After three federal judges decided in February that North Carolina had impermissibly racially gerrymandered its congressional districts, state lawmakers had to quickly redraw the maps and push the state’s congressional primary from March 15 to June 7. Right now, ten of the state’s thirteen congressional districts are held by Republicans; minus a wave on par with 2006 or 2010, the new mapsstill gerrymandered, though not as obviously racially gerrymanderedwill likely produce the same results.
Which means that your next member of Congress might have been selected by just a handful of voters two weeks ago. The June 7 primary saw turnout of just 8 percentdown significantly from the March presidential primary, which had more than four times as many voters.
And because of the three-month delay, the General Assembly also eliminated runoff elections, meaning whoever won a plurality won. (Before, a candidate had to get 40 percent of the primary vote to avoid a runoff.) In the Thirteenth Congressional District in the Triad, gun-shop owner Ted Budd won the seventeen-person (!) Republican contest with just 20 percentfewer actual voters than you could fit in Red Hat Amphitheater. He’s a heavy favorite in November.
Even though very few people decided the winners and losers, the candidates still dropped a lot of coin on these contests. We wanted to see who got the most bang for their buck. To the right, you’ll find the ten primary victors who spent the most money (as of the end of May) per vote.
Democracy, it turns out, isn’t cheap.
Patrick McHenry (Republican, incumbent, District 10)
Cost per vote: $99.65 $$$$$$$$$$
Richard Hudson (Republican, incumbent, District 8)
Cost per vote: $88.96 $$$$$$$$$
George Holding(Republican, incumbent, District 2)
Spent: $1,571, 509
Cost per vote: $82.97 $$$$$$$$
Robert Pittenger (Republican, incumbent, District 9)
Cost per vote: $80.91 $$$$$$$$
Alma Adams (Democrat, incumbent, District 12)
Cost per vote: $35.54 $$$$
Virginia Foxx (Republican, incumbent, District 5)
Cost per vote: $32.26 $$$$
Walter Jones (Republican, incumbent, District 3)
Cost per vote: $30.55 $$$
Mark Walker (Republican, incumbent, District 6)
Cost per vote: $20 $$
Ted Budd (Republican, District 13)
Cost per vote: $9.12 $
Sue Googe (Republican, District 4)
Cost per vote: $4.05 $