By Melissa Hall
Elisabeth Motsinger defeated Bruce Peller in the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District.
Motsinger was declared the winner of the race after receiving 74 percent of the votes, based on complete but unofficial results. Peller trailed with 26 percent.
Virginia Foxx, the Republican incumbent, did not have any challengers in the primary and will face Motsinger in the general election Nov. 6.
Motsinger, 54, credited contacts she has made in the community and as a member of the school board for her win.
"I've built relationships over the last 25 years," Motsinger said. "People know me and know they can trust me."
She is a physicians assistant at the Salem Center and has been a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board since 2006. She lives in Walkertown with her husband, John, and their children, Christian, Lysandra and John Jr.
Motsinger is a staunch environmentalist and has said that, if elected, she will push for development of alternative energy. She was arrested outside the White House in September protesting the creation of a cross-country pipeline.
Peller said he was disappointed that he didn't win but proud of entering a race that he thought he could contribute to. "We have to stand up for what we believe in," he said.
Peller, 64, a dentist, started North Point Dental in 1988. This was his first try at political office. He lives in Pfafftown with his wife, Paula Henao.
During the campaign, Peller brought media attention to a controversy over the Forsyth Leadership Political Action Committee, a group being investigated by the N.C. State Board of Elections over possible irregularities with its registration.
The PAC paid workers to hand out fliers endorsing several candidates, including Peller, over his objections, he said. The PAC's campaign work was done by political consultant Chris Church, who was Peller's campaign manager until Peller fired him because Church was writing checks from Peller's campaign for expenses that had no invoices associated with them, Peller said.
Among the workers Church paid with Peller's campaign checks was Heather Moore, who later registered the PAC and listed herself as treasurer. Peller said he never supported the PAC and was dismayed at Church's activities. Church said he did nothing wrong.
Peller also described political work sessions that Church conducted with state Senate District 32 candidate Earline Parmon in mid-March, even though Parmon insisted she was not involved in the operations of the PAC, which endorsed her in April.
The 5th District covers Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Rockingham, Catawba, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.