RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina voters are choosing their parties’ nominees in dozens of legislative and congressional primary races congested with contestants who were spurred by strong feelings about President Donald Trump or their state’s redistricting struggles.

Aiming to advance through Tuesday’s primary elections are more than 35 current General Assembly members and eight congressional incumbents, including top Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, representing the mountainous 11th District, and Rep. Patrick McHenry, the chief deputy whip representing the 9th District stretching from Gastonia to Asheville, are favorites to win.

The most threatened GOP incumbents may be Robert Pittenger of Charlotte and Walter Jones of Farmville.

Pittenger, in his third term, faces a 9th District GOP rematch with the Rev. Mark Harris, a longtime state Southern Baptist leader who lost to Pittenger in the 2016 primary by only 134 voters. Clarence Goins of Fayetteville is also in the race, which has focused on the Christian conservative credentials of Harris and Pittenger and which candidate is more closely aligned with Trump.

The president is also playing a big role in the 3rd District, where Jones is being challenged by Craven County Commissioner Scott Dacey for voting against some of Trump’s agenda items, including the tax overhaul law and health care replacement bill. Phil Law, one of Jones’ 2016 rivals, is also in the race. Jones, a 12-term deficit hawk opposed to the war in Iraq, has said this is the last time he’ll seek re-election.

Other incumbents seeking nominations Tuesday are Democratic Reps. David Price in the 4th District and Alma Adams (12th), as well GOP Reps. George Holding (2nd) and Virginia Foxx (5th).

At the state level, court-ordered state House and Senate redistricting created more competitive districts - some without sitting incumbents, attracting lots of candidates. Pairs of Republican senators were drawn into the same district, meaning two incumbents won’t advance. Energy for and against Trump and Republicans in control of the General Assembly also led candidates to file in droves.

A little over 4 percent of the state’s 6.9 million registered voters cast ballots before Tuesday, either through early in-person or traditional absentee voting. Some voters had no primaries in which to make a choice because there were no statewide races on the ballot.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. ...

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy[1] before commenting.References^ Comment Policy (www.washingtontimes.com)

Read more from our friends at the Washington Times