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Johnson Wins District 8 Runoff

North Carolina's runoff election completed a dramatic fall for 8th district congressional candidate Tim D'Annunzio. He was the top vote-getter in the May 4th Republican primary with 37 percent of the vote. Yesterday, Harold Johnson easily defeated D'Annunzio by 22 percentage points. Harold Johnson got 61 percent of the vote to D'Annunzio's 39 percent. That's a far cry from the May primary when D'Annunzio came out ahead of Johnson by 1,000 votes. But a lot of things have happened since May, many of them bizarre. D'Annunzio, a businessman spent more than $1.3 million dollars on his own campaign, but saw it fall apart over the last two months. Old divorce papers surfaced suggesting he ran into problems with drugs and the law and that he compared the U.S. government to the Anti-Christ. Republican Party leaders and the tea party movement distanced themselves from D'Annunzio. Johnson was quick to use that information in campaign ads. D'Annunzio then sued Johnson for defamation. Last night, Johnson said he expects the campaign drama will come down a few notches. "Larry Kissell will run a different kind of campaign," said Johnson. "I don't think it'll be quite as brutal as we just saw coming through our primary. But again rest assured he'll be aggressive and I'll be aggressive." District 8 was held by a Republican for 10 years, but two years ago Kissell beat him. Tom Jensen with Public Policy Polling expects it to be one of the closest House races in North Carolina this year. "Both of these guys have really divided parties," says Jensen. "Democrats are unhappy with Kissell about his health care vote. We found that people who voted for Tim D'Annunzio in the runoff really didn't like Harold Johnson. So a big part of this is how well these guys can unify their parties." Libertarian Thomas Hill is also in the race and there could still be another third party candidate on the ballot in November. A group upset with Kissell's vote against the health care bill collected enough signatures to get a former Kissell aid, Wendell Fant, in the race, but he still hasn't said whether he'll run or not. Fant has until Friday to decide. In North Carolina's U.S. Senate runoff, Elaine Marshall beat Cal Cunningham by 10 percentage points. She'll go on to face Republican incumbent Richard Burr. And in the GOP runoff for South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley soundly defeated Gresham Barrett. She received 65 percent of the vote. Haley now goes up against state senator Vincent Sheheen.