Madison County polling location, primary election, May 6, 2014. Colby Rabon/Carolina Public Press

By Jon Elliston and David Forbes and

In the three U.S. House of Representatives districts on the ballot in Western North Carolina, there were few surprises in the May 6 primary election. But in the 5th District, a close race will lead to a runoff to determine which Democratic candidate will move on.

The results below are from the state Board of Elections’ unofficial but detailed early counts.

In the 5th District, Republican incumbent Rep. Virginia Foxx trounced her primary challenger, while Democratic frontrunners Josh Brannon and Gardenia Henley failed to win the margin of victory and will face off in a runoff election.

In the 10th District, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry won handily. In that district, there was no Democratic primary.

In the 11th District, Democrat Tom Hill secured the nomination in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Rep. Mark Meadows, who had no primary challenge.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) represents the 5th District, which includes Boone and Watauga County
In her first primary challenge since 2004, District 5 U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx beat challenger Philip Doyle.

District 5: Foxx wins again; Democratic challengers head to runoff

Foxx has held her seat for a decade. This year, she faced the first primary challenge, from Clemmons realtor Philip Doyle, since her hard-fought initial battle in 2004.

This time, Foxx prevailed easily, with 75.3 percent of of the votes versus Doyle’s 24.6 percent.

“I am honored to take our shared vision of conservative solutions into the general election,” Foxx said in an email announcement of her victory. “I’m confident that even though winning in the fall will not come easily, our message of small government, individual liberty and common-sense solutions will carry the day.”

Four Democrats sought the spot to challenge Foxx in the fall.

Watauga County software programmer Josh Brannon emerged with 33.2 percent of the vote, while Winston-Salem activist Gardenia Henley garnered 26.1 percent. One of the two Democrats will advance after a July 15 runoff election.

The district includes Watauga County, one of the 18 westernmost counties of the state.

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) represents the 10th District
After fending off a tea party-backed challenger, 10th District U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry will run for his sixth term in office.

District 10: Republican McHenry secures bid for sixth term

In the 10th District Republican primary, five-term incumbent McHenry received 78.05 percent of the vote, besting challenger Richard Lynch‘s 21.95 percent.

Lynch, a businessman from Lowell who had previously run for governor in New Jersey and Congress in North Carolina, had the endorsement of an Asheville Tea Party group.

Asheville Democrat Tate MacQueen, the only candidate seeking the seat from his party, will run against McHenry in November.

District 10 includes the WNC counties of Rutherford and portions of Buncombe. It also includes Cleveland, Gaston, Lincon counties and portions of Catawba and Iredell counties.

District 11: Democrat Tom Hill leads Keith Ruehl

In the 11th District Democratic primary, Tom Hill of Zirconia in Henderson County beat Keith Ruehl of Barnardsville in Madison County by a margin of 53.97 percent to 46.03 percent.

Ruehl, a fireman and businessman, was making his first run for office.

In November, Hill, a retired physicist who made a failed bid for the 11th District nomination in 2012, will face Republican incumbent Rep. Mark Meadows.

District 11 includes much of the 18 westernmost counties of the state, including Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey counties. It also includes Burke and portions of Catawba.

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Jon Elliston is the lead contributing open government reporter at Carolina Public Press. Contact him at

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