N.C. Rep. Nelson Dollar is one step closer to winning a seventh term in the state House after defeating Republican primary challenger Mark Villee on Tuesday, according to unofficial results.
Democrat Jay Chaudhuri beat Ellis Hankins in the race for N.C. Senate District 16, which encompasses much of western Raleigh and Cary, according to unofficial results. The seat is open since Sen. Josh Stein decided to run for attorney general.
Dollar, 54, defeated Villee with 7,811 votes or 56 percent of the vote in his western Wake County district, with all precincts reporting. Villee had 6,193 votes, or 44 percent of the vote.
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“I think that the voters rejected the negative advertising tonight,” Dollar said Tuesday before final results were in. He was referring to the TV and radio ads run by Villee, titled “Change for a Dollar,” that attacked his voting record. The ads took aim at Dollar’s role as the top House budget writer, saying he supported “millions in wasteful spending.”
“I think they sent a resounding message, rejecting the negative attacks from the opposition,” Dollar said. “I think they saw through that, and I appreciate their continued support.”
Chaudhuri, 46, a lawyer with ties to state government, was victorious in the Democratic primary race with 19,844 votes or 63 percent, with all precincts reporting. Chaudhuri will face the sole Republican candidate, Eric Weaver, in November, in a district that historically elects Democrats.
“I’m honored that the voters have chosen me to be the Democratic nominee for the election in November,” Chaudhuri said. “We’re going to fight hard to continue Josh Stein’s tradition of being a champion for progressive values, and I look forward to bringing everyone together to work toward providing a world-class education for all our students and building an economy that works for all North Carolinians.”
In the House 36 race, Dollar, a media and public relations consultant, fired back at Villee with his own ads that defended his record at the state level and highlighted his efforts to cut taxes, eliminate waste and balance the state budget.
Villee, 58, the owner of a home inspection business and a former 36th District party chairman, was Dollar’s first Republican primary challenger since he was elected to the state legislature in 2004.
Dollar will face Libertarian candidate Brian Irving and Democratic candidate Jennifer Ferrell in November.
Ferrell, 37, a former Apex Town Council candidate, defeated Woodie Cleary, 61, a retired N.C. Department of Revenue cyber security expert, Tuesday with 7,862 votes or 75 percent of the vote.
The district stretches across western Wake County, including Cary, Holly Springs, Apex, Fuquay-Varina and Garner.
The Democratic primary for Stein’s seat was one of the more expensive legislative races with both candidates raising six figures. The race heated up when Chaudhuri sent campaign mailers publicizing some of Hankins’ donations to Republicans in the 1990s.
Hankins, 62, former executive director of the N.C. League of Municipalities, responded with a “voter alert” confirming that he made the donations at the request of a former employee to improve relationships with Republicans. He criticized his opponent, saying they had a gentleman’s agreement to run a clean campaign.
In N.C. House District 33, Rep. Rosa Gill, a retired teacher, held on to her district with 8,478 votes or 65 percent and will serve a fourth term, according to unofficial results. Bernard Allen and Shirley Hicks also sought the Democratic nomination. No Republican filed for the seat.
The district includes the southern half of Raleigh.
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House District 36
Nelson Dollar (i) 55.78%
Mark Villee 44.22%
Woodie Cleary 24.69%
Jennifer Ferrell 75.31%
20 precincts of 20 reporting
Senate District 16
Jay Chaudhuri 63.14%
Ellis Hankins 36.86%
49 precincts of 49 reporting
House District 33
Bernard Allen II 12.79%
Rosa Gill (i) 64.48%
Shirley Hicks 22.73%
22 precincts of 22 reporting