The 2010 congressional elections in North Carolina were held on November 2, 2010, to determine who would represent the state of North Carolina in the United States House of Representatives. Primary elections, where needed, were held on May 4, and the second primaries, where needed, followed on June 22. Representatives are elected for two-year terms; those elected are serving in the 112th Congress from January 2011 until January 2013.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties had primary elections. The Democratic primary featured incumbent Representative G.K. Butterfield facing business owner Chad Larkins. G.K. Butterfield won the Democratic nomination with 72.93% of the vote.
There was a four-way race for the Republican nomination including family-owned insurance company executive Ashley Woolard, paramedic Jim Miller, assistant pastor and ethics instructor Jerry Grimes, and part-time sales associate John Carter. Ashley Woolard won the Republican nomination with 45.24% of the vote.
In the general election, Democratic incumbent G.K. Butterfield defeated Republican nominee Ashley Woolard.
In the primaries, no one filed to challenge incumbent Bob Etheridge, who ran for an eighth term, on the Democratic side and the Libertarian Party nominee Tom Rose had no primary either. The Republican primary, however, featured a three-way race between retired businessman Frank Deatrich, nurse Renee Ellmers and auto dealer Todd Gailas. Renee Ellmers won the primary with 55.11% of the vote.
The general election race heated up after the primaries when Renee Ellmers received an endorsement from Sarah Palin and Bob Etheridge was caught on camera man-handling some bloggers who asked him a question and would not identify themselves. This district proved to be the closest race in the state on Election Day. On November 12, 2010, the State Board of Elections reported that Ellmers had defeated Etheridge by 1,489 votes out of 189,800 votes cast in the race. That was a narrower margin than the first results reported on the night of the election, and was within the margin that allowed Etheridge to ask for a recount. After the recount was complete and showed little change in the vote count, Etheridge conceded to Ellmers.
In the Republican primary, long-time incumbent Representative Walter B. Jones faced retired Marine and Crystal Coast Tea Party founder Bob Cavanaugh along with third-time candidate and former Democrat Craig Weber. Jones won the nomination with 76.88% of the vote.
Both the Democratic and Libertarian party candidates went on to the general election without facing any primaries.
In the general election, Republican Walter B. Jones faced Democratic political consultant and patient services representative Johnny G. Rouse and Libertarian software developer Darryl Holloman. Jones kept his seat by winning with 71.86% of the vote.
Although Democrats had a 14-point plurality of registered voters, Jones had long been thought to have an unbreakable hold on this district. Much of this area had been part of the 1st prior to 1993, and Jones's father, popular 14-term Democrat Walter Jones, Sr., is still an icon in this region. The district had a CPVI of R+15—a three-way statistical tie for the most Republican district in the state.
Incumbent Democrat David Price did not face any opposition in the Democratic primary. He went on to face the winner of the four-way race for the Republican nomination which featured businessman David Burnett, Gulf War veteran George Hutchins, physician and software entrepreneur B.J. Lawson, and former currency trader executive Frank Roche. B.J. Lawson won the primary with 45.99% of the vote.
David Price faced B.J. Lawson in the general election which was a re-match of their 2008 campaigns. The election also made headlines when the Lawson campaign released an ad that claimed to use Morgan Freeman's voice-over when it actually had not. The Lawson campaign withdrew the ad saying they were misled by M.E.I. Political who produced the ad. David Price won the election with 57.16% of the vote.
Price has represented the district since 1997 and from 1987 to 1995. Despite a CPVI of only D+5, the influence of the state's three major research universities plus Price's status as an Appropriations subcommittee chairman (or "Cardinal") made Price a heavy favorite.
Incumbent Republican Virginia Foxx faced a challenge in the Republican primary from medical-practice management business owner Keith Gardner. Foxx won the primary with 79.84% of the vote.
In the general election, Foxx went on to face Democratic Party nominee Billy Kennedy, a farmer and radio host from Watauga County, who did not face any primary challenge. Foxx defeated Kennedy with 65.89% of the vote.
In his first primary challenge since elected to the House in 1984, incumbent Republican Howard Coble faced a crowded field of primary challengers including Cathy Brewer Hinson, Jon Mangin, Jeff Philips, James Taylor, and Billy Yow. Except for Yow, who is a county commissioner, all the other challengers were political outsiders and range in age from 25 to 78. Coble won the primary with about 64% of the vote. Coble defeated his general election opponent, Democrat Sam Turner, with relative ease.
Incumbent Patrick McHenry sought reelection. Republicans Vance Patterson, David Boldon, and Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle announced they would run against McHenry in the primary. The primary election was unusual in that McHenry was out-raised by not just one, but two of his opponents. Despite being at a financial disadvantage, McHenry easily won the Republican primary on May 4 with 63% of the vote, while political newcomer Jeffrey Dale Gregory narrowly defeated 2004 Democratic nominee Anne Fischer for the Democratic Party's nomination. McHenry easily defeated Gregory.
In 2008, Shuler faced Carl Mumpower and won with 62% of the vote despite the fact that the district is conservative leaning. Shuler was favored, since he did not face opposition from the man he defeated in 2006, former Rep. Charles H. Taylor.
Incumbent Democrat Brad Miller sought reelection. Those vying for the opportunity to face Miller included Dan Huffman, a small business owner from Wake Forest; Bernie Reeves, a Raleigh publisher and political commentator; Bill Randall, a retired Navy meteorologist from Rolesville; and Frank Hurley, a retired engineer from Chapel Hill. Randall defeated Reeves in a June 22 primary runoff. Miller defeated Randall in the general election.