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Editor’s note: This article will be updated throughout the day. Be sure to scroll down for the latest. 

Pauly Denetclaw
Indian Country Today

Two Indigenous candidates, North Carolina state Rep. Charles Graham, Lumbee, and environmental advocate Crystal Cavalier, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi, learn whether or not they will head to the general election this fall.

North Carolina is holding its primary election on Tuesday. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. local time.

Graham is running for the democratic nomination in district 7 and Cavalier is running as a democrat in district 4.

In the 4th Congressional District, Cavalier goes head to head with several strong candidates from the Durham, Chapel Hill area. She is running again American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, Nida Allam who is the first Muslim woman elected for state office and Valerie Foushee, who has a strong base within the Black community. There are four other Democratic opponents running to represent the solidly blue district.

(Previous: North Carolina has never elected an Indigenous person to Congress)

Graham, on the other hand, is running in a mostly conservative district. Three others are running against him for the Democratic nomination including former-Fayetteville city council member, Charles Evans, newcomer Yushonda Midgette and businessman Steve Miller.

On the Republican side, incumbent David Rouzer is running for reelection. Before Rouzer, the seat was held by Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, for nine consecutive terms. In 2012, the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index named the 7th Congressional District in the top 10 of the most conservative districts in the country, after overwhelmingly supporting John McCain and George W. Bush in the presidential elections.

In a tough 2012 race, McIntyre won by just 600 votes. Then, he retired leaving the seat to Rouzer to grab, who won with 60 percent of the votes in 2014. Rouzer’s narrowest win was at 55 percent in 2018.

North Carolina has yet to elect an Indigenous person to Congress, despite having one of the largest populations of Indigenous people in the South. The Tar Heel state is home to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest Native nation east of the Mississippi.

7 PM ET

The polls will close in North Carolina in about 30 minutes. All eyes are on the Trump-endorsed nominees in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, in an attempt to gauge his influence on the midterm elections.

In Pennsylvania, Lt Gov. John Fetterman has been outspoken in his support of legalizing marijuana in the hopes that it will get him to the U.S. Senate. The country will learn shortly if this is a winning strategy.

Crystal Cavalier, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi, and state Rep. Charles Graham, Lumbee, had boots on the ground Tuesday, talking with voters as they made their final decision for the North Carolina primaries.

This story will be updated as the votes for the North Carolina primary start rolling in. Graham is running for congressional district 7 and Cavalier is running for district 4. 

9 PM EST

State Rep. Graham is one of the top two candidates in congressional district 7. He is leading Charles Evans, a former Cumberland County commissioner and Fayetteville City Council member. As of 9:00 p.m. EST, Graham has 33.77 percent of votes with 37 of 196 precincts reporting. Evans has 30.67 percent of the votes.

Cavalier is sitting at 1 percent of votes overall. In her county, Alamance, she received 4.5 percent of the votes. Foushee leads with 51 percent of the votes overall. 

10 PM EST

State Rep. Charles Graham who served over a decade in the North Carolina state legislature is going head to head with Charles Evans for the democratic nomination in congressional district 7.

Graham currently leads with just .6 percent of the votes. As of 10:00 p.m. EST, Graham has 10,759 votes and Evans has 10,562.

Nearly 60 percent of the precincts have reported. 

11 PM EST

Charles Graham, Lumbee, was leading by 1.8 percent with 76.5 percent of precincts reporting. Graham has 12,897 votes and Evans has 12,165. The race is still too close to call.

12 PM EST

Charles Graham, Lumbee, has won the democratic nomination for North Carolina’s 7th congressional district. He is one step closer to possibly becoming the state’s first Indigenous person elected to Congress. Details here.

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