- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) - David Learner has defeated incumbent Jay Gaither to win the Republican nomination in a race for district attorney in western North Carolina where the candidates traded accusations.

In unofficial returns from Tuesday’s voting, Learner got almost 58 percent of the vote to 42 percent for Gaither. The victory means Learner will represent District 25 because no Democrats were running in the three-county district.

Learner criticized Gaither for the sentence handed down to Elisa Baker in the 2010 death of her stepdaughter, Zahra. Gaither hit back at Learner over his link to a multilevel sales company that was shut down last year by the Federal Trade Commission, which called it a pyramid scheme.

Gaither was also the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former assistant prosecutor.

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