A crowded 6th Congressional District race is now down to two social conservatives.
University of North Carolina Greensboro political science professor Thomas Little believes it won’t be a difference in policy that split votes in the primary runoff between Phil Berger, Jr. and Mark Walker but their background.
Walker is a pastor who started his campaign for Congress early and built a strong grassroots base.
“We felt like if we do a good job with our base and continue to keep our guys engaged that’s going to work wonders,” said Walker.
Little was impressed by Walker’s showing but said the hard thing now is to draw in more voters with fewer people likely to turn up at the polls for the special election July 15.
“I think he’s going to need more but I think it’s going to be a huge advantage,” said Little. “The turnout in a runoff is usually lower than the primary.”
Berger, Jr. is a prosecutor whose father has established himself as a leader in the North Carolina Senate.
Berger, Jr. spent the first day following the primary win resting. A spokesman for his campaign said he needs at least one day of relaxation after emerging atop a pretty crowded field.
Little said one of the few things that can hurt Berger, Jr. is backlash.
“Two-thirds of the people did not vote for Berger,” said Little. “If they view Berger as an insider and want some new blood I think that bodes well for Walker.’
The winner faces a challenge from Tuesday’s Democratic primary winner Laura Fjeld in November.
The seat has been held by Republican Congressman Howard Coble since 1985.