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Thom Tillis (R), Cal Cunningham (D) win primaries for U.S. Senate, AP projects

Incumbent Thom Tillis will be running against Cal Cunningham for the seat.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina primary voters have chosen a former state legislator and Iraq War veteran to challenge Republican Sen. Thom Tillis this fall and the GOP lieutenant governor to try to unseat Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. 

Democrats picked Cal Cunningham as the party's Senate nominee on Tuesday. Cunningham defeated Erica Smith and three other rivals by winning 57% of the vote with 713,249 votes. His closet opponent, Eric Smith who finished is second place, had 35% of the vote. 

Seven candidates were in the running for the North Carolina U.S. Senate election on Super Tuesday 2020 -- five democratic candidates and four republican candidates. 

Cunningham won the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's U.S. Senate seat. Cunningham ran against Trevor Fuller, Steve Swenson, Atul Goel, and Erica Smith.

Cunningham was the candidate favored in the primary by his party's leaders in the U.S. Senate. He's a former state senator and Iraq War veteran.

RELATED: 1-on-1 with Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham

Incumbent Thom Tillis was projected to win the Republican nomination according to the Associated Press. He ran against Larry Holmquist, Paul Wright and Sharon Hudson. 

"I am honored to have earned the Republican nomination tonight, and pledge to work as hard as I can to hold this seat and get President Trump re-elected so that we can continue to partner on wins for North Carolinians of all background and political affiliations," Tillis said, in part, in a statement. 

Tillis' victory over three lesser-known Republican rivals came despite the initial skepticism of party activists who once questioned his loyalty to President Donald Trump.  

Tillis finished with over 600,00 votes and about 78% of votes cast. His opponents each had less then 10% of the vote.

RELATED: Tillis opens Charlotte campaign office, supports Trump, opposes impeachment


RELATED: Super Tuesday 2020 live updates: Results stream in as polls close

RELATED: Joe Biden wins North Carolina Democratic primary election, NBC projects

RELATED: Key local races on the North Carolina primary ballot

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