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How we see the primary races

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  • Correction

    An editorial in Monday's Observer said voters can cast ballots for two candidates in the N.C. Supreme Court race. They can vote for only one.



Voters go to the polls today to decide local, state and congressional primaries. In several races, the winner will run unopposed in November, so participation today is important. Go vote.

Here’s a brief summary of the Observer’s recommendations. For a fuller explanation of our choices, visit www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion.

U.S. Senate

Eight Republican candidates are vying for the chance to run against vulnerable Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. The Republicans have spent the primary season trying to persuade voters that they are the true conservatives in the field. The reality: There’s not much difference between them on the issues.

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, however, has a deeper knowledge of public policy issues facing North Carolina. Although we feel he’s been a key architect of the destructive Republican agenda in Raleigh, Tillis is the candidates Republicans should look to if they want someone who’s most equipped to beat Hagan and hit the ground running in Washington.

Hagan does face a primary challenge, but her opponents lack the experience to win a Senate race. Hagan deserves the nomination for a second term.

Two N.C. libertarians also are running for the Senate seat. Sean Haugh of Durham is the clear choice for voters.

U.S. House

In U.S. House District 12, a full field of Democrats is hoping to replace long-time Rep. Mel Watt in this heavily Democratic district. N.C. Sen. Malcolm Graham has a long history of serving Charlotte and has significant legislative experience, including time in the minority party in Raleigh. That would help him in Washington, where Republicans will likely continue to run the House.

In the Republican primary, TV and radio veteran Vince Coakley has a firmer grasp on the issues and policy prescriptions important to his party’s voters.

In U.S. House District 9, we haven’t agreed with much that Republican incumbent Robert Pittenger has done, but he was right to vote to end last fall’s senseless government shutdown. His opponent, Mike Steinberg, disagrees. Pittenger is the better choice.

N.C. Senate and House

In the N.C. Senate District 39 Republican primary, Charlotte native Matt Arnold brings strong conservative prinicples without the behavioral baggage of incumbent Bob Rucho, who also led the misguided effort to take Charlotte’s airport from the city.

In the N.C. Senate District 40 Democratic primary, former prosecutor Morris McAdoo brings a broad knowledge of the issues and the skills to advocate effectively for solutions.

In the N.C. House 98 Republican primary, Cornelius Town Council member John Bradford has shown an ability to think creatively about problems and get things done.

Mecklenburg Board of Commissioners

In the at-large race, Democratic voters can choose three candidates. Elaine Powell is highly respected, thoughtful and has an impressive work ethic. Pat Cotham is polarizing but is dedicated and works hard to improve the county. Trevor Fuller has been a stabilizing force on the oft-fractured board.

In District 2, Democrat Dondhi Burrell has a strong grasp of county issues and would bring welcome change from the erratic Vilma Leake.

N.C. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson has shown herself to be an intelligent and thoughtful justice in her first term and deserves renomination. Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson also is qualified and worthy of consideration.

Mecklenburg Sheriff

In the Democratic primary, Irwin Carmichael brings experience with the Sheriff’s Office and an understanding of its core duties. In the Republican primary, former Highway Patrol trooper Chris Hailey has a better sense of the management required to run the Sheriff’s Office.

Clerk of Superior Court

Assistant clerk Martha Efird, a Republican, has extensive experience in the Mecklenburg clerk’s office and would ably replace Martha Curran, who is not seeking reelection.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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