Luther Hodges Jr., who had hoped to jump to a quick start in his drive to unseat Sen. Jesse A. Helms, (R.N.C.), received a major setback yesterday when he was forced into a runoff in the North Carolina Democratic primary.

Hodges, the banker son of President Kennedy's secretary of commerce, led his nearest rival in the eight-candidate field for the Democratic nomination by 13 percentage points Tuesday, but failed to win as large a vote as his supporters had predicted.

Insurance Commissioner John Ingram, the second-place finisher in Tuesday's election, yesterday demanded a May 30 runoff, something Hodges and other Democrats had hoped to avoid.

Hodges, who spent $300,000 of his own money in the primary, last week said a runoff would cost him from $100,000 to $150,000 and divert attention away from Helms.

It could also open up deep divisions in the Democratic Party, and slow Hodges' momentum.

Ingram is an erratic, self-styled populist with a shoot-from-the-hip manner. He has labeled Hodges, the former chairman of North Carolina's largest bank, the candidate of "special interests" and accused him of trying to buy the election.

Hodges, by contrast, is a colorless and somewhat clumsy campaigner making his first run for public office as a middle of the roader, more concerned about the tobacco farmers of North Carolina than national issues.

With all but two percents reporting, he had 39.6 percent of the vote. Ingram had 29 percent, with the other challengers far behind. Hodges needed 50 percent to avoid a runoff, which is not automatic and depends on whether the runners-up demand it.

In Indiana, the only other state with primaries Tuesday, Rep. John Brademas, 51, the Democratic whip in the House and 10 other incumbent congressmen easily won renomination in an election characterized by a low voter turnout.

Dr. David G.Crane, 41, a Martinsville, Ind., psychiatrist and lawyer, was picked at the Republican challanger to Rep. David W. Evans (D. Ind.), in the 6th Congressional District. He is the younger brother of Rep. Philip M. Crane (R. III) and Dan Crane, both of whom were nominated for Congress in the Illinois primary.

Following is a list of congressional primary victors in Indiana and North Carolina. Incumbents are indicated with an(I); candidates without opposition are indicated with an X.