The Political Beat Candidate Guide: North Carolina primary elections

2024 North Carolina Primary Election Candidate Guide

CHARLOTTE — Primary elections in North Carolina are set for March 5, and many statewide offices have candidates in the running from the Democratic and Republican parties.

The Political Beat asked questions of each candidate in the races. Their unedited responses are below.


Democratic candidates:

Michael R. Morgan

Michael R. Morgan

What is your occupation? Senior Associate Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina (retired)

Why are you running? I am running for the office of Governor of the State of North Carolina in 2024 because I want to revive the progressive spirit and advancement for which North Carolina has become known, but which has been compromised and reduced more recently. The hopes and dreams of too many North Carolinians have been dashed by the encroachment of regressive actions by our state’s General Assembly which chooses winners and losers among our fellow citizens. Such unfair limitations upon North Carolina’s people inhibits their individual and collective abilities to reach their fullest potential, and I plan to end this process of narrowing our citizens’ opportunities to be all that they can be. I am also running to become Governor because state government is broken, and the three branches of government are collectively failing to operate in such a manner so as to allow North Carolina to move forward. With 44 years of state government experience which include 34 years of judicial experience on the bench of North Carolina, encompassing 4 different judgeships--the most judgeships held by any person in the history of North Carolina--I have a unique, never-before-seen skill set which equips me to utilize my sustained pervasive view of state government’s issues and my analytical skills which I employed to decide the most complex legal issues on the state’s highest court, and draw upon these skills to successfully execute the duties of the state’s highest office.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? Improving education in North Carolina’s public schools is the top policy priority area of my campaign for Governor. It is important because the quality of the education which is provided to our North Carolina children in our public schools constitutes the foundation upon which their lives will be based in their ability to learn, to achieve, to grow, to become productive citizens, and to fulfill their respective destinies. My plans for achieving this policy area include the full implementation of the Leandro decision of the Supreme Court of North Carolina in which I participated as a member of the state’s highest court, which reiterated our state’s mandate established by the North Carolina Constitution that the state must provide each child with the opportunity to receive a sound, basic, and quality education. The Republican-led General Assembly has continually and deliberately failed to satisfy this constitutional mandate by refusing to allocate sufficient funds to provide the required level of education to all children of North Carolina, with students in rural areas of the state suffering the greatest lack of support of school funding. As Governor, I’ll utilize my unique understanding of requirements of Leandro and the authority of the executive branch and the appropriate state agencies to elevate the standard of education available to all students in North Carolina to constitutionally-acceptable levels. Another aspect of my plan for improving education in North Carolina’s public schools includes an increase in pay to appropriate levels for our public school teachers and administrators, with starting salaries beginning at least at the national average, with incentives to hire and to retain quality educators. A further aspect of my policy priority for improving education in North Carolina’s public schools includes the elimination of the ability of public school funds to be transferred to a private school upon the election of a public school student to attend a private school. This option which has been created by the Republican-led General Assembly serves to methodically and systematically weaken North Carolina’s public school system by draining funds intended for the state’s public schools through the allowance of such allocated monies to follow public school students into private schools.

How will you use your office to protect residents from large insurance hikes? I’ll consult with the North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, and in turn have the appropriate persons in the executive branch of government to regularly consult with the Commissioner’s office, to ascertain the factors which insurance companies assess to establish their rates. I would then utilize this information to equip our state and its people with the wherewithal to minimize the likelihood of large insurance hikes through knowledge, preparation, and the subsequent encouragement of continuation of good consumer practices would make it difficult for insurance companies to impose, justify, and defend large insurance hikes, especially when compared to other states.

Do you agree with the General Assembly’s move stripping fire marshal responsibilities from the insurance commissioner? I do not agree with the General Assembly’s action to remove the duties of state fire marshal from the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner. The General Assembly has displayed a penchant for utilizing its strengthened authority to change institutionalized standards, practices, and protocols, often solely for political reasons. Historically, the Commissioner of Insurance has performed the role of Fire Marshal; however, the General Assembly determined, with no reported or otherwise publicized input from stakeholders affected by this decision, to strip the fire marshal responsibilities from the Insurance Commissioner, without any given reason, and by way of a provision in the state budget. This unconventional and unexplainable move by the General Assembly does not appear to have been implemented for any reason other than political maneuvering, which undergirds my disagreement with the General Assembly’s action.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I have a broader, deeper, and lengthier knowledge of state government, its operations, and its abilities to enhance the lives of the people of North Carolina by virtue of my decades of experience in determining the issues and resolving the matters which North Carolina routinely must face. Furthermore, unlike my Democratic primary opponent, I am not a career politician. My background as a judge has kept me out of the arena where political promises are made, political deals are struck, and political reciprocation is expected and practiced. As a retired jurist, there are no political favors for me to return and no political expectations upon me, whereas my Democratic primary opponent is saddled with them.

