One of the more interesting developments during the candidate filing period in North Carolina this year is that 39 legislative incumbents- 28 in the House and 11 in the Senate- drew primary challenges.
The new crop of challengers will have some pretty strong anti-incumbent sentiments to draw on. Our last statewide poll found that generally speaking 31% of voters planned to vote for mostly challengers this year while only 13% were inclined to vote for incumbents. 56% said it would depend on the circumstances.
That anti-incumbent sentiment is particularly strong among Republicans with 42% of them saying they would mostly vote for challengers to only 7% leaning toward incumbents. Whether those feelings apply exclusively to Democratic incumbents or are also a warning sign for these Republican legislators being challenged in primaries remains to be seen.
More than likely the vast majority of these primary challenges will not end up being too serious- it's hard to raise money running against an incumbent of your own party and for the most part you can't win without money. But with an increasingly angry electorate some of these insurgent candidates will gain steam, and there probably will be an unusual number of incumbents losing in May.