Former congressional aide Richard Hudson won the Republican primary runoff to face Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) on Tuesday, overcoming a conservative outsider candidate who was backed by the Club for Growth.
With 80 percent of precincts reporting, Hudson led dentist Scott Keadle 64 percent to 36 percent. The AP has called the race for Hudson.
As we wrote earlier Tuesday, the race was a key test of the Republican establishment against a tea party-esque challenge.
Keadle got early backing from the conservative Club for Growth, which spent $400,000 on his behalf. But other outside groups, including the American Action Network and the Young Guns Action Fund, spent more then $750,000 combined to help out Hudson — including much of it in the final three weeks.
Hudson is a former chief of staff to Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), John Carter (R-Texas) and Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.).
In other primary runoffs held Tuesday in North Carolina, businessman Mark Meadows defeated businessman Vance Patterson in a landslide for the GOP nomination in retiring Rep. Heath Shuler’s (D-N.C.) district. Meadows faces former Shuler chief of staff Hayden Rogers in the general election.
The districts held by Shuler and Kissell are top-10 targets for Republicans after both were drawn significantly more conservative after redistricting. The GOP also has high hopes of beating Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and is virtually assured of winning retiring Rep. Brad Miller’s (D-N.C.) seat. State Sen. David Rouzer and former U.S. attorney George Holding won primaries in those districts, respectively, last month and avoided going to runoffs.
In the other major congressional runoff Tuesday night, former state senator Robert Pittenger (R) narrowly defeated former Mecklenburg County sheriff Jim Pendergraph (R) in retiring Rep. Sue Myrick’s (R-N.C.) Charlotte-area district. Republicans are heavily favored to retain the seat. Pittenger self-funded $1.9 million for his campaign.