Under the Dome

A rematch in Wake County, and other places where Democrats are playing defense

Marilyn Avila asks a question during a meeting in Raleigh in November 2015. Avila, then a member of the state House, lost her seat to Democratic state Rep. Joe John in 2016 but hopes to win a rematch in November 2018.
Marilyn Avila asks a question during a meeting in Raleigh in November 2015. Avila, then a member of the state House, lost her seat to Democratic state Rep. Joe John in 2016 but hopes to win a rematch in November 2018. cseward@newsobserver.com

For some Raleigh residents, two of the names on the ballot for state House will be the same in the 2018 elections as they were two years ago.

Marilyn Avila, a Republican who represented northwestern Wake County for five terms before losing her seat to Democrat Joe John in 2016, wants a rematch. Avila has filed to run against John for state House District 40 this November.

The race between the two in 2016 was among the closest in North Carolina that year. John, a former judge and former head of the State Crime Lab, led by 391 votes after the November election and beat Avila by 384 votes after a recount.

As redrawn by the legislature last August, the district leans Democrat, according to voting data included in redistricting plans.

More than 48 percent of voters in District 40 supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, while 46 percent supported Donald Trump. Meanwhile, they supported Democrat Roy Cooper over Republican Pat McCrory for governor by a 51-to-47 percent margin.

Republicans hold so many seats in the state House and state Senate that they can override Cooper’s vetoes. Democrats hope to gain influence in the General Assembly in the November elections, and they are recruiting candidates to challenge incumbents around the state.

But there are places where incumbent Democrats face Republican challengers.

The filing period began Feb. 12 and ends Feb. 28.

NC Senate

District 2: Republican Chuck Early Jr. has filed to run against Erica Smith of northeastern North Carolina.

D5: Republicans Tony Moore and Kimberly Robb, the Pitt County district attorney, filed to run against Democrat Don Davis of Greenville.

D22: Republican Rick Padgett has filed to run against Democrat Mike Woodard of Durham.

D40: Republican Bobbie Shields filed to run against Democrat Joyce Waddell of Charlotte.

NC House

D5: Republican Phillip Smith has filed to run against Howard Hunter III of Ahoskie.

D7: Republican Glen Bradley, a former House member, filed to run against Democrat Bobbie Richardson of Louisburg.

D12: Republican Chris Humphrey filed to run against Democrat George Graham of Kinston.

D23: Republican Claiborne Holtzman filed to run against Democrat Shelly Willingham of Rocky Mount.

D33: Republican Anne Murtha filed to run against Democrat Rosa Gill of Raleigh, as did Democrats Shirley Hicks and Antoine Marshall.

D34: Republican Catherine Whiteford and Libertarian Cap Hayes filed to run against Democrat Grier Martin of Raleigh.

D44: Republican Patrick Petsche filed to run against Democrat Billy Richardson of Fayetteville.

D54: Republican Jay Stobbs filed to run against Robert Reives II of Goldston.

 
 
 

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht

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