Blake Beats Morgan in Senate Primary
State Sen. Harris Blake easily held off a challenge from County Commissioner Cindy Morgan Tuesday in a Republican primary for the District 22 seat.
Blake, a Pinehurst businessman, received 8,778 votes, or 59.42 percent, according to the unofficial returns. Morgan received 5,994 votes, or 40.58 percent. The district includes Moore and Harnett counties.
In Moore County, Blake picked up 6,509 votes, or 61.33 percent, compared to 4,104 votes, or 38.67 percent, for Morgan.
"I am very pleased with how things went today," Blake said Tuesday night. "Moore County really is the ship that drives the district as far as winning elections. I really thank the folks who have stuck with me. I am humbled by the support I have received. I worked hard to win, just as I have worked hard to serve this district and my constituents."
Blake earns a rematch with Democrat Dr. Abraham Oudeh, a former Dunn mayor, in November. Blake defeated him in 2006.
The primary pitted Blake against the wife of a man who was once his closest political ally -- former state Rep. Richard Morgan. Blake said he was a mentor and friend to Morgan and does not know why the Morgans turned on him.
Blake said he worked closely with Morgan during his first few years in the Senate. Blake said he still stood by Morgan after he made a power-sharing deal with Democrat Jim Black to be co-speaker of the House in 2003, which brought down the wrath of the state party on Morgan. He said in an earlier interview that he took "a lot of grief" for that.
During the campaign, Cindy Morgan characterized Blake as ineffective. She pointed to recent ratings that ranked him as one of the least effective members of the Senate and said his poor performance should not earn him a return trip to Raleigh.
"I don't know why they ran this type of campaign," Blake said. "I can't believe they tried to take down my reputation. It is just stinking politics. I have never said a negative thing about them. I wish Cindy well. I wish both of them well."
Blake said Republicans never fare well in the biennial effectiveness rankings because Democrats are in control.
"It is all about how Democrats look at you," he said. "It means nothing to me. I will let my reputation speak for itself."
Blake pointed out that he helped secure $1 million in grants for two parks in Harnett County.
"I hope the folks in Moore County will catch on that I can do the same thing here," he said. "I have represented this district as well as any human being could, and I look forward to continuing that for another two years."
Blake says he feels confident about his chance of winning re-election to a fourth term in November.
"I feel good about what I have done and look forward to continuing that," he said.
'Voters Have Spoken'
Morgan said she was disappointed by the results, but that she felt good about her campaign.
"We put a lot of effort into it," she said. "The voters have spoken. I woke up a conservative this morning, and I will wake up a conservative tomorrow. We all share the same principles. We will keep the faith and move forward."
Morgan said she had no regrets about the way she ran her campaign against Blake and that it was not about personal vendettas.
"I think we told people the truth," she said. "If he thinks that this is negative campaigning, that is his perspective."
Morgan said she called Blake's home and left a message Tuesday night congratulating him and wishing him well in November.
Morgan has two years remaining on her first term as a county commissioner. She said it is too early to say if she will make another run at state office.
"I will continue to serve the county and do the best job I can as a commissioner," she said.
The night was bittersweet for the Morgans. Her husband won a Republican primary for state superintendent of public instruction. He will face Democrat June Atkinson, the incumbent, in November.
"That makes this night easier to take," Cindy Morgan said.
It was the exact opposite of what happened two years ago, when Richard Morgan lost a bitterly contested GOP primary to Joe Boylan, while Cindy Morgan won her primary on the way to being elected as a commissioner.
"It seems that while one Morgan steps up, the other has to step back," Cindy Morgan said.
Contact David Sinclair at 693-2462 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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