US Senate: Cunningham to begin Senate campaign in hometown of Lexington

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The latest updates in North Carolina’s primary elections for a U.S. Senate seat. As part of our political pledge to viewers, CBS 17 News is reporting facts and outcomes so our community can make sound choices.

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9:20 p.m.

Cal Cunningham says he’s kicking off his U.S. Senate general election campaign in his hometown of Lexington.

On the heels of his victory in the Democratic primary, Cunningham announced his “Carolina Conversations” two-day tour that will begin Wednesday and also will include stops in Salisbury and Concord.

Cunningham and Republican incumbent Thom Tillis will square off in the general election.

The Associated Press called their respective primary elections shortly after the polls closed Tuesday evening.

Tillis says in a statement that the November race “will present a clear contrast between me and my opponent, Cal Cunningham.”

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8:45 p.m.

The Associated Press is calling the U.S. Senate primaries in North Carolina for Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham.

Tillis had 79 percent of votes in the GOP primary while Cunningham had just under 58 percent of the Democrats’ votes with 12 percent of the state’s precincts reporting Tuesday night.

Cunningham is a former state senator and Iraq War veteran. Tillis will seek his second term as a U.S. Senator after he was first elected in 2014.

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8:25 p.m.

Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham held early leads in their respective primary elections for the U.S. Senate.

With 41 of the state’s 2,670 precincts reporting early Tuesday night, Tillis had more than 79 percent of votes in the GOP’s primary.

Cunningham, a former state senator and Iraq War veteran, had 57 percent of votes in the Democratic race to just under 36 percent for state Sen. Erica Smith.

Tillis and Cunningham were the leaders in their races in a Meredith College poll from last week.

A subplot in the Democrats’ race was the revelation that a group working to get Republicans elected to the Senate was behind a series of ads for Smith, and she says she believes that’s because the GOP believes Tillis would have a better chance at defeating her in the general election in November.

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10 a.m.

North Carolina voters are choosing their nominees for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis is facing three challengers in the Republican primary while Cal Cunningham and Erica Smith are among the candidates for the Democratic nomination.

A recent Meredith College poll shows Tillis leading the Republican field at 53 percent of respondents. None of his challengers — who include retired Superior Court Judge Paul Wright, political activist and public relations executive Sharon Hudson and former advertising company owner Larry Holmquist — have more than 4.8 percent.

Cunningham, a lawyer and major in the U.S. Army Reserve, leads the Meredith poll among Democrats at 43.4 percent to 13.8 percent for Smith, a state senator and engineer.

The Democratic primary was marked by the revelation that a group working to get Republicans elected to the Senate was behind a series of ads for Smith. She says she believes it was because the GOP believes Tillis may be more likely to defeat her than Cunningham in November.

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This story will be updated throughout the night as results are tabulated.

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