DD Adams wins Democratic primary in 5th, faces uphill battle against Foxx

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Democrat DD Adams tells supporters about a concession phone call from opponent Jenny Marshall during a celebration at Vintage Sofa Bar on Tuesday night. (photo by Lauren Barber)

by Lauren Barber and Jordan Green

DD Adams, a member of Winston-Salem City Council, nailed down a decisive win in a tough contest against teacher Jenny Marshall to earn the Democratic nomination in the 5th Congressional District, besting her opponent 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent.

Adams faces an uphill battle in her bid to defeat Republican incumbent Virginia Foxx, a seven-term incumbent who has previously served in the Republican leadership in the US House. Foxx has raised $1.5 million in this election cycle, with $3.0 million in hand going into the general election. In contrast, Adams raised $136,075 and spent $131,495 to win her primary, leaving only $4,580 for her impending fight with Foxx.

“I understand the dynamics of the real world,” Adams said while celebrating her primary victory at Vintage Sofa Bar in Winston-Salem. “I understand I live in a Trump state and a Trump district, but I believe and… it’s going to take all of us believing. At first, when I would tell people I was gonna run, they said, ‘You can’t win.’ But where would we be as a country, as a world if there were not some of us that believed and hoped and dreamed?”

Although both Democratic candidates live in Winston-Salem, the primary results revealed an urban-rural split. Adams carried Democratic-leaning and urban Forsyth County with 63.4 percent of the vote. But Marshall carried all 10 remaining rural counties, and by wide margins, ranging from 5.6 points in Watauga, home to Appalachian State University, to 46.1 percent in Surry County.

“We’ll see the numbers, but black women turned out,” Adams said. “We carried that water, baby. African-American women carry the water and I gotta believe and hope the numbers will bear that out. We carried the water for voting rights, children’s rights, labor, education, women’s rights, everything. We do what we need to do because that’s how we were raised, to hold up our communities.”

Foxx overwhelmed both of her Republican challengers, who ran somewhat to the left of her. She took 80.8 percent of the vote, with the rest split between challengers Dillon Gentry and Cortland J. Meader Jr.

Robin Leonard, a 60-year-old Republican voter at the Griffith Firehouse polling place, was typical of Foxx’s loyal base.

“She’s really been there for me, right on it every few weeks letting me know what’s going on,” said Leonard, who credits Foxx for her support of people with disabilities. “She was real caring about the situation. People who work in her office kept sending me stuff letting me know what’s been going on, and I’m sure she checks on it, and she was absolutely great.”

In state Senate District 31, Joyce Krawiec prevailed over Dan Barrett in the Republican primary. The race uniquely pitted two incumbents, who were drawn into the same district, against each other. The two candidates carried their respective home counties by roughly the same proportions, with Krawiec taking 66.9 percent of the vote in Forsyth and Barrett earning 71.9 percent in Davie. But the larger electorate in Forsyth worked in Krawiec’s favor, giving her 48.6 percent of the vote, to 46.9 by Barrett. A third candidate, Peter Antinozzi, took the remaining 4.5 percent. Krawiec will face Democratic challenger John Motsinger Jr. in the November general election.

The Democratic primary in Forsyth County Commission District A, a two-seat district covering the majority of Winston-Salem, saw the ouster of incumbent Everette Witherspoon. Tonya McDaniel, a former campaign manager for the late political powerhouse Earline Parmon, was the top vote-getter with 3,328 votes in the four-way contest for the two seats. Fleming El-Amin, who was appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of the late Walter Marshall, secured the second seat, with 3,057 votes. With 2,906 votes, Witherspoon fell 151 votes short of the number needed to hold onto his seat. With only 11.5 percent of registered voters in Forsyth going to the polls, the narrow margin was reversal of the 2010 election, when Witherspoon won his seat by defeating a previous incumbent by only 113 votes. A fourth candidate, Tony L. Burton III, took 2,801 votes.

Greeting voters at the Brown Douglas Recreation Center polling place in Winston-Salem, McDaniel sensed victory.

“I feel so very confident today and I guess it’s because of the voter turnout,” she said. “I think people are more engaged than they have been in the primaries in the recent past, so that’s good to see.”

In the Republican primary for the county commission’s one at-large seat, Buddy Collins easily defeated Jimmie Boyd. Collins, a former Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board member who went on to serve on the NC Board of Education, won exactly two thirds of the vote against Boyd, a far-right militia activist who spent much of the runup to the primary organizing a national militia gathering near Pilot Mountain. Collins will face Democratic incumbent Ted Kaplan in the November general election.

In the Democratic primary for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board District 1, Barbara Hanes Burke and Malishai Woodbury won the two open seats in the district. A change in leadership was guaranteed, with incumbents Victor Johnson Jr. and Deanna Taylor announcing they would not seek reelection. Burke, an assistant principal at Carver High School, and Woodbury, an equity trainer for neighboring Guilford County Schools, respectively garnered 33.0 percent and 24.3 percent of the vote. Three other candidates — Alex Bohannon, Chenita Barber Johnson and Eunice Campbell — fell short. As with the District A race for county commission, the Democratic primary in District 1 is final considering no Republicans filed.

In the suburban-rural school board District 2, five candidates vied for four seats in the Republican primary. Incumbents Lori Goins Clark, Lida Calvert Hayes and Dana Caudill Jones took the top three positions in that order. Challenger Leah Crowley narrowly edged out incumbent David Singletary by 51 votes. The four Republican nominees will vie for the four seats with two Democratic candidates — Rebecca Nussbaum and Marilyn Baker — in the general election.

In the Republican primary for sheriff, Bill Schatzman, who has held the office since 2002, walloped challenger Ernie Leyba by a vote count of roughly four to one. Schatzman will face Democrat Bobby Kimbrough in the general election. A retired DEA agent, Kimbrough won his race by a commanding majority, with 69.6 percent against opponents Tim Wooten and Clif Kilby.

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