Phil Berger, Jr. and Mark Walker are both vying for the seat Congressman Howard Coble has held for decades. District 6 covers portions of Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Guilford, Orange, Person, Rockingham, Stokes, and Surry counties.
Mark Walker spoke to WFMY News 2 the day after his win over Phil Berger Jr. for the District 6 seat.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- He had more money, more name recognition, more influence, but not enough votes. The odds-on favorite, Phil Berger, Jr., lost his bid for Congress to political newcomer Mark Walker on Tuesday.
A couple of months ago, Berger was just 6-percentage points from avoiding a run-off for the District 6 seat Congressman Howard Coble has held for decades. Walker won 6 of the 10 counties in District 6, including Rockingham County, where Berger is the District Attorney.
Mark Walker talks to WFMY News 2 after winning the bid for Congress.
After losing the District 6 seat to Mark Walker, Phil Berger Jr. conceded at the Marriott in downtown Greensboro.
The results are in for the run-off primary elections in North Carolina, and Triad voters have decided whom will be on the ballot for congressional districts five and six in November. WFMY News 2
Berger raised $100,000 more than Walker, was endorsed by Congressman Coble, and is the son of Senator Phil Berger, one of the most influential politicians in the state. Walker says his win means people understood his message.
"Giving the power back to the people instead of channeling it through Washington, D.C. and I think the whole message from the beginning when we launched this 1 ½ years ago, sitting down with Sheriff BJ Barnes, we talked about the message, people before politics and I think that resonated with the voter," explained Walker.
Walker says negative ads from Super PACs might have back-fired for Berger. Last week, Walker called for an investigation into what he called suspicious campaign donations to Berger's camp.
"With 60 percent of the vote, it really starts to build unity already, as far as showing the public that the people have spoken," explained Walker. He says his team will now, "turn our focus on separating Republican values, self-reliance, limited government, free markets against the Democrat mindset."
Berger released a statement saying, "It is important we unify as a party behind the Republican candidate."
During his concession speech, Berger told his supporters, "I congratulate Mark, I congratulate his supporters and I wish them nothing but the best as they go through the fall campaign. It will be a tough election but with your help and the help of his supporters, we will retain Howard Coble's seat."
Walker issued the following statement:
"I commend Phil Berger on a strong race and look forward to working with him and his supporters to keep this a Republican seat," said Walker. "We have big challenges looking toward November, in the 6th District and the State at large. I am ready to help carry the conservative banner."
"This is a huge win for the people, for the volunteers and the thousands of voters who turned out in support of our message. We can still send an outsider – one of the people – to Washington."
"I only hope to continue the legacy of leadership and fine constituent service that Rep. Howard Coble has left the District."
Laura Fjeld Statement on Republican Primary:
Mark Walker won the bitter Republican runoff today by appealing to far-right Tea Party voters.
Laura Fjeld welcomed Republican supporters of Phil Berger Jr. to join her campaign, stating, "Those mainstream Republican voters who are disappointed with their extremist nominee have a home in my campaign. I represent mainstream North Carolina values, and will work with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats to create jobs and improve education."
Laura outlined the differences between her and Walker, stating, "Mark Walker is a radical extremist who doesn't share the values of North Carolinians. He wants to raise taxes on millions of working families. Walker believes that women who are the victim of rape or incest should be forced to carry the resulting pregnancy. Walker would even outlaw some forms of birth control. This is 2014, we should be talking about jobs, not banning birth control."
Laura concluded by stating that, "Walker's extremism has blinded him from the issues that matter. I am laser focused on the issues people care about: creating jobs, fixing our roads, improving our schools, and cutting wasteful spending. I will work with both sides, be a consensus builder, and get the results we need to help families here in North Carolina. I will work to end the Washington gridlock while Mark Walker's extremism will make it worse. I will be a voice for everyone; Mark Walker will be a voice only for the most extreme segment of our society."
RESOURCES: NC State Board of Elections
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Democrat Laura Fjeld spoke with WFMY News 2 about what she brings to District 6.