GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Baptist pastor whose views on LGBT equality remained relatively quiet won with a surprising 60 percent against a hardline, anti-gay Republican primary opponent in North Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District runoff on Tuesday.

Mark Walker’s victory in the runoff was a surprise to many who thought Phil Berger, Jr., son of North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, was the favored candidate.

Berger made waves earlier this spring when he allegedly compared gay marriage to bestiality, telling a sixth grader that gay marriage was like a man marrying a dog.

“Two years ago, the voters of North Carolina overwhelmingly approved Amendment One, which only recognized traditional marriage, and I was a leader in that effort,” Berger also said in response to the student. “I was the spokesperson for traditional marriage in North Carolina, and I am very much in favor of traditional marriage.”

Berger was a supporter of the NC Values Coalition, one of the leading proponents of the state’s 2012 anti-LGBT constitutional amendment.

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Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.