Rev. Mark Walker (R) has pulled off an upset over Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. (R), the establishment favorite to replace retiring Rep. Howard CobleJohn Howard CobleNC delegation pays tribute to late former Rep. Coble Former NC Rep. Howard Coble dead at 84 Lawmakers pay tribute to Howard Coble MORE (R-N.C.).

The Associated Press has called the race for Walker, who led Berger by 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent with 59 percent of precincts reporting.

Berger was the favorite heading into Tuesday's election. He had the backing of Coble, a political track record and the help of his father, North Carolina state Senate leader Phil Berger (R). He outspent Walker by a comfortable margin in the race, had help from outside groups and led in the first round of voting in May, with 34 percent to Walker's 25 percent.

But Walker, a Baptist minister and a solid social and fiscal conservative, worked hard to build a ground game for the race. He also locked in endorsements from four of the other candidates who'd run in the primary, as well as some influential local social conservative activists, and pulled off the upset in a low-turnout race.

Walker will be the heavy favorite in the general election in a district that gave 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney 58 percent of its vote.