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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

North Carolina's mulligan round produced lots of three-putts.

Plenty of schadenfreude to go around in the ashes of the North Carolina Do-Over Primary.

1. Pity Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. An ardent tea partier, she failed to learn that when you move in with cannibals, you may end up on the menu. The video of her snarking another GOP woman for putting on weight probably didn't help. Trump's first congressional endorsement: clearly not a 10.

2. Pity Congressman Robert Pittenger. His district was flung down the Highway 74 Bible Road all the way to Fayettnam, where Democrats who voted for HB2 congregate. Not even a last-minute flurry of federal bathroom legislation saved him from going to bed knowing 65% of his base doesn't want him. The multiagency federal investigation of his campaign financing looks likely to carry into his new term. If he gets one.

3. Rev. Mark Harris got handed a mixed bag. The absentee pastor of Charlotte's 1st Baptist lost his second federal race in two years, but only by a squidgin. A recount is underway. Losing by just over 100 votes will reassure him NC wants another sex-obsessed cleric lecturing it. The bad news is the only county he lost is the one he lives in.

4. NC General Assembly members did not fare well. Much mocked by Republicans, who called her spirited opposition to HB2 congressional campaigning, Rep. Tricia Cotham only got 21% of the primary vote in the rejiggered District 12. 

But that's twice as well as Republicans John Blust and Andrew Brock did in their bids for the District 13 seat. Blust, who refused interviews about his full-throated HB2 support on grounds he was busy running for Congress, got 10.4%. Brock, who sits on the no-meeting Senate Ways & Means Committee- where HB2 repeal bills are sent- limped home with 8.4%.

5. Walter Jones, a hereditary congressman from the coast who dropped the dime on Renee Ellmers' alleged affair with Congressman Kevin McCarthy, scuppering McCarthy's change to be Speaker of the House, beat back two challengers who claimed he wasn't crazy enough to be a real Republican, with 65% of the vote. Two other certifiables, veteran Virginia Foxx and newbie Richard Hudson, hit the 65% sweet spot as well. Foxx will carry her rep as the Louie Gohmert of the Piedmont to a new term. Hudson's ostentatiously evangelical TV ads make one devoutly wish Mark Harris will move to his district.

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