Josh Stein

Josh Stein

What is your occupation? I’ve been honored to serve as the state’s Attorney General since 2017.

Why are you running? I love North Carolina, and I believe in the promise of this state that if you work hard, where you come from should not limit how far you can go. I am running for Governor to deliver on that promise by investing in our people and their futures and building a state with a thriving economy, safe communities, and strong schools. As your Governor, I will work to deliver the economic security and peace of mind that every North Carolinian deserves by lowering costs, raising the minimum wage, and cutting taxes for working families. I will work to build safe communities by confronting the fentanyl crisis and recruiting and retaining well-trained, public-spirited law enforcement officers. And I will recommit our state to investing in our public schools.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? There is no greater priority than ensuring our kids get the quality education they need to succeed in life. Yet, North Carolina spends less than nearly all other states in the nation on public school funding as a share of our state’s economy – 49th out of 50! It’s a disgrace. All kids should get a good education from pre-kindergarten through community college and university, including our HBCUs, so they can succeed, whether starting college or a career. We need to strengthen career and technical education and apprenticeship programs because folks shouldn’t have to go to college to provide for their family. And we must support our educators and raise teacher pay to at least the national average. In the State Senate and as Attorney General, I have worked across the aisle to deliver for North Carolinians. I’ll continue doing that as Governor. We have to find common ground because the issues that matter are not red or blue, they’re North Carolina. We all need strong schools in our communities.

What is your position on abortion? Deciding to have a baby is the most personal decision a woman can make. It is a decision that a woman should make in consultation with her loved ones and her doctor. It should not be made by politicians. That’s why I’ve fought back as far-right legislators in Raleigh relentlessly seek to strip women of their reproductive freedoms and their right to make their own decisions about their own bodies, their own families, and their own futures. As Attorney General, I have protected access to reproductive health care for all women, including members of the military. I am also fighting to ensure women can continue to access medication abortions and pushing back against the General Assembly’s highly restrictive and unconstitutional anti-abortion law. As Governor, I’ll continue to defend women’s rights and freedoms because extreme politicians in Raleigh are not done yet – my likely opponent for Governor supports a total abortion ban without exception, not for rape, incest, or the life or health of the mother. As Governor, I will stand up to our far-right legislature and veto any further efforts to restrict women’s reproductive freedoms.

What bill are you most eager to sign? For our state to thrive, people have to feel safe. Public safety has been my top priority for the last seven years as your Attorney General. I have advocated for the General Assembly to invest in a comprehensive public safety package, which includes efforts to recruit and retain law enforcement officers, strategies for combating drugs, common sense gun safety measures, and more. We can hire and retain more law enforcement officers via hiring bonuses, a public awareness campaign, training incentives, and a fix to allow retired officers to return to the job. We need to create a Fentanyl Control Unit within the Department of Justice to help local district attorneys handle large-scale fentanyl trafficking, wiretap, and overdose cases. And finally, we can improve public safety and reduce gun violence by passing universal background checks and red flag laws. We can make North Carolina safer and stronger, and I’m determined to do it.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I have an enormous amount of respect for Justice Morgan and his decades of service to this state. I’m running for Governor because I want to continue fighting and delivering for the people of North Carolina. As Attorney General, I’ve been delivering for North Carolinians in concrete ways that make their lives better, whether that’s addressing the opioid crisis that’s devastating families, tackling the backlog of untested rape kits, or protecting consumers from scammers and fraud. As Governor, I’ll continue to take on big fights for the people of North Carolina and work to build a state with a thriving economy, safe communities, and strong schools.

Marcus Williams

Marcus Williams

What is your occupation? Attorney At Law: 45 continuous years of the practice of law

Why are you running? My essential motivation to run for Governor is to elevate living standards and societal/justice conditions for all residents and families of this great State. Further, I desire to continue my public service work and unique PROVEN RECORD of creating meaningful, positive change while utilizing a vast scope of professional experiences in Executive, Legal, Administrative and Community Economic Development capacities. Now in my 45th continuous year of practicing law in MN/NC/PA, I have acquired intense executive skills while serving as Executive Director for 17 years of 2 Regional NC Legal Services Programs -18 counties - and the Statewide - 5th largest State- Pennsylvania Legal Services Programs. For 24 years I worked for the economically disadvantaged, the working poor, elderly and middle-class families to protect their core survival needs and advocated to save their homes and family farms from foreclosure. I initiated/implemented 4 successful Community Economic Development Projects (See Website); then continued the fight for justice for @ 6 years in the Courts as a Public Defender. (NOTE: I was blessed to have been elected Student Body President at Lumberton High School 70-71, at UNC-Chapel Hill 71-75 and at the University of Minnesota Law School - Minneapolis 75-78.)

