Each party held a nominating convention to choose their nominee for the special election. Democrats nominated Superior Court Judge and former State Supreme Court Associate Justice G. K. Butterfield, while Republicans chose security consultant Greg Dority. Butterfield overwhelmingly won the election to fill out the rest of Ballance's unexpired term. On the same day, he and Dority both won their respective parties' primaries and would face each other again in the November general election, which Butterfield would win.
Republicans did not seriously contest this election given the strong Democratic tilt of the district, which has not elected a Republican to the United States House of Representatives since Reconstruction nor been represented by a moderate to conservative Representative since 1992 when Walter B. Jones, Sr. (D), the father of current 3rd District Representative Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R) died.