5 District Court judge seats were up for grabs in the Triangle. Here are results.

·3 min read

Voters around North Carolina picked district court judges in primary elections Tuesday, with five seats up for grabs across multiple counties in the Triangle.

Durham’s Chief District Court Judge Pat Evans lost to an untested challenger, attorney Kevin Jones. Jones beat the incumbent by more than 20,000 votes, grabbing 72.5% of the ballots cast, according to unofficial results.

“As a judge I will dig below the surface to discover the most equitable resolution in each case,” Jones told The News & Observer earlier this year.

Evans’ candidacy was rocked in April by allegations of “victim blaming.”

The accusation centered around what Evans told a Duke University student who was seeking a no-contact order against another student, whom she accused of nonconsensual sexual contact and stalking. Evans denied the order and lectured the woman, according to a recording obtained by The News & Observer.

“As I sit here, I’m reminded of the reason for marriage and commitment. Now those are the old fashioned principles, but there is a rationale behind them because when we do things, because we have the opportunity or you have free choice, you can choose what you’re going to do, but you cannot choose the consequences of those actions,” Evans said during the hearing, prompting the woman to break into tears.

Kevin Jones is running against Pat Evans for district court judge in Durham County.
Kevin Jones is running against Pat Evans for district court judge in Durham County.

Here are unofficial results for the primary election.

Durham election results: Democratic Party primary for District Court judge

Democrats also competed for another seat in District 14, and it was similarly a battle between an incumbent and a political newcomer — but one with very different results.

District Court Judge Dave Hall coasted to victory over his challenger, attorney Jessica Major, in the battle for Seat 1. Hall grabbed 76% of the vote.

“In 2018 and today, I run on a platform of Equity, Accountability, and Opportunity. I make it a point to ensure that outcomes are equitable regardless of means. As to accessibility, I encourage all of us to support our nonprofits that provide legal services to low-income individuals,” Hall told The N&O.

Durham County District Court Judge Dave Hall is running for reelection in 2022.
Durham County District Court Judge Dave Hall is running for reelection in 2022.

Wake County election results: Democratic Party primary for District Court judge

Attorney and Guardian ad Litem Jennifer Bedford earned the nomination for an open seat in Wake County’s District 10F.

According to unofficial results, Bedford won 56% of the vote, beating out attorney Sean Ramkaransingh and Special Deputy Attorney General Chris Brooks.

Bedford told The N&O in her candidate questionnaire she was most proud of helping to close a legal loophole regarding consent in the state.

“I have built bridges without regard to any party’s politics and crafted legislation rooted in compassion and commonsense,” she said.

Jennifer Bedford is running for Wake County District Court judge in 2022.
Jennifer Bedford is running for Wake County District Court judge in 2022.

Johnston County election results: Republican Party primary for District Court judge

Johnston County is one of the three counties that comprise District 11, where two seats were up for grabs. Republicans in Lee, Harnett and Johnston counties selected candidates for two open seats — and one was a nail-biter that could lead to a run-off.

Jason Kimble narrowly beat Brian Lewis in the battle for Seat 3, with unofficial results reporting just 126 votes (less than half a percentage point) separated the two assistant district attorneys.

Jason Kimble is running for judge on the Johnston County District Court.
Jason Kimble is running for judge on the Johnston County District Court.

In response to a News & Observer questionnaire, Lewis said he hoped to “provide a combat veteran and career prosecutor’s perspective to the bench when handling family law and domestic cases.”

Kimble said his priority is for everyone to get a “fair shake” in the courtroom.

“I want to ensure that everyone in the courtroom gets a fair and impartial decision based on the facts and the law,” Kimble said.

Lewis won Harnett County with 75% of the vote and Lee County with 57%. Kimble was on track to take Johnston County.

Brian Lewis is running for Johnston County District Court judge.
Brian Lewis is running for Johnston County District Court judge.

In the competition for Seat 2, Travis Wheeler beat Charlene Nelson with 79% of the vote, cruising to victory in all three counties. Neither candidate responded to reporters from The News & Observer.

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