The four things you need to watch in the North Carolina and Alabama runoffs

July 15, 2014

(Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Primary season is back in business!

After a brief midsummer breather, voters are back at it Tuesday, casting ballots in North Carolina and Alabama runoff elections. Nominees in three congressional races will be decided. There also an auditor's race you shouldn't miss.

Here's a quick look at what you need to know. As always, we will have results for you this evening.

1. Will the Club for Growth pick up a W in Alabama?

The anti-tax Club for Growth has stumbled this cycle. It spent lots of money backing Chris McDaniel (R) only to see him lose to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Its crowd-sourced candidate in Idaho's 2nd district was easily defeated. The group is looking to right the ship in Alabama's 6th district, where Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) is retiring. The Club has spent money backing conservative activist Gary Palmer (R) against state Rep. Paul DeMarco (R), the leading vote-getter in round one. Palmer was not the Club's first choice -- it backed another candidate in the primary. The winner of the GOP nomination will be expected to skate to victory in November. The district gave 74 percent of its vote to Mitt Romney in 2012. Polls close at 7 p.m. Central time.

2. Will Rep. Howard Coble's preferred candidate win the nomination to succeed him?

Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), 83, is retiring at the end of this term. He wants Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. (R) to replace him. Coble endorsed Begrer against Baptist minister Mark Walker (R). As in Alabama, the winner of this runoff will be a heavy favorite in November. Romney won 58 percent there. Polls close at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.

3. Which Democrat will go on to become a big underdog against Rep. Virginia Foxx?

The Democratic primary in North Carolina's 5th district is down to software developer Josh Brannon and retired federal employee Gardenia Henley. The winner will be a sizable underdog against Rep. Virginia Foxx (R). Polls close at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.

4. Dale Peterson.

Peterson is in the Republican runoff for auditor of Alabama. Never heard of him? Check out this ad from 2010 -- which still stands out as one of the most memorable in recent memory. Polls close at 7 p.m. Central time.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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