ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — In the race for North Carolina's 1st Congressional District, Democrat Don Davis defeated Republican Sandy Smith, based on preliminary election results.
The NC-01 District includes the counties of Hertford, Gates, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, and more. Long-time Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield decided not to retire after his current term ends, leaving the seat open.
NC01 is a longtime Democratic stronghold that's been represented by retiring Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield since 2004. The newly redrawn district map was considered more competitive and Republicans had hoped for a pickup.
The outgoing congressman endorsed Davis as his successor. Davis faced Republican Sandy Smith, a Trump-endorsed business executive, who hoped to flip the seat red after failing to do so in 2020, when she lost to Butterfield.
As of early Wednesday morning, Davis held a 53-47 lead over Smith, with 94% of the precincts reporting.
Smith had positioned herself as a Trump loyalist, using descriptions such as "unapologetic America first" and a "Pro-Trump fighter" on her website.
She falsely attributed her 2020 loss to the Dominion voting machines, which weren't used anywhere in North Carolina, echoing a conspiracy theory that those machines "switched votes."
She was also at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to support Trump's efforts to stop Congress' certification of Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.
Davis is an Air Force veteran, minister, former mayor, and current North Carolina state senator.
"This is about this election, the legacy of leadership that eastern North Carolina is accustomed to," he previously told 13News Now. "And I truly believe that I am part of the legacy of leadership. And this is, too, about the future of eastern North Carolina. Which direction are we going to go? And we must stay in this fight for our kids. We must stay in this fight for better health, and we must stay in this fight for good-paying American jobs right here in North Carolina."
For more on Tuesday's midterms, visit 13News Now's election results page.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.