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David Price defeats B.J. Lawson in closely-contested election for House

Incumbent Price defeats Lawson

Democrat David Price, who represents the 4th District of North Carolina, gives his victory speech after he learned he defeated B.J. Lawson.
Democrat David Price, who represents the 4th District of North Carolina, gives his victory speech after he learned he defeated B.J. Lawson.

RALEIGH, N.C. — U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., won re-election Tuesday night, defeating Republican challenger B.J. Lawson in a race most expected Price to handily take.

“I’m going to go back to Washington more determined than ever to bring this economy back to health, to put Americans back to work and to extend the Triangle dream for generations to come,” Price said in his victory speech.

Unofficial results report Price won 57 percent to Lawson’s 43 percent. Price declared victory around 10 p.m. at the Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh.

Lawson said he was not deterred by his loss and still holds strong in his belief in limited government.

“David Price had to spend $1 million dollars to fight me,” he said. “I will fight that fight. I may have to concede this election, but I will not concede my country.”

Price was widely expected to win, despite a September internal poll conducted by the Lawson campaign that showed the two in a tie. In 2008, the 4th District voted 62 percent for President Barack Obama and gave Price a wide margin of victory over then-challenger Lawson.

With Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Price will lose his position as chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, a significant position that controls the purse strings of a committee that had a 2010 budget of more than $50 billion.

Price has represented the 4th District, which includes Orange County, since 1987, losing briefly in 1995 but re-gaining his seat in 1997. He defeated Lawson, a medical doctor and former business owner, in 2008, 63 to 37 percent.

Lawson, a Republican with a strong Libertarian bent, hoped to capitalize on the anti-incumbent mood to garner more support this year, which was articulated by John Underwood of Apex, who worked on Lawson’s campaign since 2007 and supported his bid for election.

“It’s the best chance Republicans have had in this district since 1994,” he said.

Throughout the election, Price harshly criticized his opponent for radical views while downplaying Lawson’s campaign. He didn’t mention his opponent by name in his victory speech, preferring to thank supporters for re-electing him.

“Today I’m humbled and heartened to receive another vote of confidence from the voters of the 4th District,” Price said. “This has been a hard-fought campaign, with sharp differences on display both across our country and between my competitor and myself.”

Lawson was optimistic despite his loss, and he said voters will see his name on more ballots to come.

“2012 Lawson for Congress starts tomorrow,” he said.

Staff Writers Caroline Dye and Daniel Wiser contributed ?reporting.

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