North Carolina state and presidential primaries: what to anticipate (Part-2)

Only registered party members can vote in their primary. Unaffiliated people can vote in any primary. North Carolina has 116 pledged Democratic delegates, awarded according to national party rules. The statewide vote determines 25 at-large delegates and 15 PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials.” The state's 14 congressional districts compete for 76 delegates based on vote results. Candidates must win 15% of the statewide vote and 15% of a congressional district vote to qualify for delegates.

Republicans are competing for 74 delegates, 32 of which are proportionally granted to candidates with over 20% of the vote. Every 14 congressional district gets three delegates. If the leading candidate receives 60% of the vote in a congressional district or only one contender scores 20%, all three delegates go to them. A congressional district with more than one candidate receiving 20% but no one exceeding 60% awards two delegates to the winner and one to the runner-up.

Trump defeated a stronger field in the 2016 North Carolina primary. Trump beat Ted Cruz by around 3% in that election. Cruz nearly won with the second- and third-most populous cities of Raleigh and Greensboro and their surrounding areas, as well as several western North Carolina counties. Although prior primary results demonstrate that Haley attracts to a different type of Republican primary voter than Cruz, she is likely to win like Cruz. She would need to win strongly in Raleigh and Greensboro and beat Cruz in Charlotte, the state's largest city, to pull off an upset. Trump won Charlotte in 2016, but Haley has done well there this time.

In 2020, Biden defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders by 19 points. In 2024, he is the only candidate. If early results show he was far ahead of “No preference,” a winner call is likely.

Nonpresidential elections with at least four candidates may advance to a May 14 runoff if no one achieves more than 30% of the vote and the second-place finisher seeks one. Winner calls on some races may be delayed. Even if the leading candidate leads by a large margin, runoff-eligible races with a leading candidate near 30% may not be called until more votes are tabulated.

A candidate with above 30% of the vote will be declared the winner by the AP. In races with no candidate meeting the threshold, AP will advance at least one contender to the runoff.

declares a winner when there is no way the lagging competitors can catch up. The AP will cover candidate concessions and win pronouncements even if a race has not been called. The AP will explain why it has not declared a winner. In 2022, 9% of registered voters participated in the Democratic Senate primary and 11% in the Republican primary.

About 46% of Democratic primary voters and 53% of Republican primary voters had cast their ballots by Wednesday. In the 2022 U.S. Senate primaries, Democrats received 50% of the vote pre-Election Day and Republicans 37%.

The election night tabulation ended at 12:52 a.m. ET with 99% of votes known. A new state rule requires elections officials to wait until polls close before tabulating in-person pre-Election Day ballots, which may delay Super Tuesday results. On Super Tuesday, there will be 132 days until the Milwaukee Republican National Convention, 167 days before the Chicago Democratic National Convention, and 245 days until the November general election.

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