Election official Debbie Crutchfield passes out stickers to voters Tuesday at town hall in Pine Knoll Shores. (Dylan Ray photo)

BEAUFORT — With just over 50% of the total vote, Allen Thomas beat out five other contenders in the primary race Tuesday to represent the Democratic Party in the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House.

Mr. Thomas, a former mayor of Greenville, garnered 12,912 votes overall, or 50.02% of the total, in the 3rd District, which encompasses most of eastern North Carolina, including Carteret County. In Carteret County, Mr. Thomas had 36.11% of the vote, with 920 ballots cast in his favor.

Richard Bew of Newport was runner-up for the nomination, with 6,511 votes, 25.22% of the overall total. Mr. Bew was the single highest vote-getter in his home county with 1,171 votes, representing 45.96% of the total in Carteret County.

In third place was Dana Outlaw with 12.62% of the vote, or 3,258 ballots, overall. In Carteret County, Ms. Outlaw garnered 273 votes, 10.71% of the total. Ike Johnson, Ernest T. Reeves and Gregory Humphrey were the other Democratic candidates in the running, with 6.83%, 2.67% and 2.64% of the overall vote, respectively.

Since Mr. Thomas received more than 30% of the total vote, Democrats do not need to hold a runoff election. The Republican primary did trigger a runoff election, to be held Tuesday, July 9, moving the general election to Tuesday, Sept. 10.

“I’m just really humbled by the great support I’ve been shown across eastern North Carolina,” Mr. Thomas said Tuesday night after the preliminary results came in. “…I’m excited to see where we go from here.”

Mr. Thomas lives in Winterville and served as Greenville mayor from December 2011 to July 2017. He said he is running on a campaign based on “real progress, not rhetoric” and wants to focus on issues like health care and infrastructure.

“I’ve said from the beginning, this is about moving eastern North Carolina forward,” he said.

Mr. Thomas said he will get to work immediately campaigning for the general election. He also thanked his team of volunteers who he said helped him get the  nomination. He said they hailed from all across the region.

The runner-up candidate could not be reached for comment by presstime.

Contact Elise Clouser at; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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