Kelly Daughtry bows out of 13th District race

Brad Knott will face Frank Pierce in the general election

Kelly Daughtry is a Republican candidate for North Carolina's 13th Congressional District.

RALEIGH — The runoff for the Republican nomination in the 13th Congressional District race is over before it began.

Kelly Daughtry announced Thursday on her Facebook page that she is suspending her campaign for the seat, meaning Brad Knott will face Democrat Frank Pierce in the general election.

“The time has now come to suspend my campaign,” Daughtry said in a post on her campaign’s Facebook page. “Although I will no longer be a candidate, I will not stop using my voice for the things I believe in. I will focus on conservative voter registration operations and supporting the nominated conservative judicial candidates running in November.”

Knott conceded that former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Knott — which labeled Daughtry as a “RINO” and “no friend of MAGA” — made victory “no longer feasible.” She endorsed Knott in the post.

Daughtry received more than a quarter (27.4%) of the votes in the 14-candidate primary in March, while Knott was second at 18.7%. She will still appear on the May 14 ballot.

Rep. Wiley Nickel, the Democratic incumbent, did not run for reelection for his seat after redistricting tipped the new district to lean Republican. The new district is made up of Caswell, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Lee and Person counties along with parts of Granville and Wake counties.

NCGOP Chairman Jason Simmons offered Knott support and congratulations.

“Congratulations to Brad Knott! He will be an outstanding Congressman for the 13th Congressional District fighting to secure our Southern border and strengthen our economy,” said Simmons in statement. “We look forward to working with Brad to ensure he is victorious in November.”

“Kelly has run a strong campaign rooted in her conservatism,” Simmons said of Daughtry. “Her decision is one that puts her values and her party above her own personal gain. Her continued involvement will ensure Republicans win up and down the ballot in November.”