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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Christian Castelli, of Southern Pines, nosed out Summerfield resident Lee Haywood by just more than 1,000 votes to win a 7-person Republican race on Tuesday night to take on Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) in the 6th Congressional District.

The results are unofficial and incomplete until all mail-in ballots are received and counted and the results certified by local and state election officials. There could be a recount. Thomas Watercott, a Libertarian from Greensboro, joins the ballot in November.

Christian Castelli (PHOTO FROM CANDIDATE)

Castelli, who raised the most money in the race after changing districts to run away from his residence, earned around 36% of the vote to defeat Haywood, a long-time Republican activist and nominee in 2018, who had just less than 34%.

Mary Ann Contogiannis, a physician from Greensboro, was third with 12%, followed by Gerry Austin, of Summerfield (6%), Laura Pichard, of Pelham (4.4%), Marvin Boguslawski, of Jamestown (4%), and Bill Schuch, of Greensboro (3.4%).

Casetelli is an Army veteran and business owner in his first campaign. He originally had filed to run in the 7th District before new lines were drawn

In 2018, Haywood beat Pichardo in the primary, getting more than 73% out of the fewer than 40,000 that were cast. About that many were cast this year, too.

The Republican National Committee has targeted the 6th District as one it hopes to flip in November, seeing an opportunity to defeat Manning, who has represented the district since November 2020. She is the first Democrat to have been elected to represent Greensboro and Guilford County since 1984, and she is the first woman ever.

Former Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro decided not to seek re-election in 2020 and Manning won with 62.3% of the vote against Haywood out of more than 400,000 votes cast. That was a higher percentage than President Joe Biden received in the district.

But after several machinations of map-drawing that went through the General Assembly last year and then a court-mandated review in February, the 6th District now is comprised of Guilford County, yes, but also Rockingham and almost all of Caswell counties. A reduced section of Forsyth County around Winston-Salem is included.

Castelli didn’t respond to an email seeking his reaction to the apparent victory. He also didn’t respond when WGHP reached out to all seven candidates with a series of questions earlier this spring. designed to give you insights into their personal histories and visions. But Castelli was one of two who didn’t respond.

He had filed to run for Congress under the General Assembly’s first map and filed in the 6th when those lines were final in February. He is the only candidate who is not a resident of the district – not required by law in congressional races but generally preferred by candidates – and is one of numerous GOP candidates this year who are running out of their residential districts.

Castelli’s campaign, though, also has more cash on hand — $144,621 as of March 31 – than all the other candidates combined. But a chunk of that has been from personal loans totaling $140,000 to his campaign. He did list about $65,000 in donations for the first quarter of the year, but $19,000 of that was a personal loan.

Manning did comment, with her staff issuing a statement shortly after election results, started to arrive.

“It’s more important than ever that our country elects leaders who will advocate for policies that help lower costs for families, promote economic opportunity for all, defend access to comprehensive health care, and protect our national security,” Manning said. “During my first term in office, I’ve brought more than $500 million home to the Triad, held more than 250 constituent meetings, and closed over 1,500 constituent cases.

“I’m running for re-election to build on that progress and to ensure that North Carolinians have a strong voice in Washington. I look forward to continuing to represent Guilford County and parts of Forsyth County and I will work hard to earn the support of voters in Rockingham and Caswell Counties.”

Other congressional races in the Triad

Cawthorn ousted

Disgraced 11th District incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville), whose campaign has been marked with calamity and outrage, lost to state Sen. Chuck Edwards of Flat Rock. Edwards, supported by Sen. Thom Tillis and most other prominent Republicans — although former President Donald Trump supported Cawthorn — took about 33.5% of almost 100,000 votes cast in the primary. Cawthorn got about 32%. Matthew Burril (9.5%) was a distant third. Edwards will face Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who took 59.77% to outdistance Katie Dean (25.78%) in the 6-person Democratic race.

The 13th District is seen as the most up-for-grabs race, with eight Republicans and five Democrats seeking this open seat. Another Trump endorsee, Republican Bo Hines, a Wake Forest law school graduate who planned to run in two other districts before settling here and moving to Fuquay-Varina, won with 32.1% of the GOP vote. He will face Wiley Nickel, who dominated the Democratic race, getting 51.9%.