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Democratic NC Rep. Charles Graham wins NC 7 primary, will face Congressman Rouzer in November

From left: Republican Congressman for North Carolina's 7th District David Rouzer; North Carolina State Representative Charles Graham.
From left: Republican Congressman for North Carolina's 7th District David Rouzer; North Carolina State Representative Charles Graham.

Graham was the odds-on favorite to win the four-way Democratic primary. He'll face the four-term Republican Congressman in the general election.

Rouzer hasn’t faced a serious primary challenger since 2014, when he faced then-County Commissioner Woody White, winning by around 13 points.

This time around, Rouzer squared off against Libertarian-leaning Max Southworth-Beckwith, who painted the incumbent as a beltway insider, responsible for bloated budgets in D.C. But Rouzer remained popular with conservative voters, winning the primary by a nearly four-to-one margin.

Related - The Newsroom: Rouzer and Southworth-Beckwith square off in GOP primary for NC's 7th Congressional district

In a statement, on Twitter, Rouzer focused on turnout – which was up about 13 percent from 2014 levels – rather than specific issues, writing, “today’s turnout should send a strong message to liberal elites in Washington: Republican enthusiasm is strong and voters are looking for solutions and leaders who put American families first.”

On the Democratic side, it was a four-way contest, with current North Carolina state Representative Charles Graham pulling ahead of his nearest competitor by two points.

Related - The Newsroom: The four Democratic primary candidates for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District

Graham credited his Democratic competitors with a good race, and said he hopes to highlight a host of issues as he campaigns toward the general election.

“So, you know, we have a lot of needs here affordable housing, we need to support issues that are what I call those kitchen-table issues: healthcare, a living wage, I'm all in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $15. We have many issues here around the environment, environmental issues with clean drinking water, clean air, with the PFAS, including the Chemours contamination, especially down in the Cape Fear River Basin. So that's very important to those folks," Graham said. "And of course, you know, here in my community in Lumberton, you know, we have a lot of issues surrounding flooding and affordable housing as well."

Graham added that, as a largely agrarian district, farmers were also important,

"So we want to support our farmers and make sure that they're the getting their needs met as well, especially during this economic downturn that we're involved with," he said.

While placing third overall, Wilmington-area resident Steve Miller did take the top spot among New Hanover County voters. North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District covers Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, Pender, and Robeson counties, as well as parts of Cumberland County.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.