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In North Carolina, Republican establishment favorite wins Senate primary

Thom Tillis waves to supporters as he celebratesBy John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A North Carolina Republican backed by the party establishment fought off Tea Party and Christian conservative rivals on Tuesday to win the nomination to take on vulnerable Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in November. State House Speaker Thom Tillis was projected to capture more than 40 percent of the vote, surpassing the amount needed to avoid a costly July runoff with the second-place finisher. Republicans must pick up six seats to win a Senate majority. With about 90 percent of the vote counted, Tillis had 45 percent to Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon’s 27 percent and 18 percent for evangelical minister Mark Harris.

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