation on domestic violence, teen pregnancy, abortion rights and public education. She is a college arts instructor known for her collection of colorful hats.
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Watt stepped down after 21 years in Congress for a job in the Obama administration. In addition to the full term that starts in January, Adams also defeated Coakley on Tuesday for the right to serve out the final weeks of Watt’s term.