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? Insights garnered from living/working in N.C. for 57 years, 45 continuous years of the practice of law, along with the aforementioned EXECUTIVE duties lead me to the conclusion that the leadership of the General Assembly is misdirected in the execution of its responsibilities, especially the appropriation of our scarce tax dollars. Our State Court System is inadequately funded. Criminals can run free and engage in recidivism due to a lack of State Court personnel. Basic Court ordered functions can’t be performed in a timely fashion (i.e. Autopsies). Murder cases are stacked like cargo ships stuck in Port during Covid. Therefore, legislators posturing like tough guys on tweaking a criminal law would be ludicrous - if the consequences weren’t so serious. Contrary to their explicit N.C. Constitutional mandate to provide a “uniform system of free public schools”, the General Assembly has been led astray, evidenced by financially starving the Public School system and its employees. How can the bulk of our kids - who DO ATTEND Public Schools - be prepared for the demands of the emerging WORKFORCE if they are not given a fair chance to a strong, basic education? I, as Governor, intend to hold the N.C. Legislature accountable for every dime of taxpayer resources so that they are not siphoned/diverted to pet social engineering projects (e.g. Almost $26 million in GRANTS allocated to private religious groups in 2023 & a proposal for giving away $l.4 billion to a nebulous, fledgling NC Innovation project without PUBLIC oversight or any reasonable objective scrutiny.) NO! But the N.C. VOTERS have to help me/themselves and throw out enough Republicans to break their stranglehold - AKA the Supermajority.

What is your position on abortion? In my opinion, the real, overarching issue is that a WOMAN should have total DOMAIN and control over her body and that all health care decisions should be driven by the patient in consultation with her skilled medical adviser (and significant others, if applicable). Regardless of the type of state-of-the-art medical procedure which may be available by law, this should be the standard premise. The government should have no interference or voice, except if a law is being transgressed. With respect to the medical procedure known as abortion (NOTE: I reference sex abstinence, adoption and family planning more frequently.) the former ROE v WADE legal standard which prevailed almost 50 years - an 8-1 vote by the Justices on the Supreme Court - should be reinstated. The palpable danger of the government intrusion into or undue interference with a woman’s choice on this medical procedure is that it could inexorably lead to further political or arbitrary attempted restrictions (e.g. In vitro pregnancy procedures).

What bill are you most eager to sign? Bills assuring that N.C. stimulates and fosters a Robust Economy; promote access to health care for all - including a Woman’s choice; equalize and enhance primary and secondary education; safeguard the environment; preserve voting rights; and those implementing mandatory gun safety training/counseling, Buybacks of guns and responsible parental oversight (or liability), would be on my list of bills to sign. As a former 3 sport varsity athlete, I, too, will remain vigilant to maintain the strengths and healthy benefits/challenges of our amateur sports - without unwarranted influence of Sports Betting.

What sets you apart from your opponent? What sets me apart from my opponents is that I am a versatile real person, a blue-collar lawyer and comprehensively the best professional advocate and fighter running for Governor. Like many other successful North Carolinians (in various sectors), I have worked hard to develop the strengths of being an effective and competent Lawyer - 45 consecutive years of practice (MN/NC/PA), in BOTH civil and criminal law, without a Bar complaint being filed. I have not been appointed, nippled, nurtured or carried by any Party, Person, Benefactor or Interest Group. Through integrity and honesty, I have worked to acquire a unique combination of skills to protect the rights and serve all citizens in N.C. In addition to representing the clients in legal matters at the time they needed it most, I have collaborated with local stakeholders to initiate Community Economic Development projects that constructed 79 units of housing for the elderly and disabled, led the renovation of an inner city 84,000 sq ft school, and founded a Community Development Corporation which built/established, among other projects, a Business Incubator (Nine 1,500 sq ft units) that created new business startups and jobs. In 2020, I negotiated the construction of a Verizon Cell Tower on the rural outskirts of Lumberton, NC.

Chrelle Booker

Chrelle Booker

What is your occupation? In addition to my role as an elected official, I work full-time in television broadcasting as the Station’s internal-one-woman-legal department and Human Resources Manager I’m also a licensed North Carolina Realtor.

Why are you running? My platform is about People, Partnerships, and Unlimited Possibilities. As a national President and leader with an organization that is the voice of more than 200 million people, I want to use my knowledge and experience gained and apply some of the problem-solving solutions I have learned nationally to problems North Carolinians are facing. I envision a large chalkboard with the issues written. Utilizing partners and engaging our citizens, I see old problems being checked off and new ones solved quicker.

Also, the Center For American Women and Politics states: “Of the 49 women governors, 34 were first elected in their own right;…”. I’m perplexed! In America’s history, there have been only 49 women governors. I’m always encouraging women to run for office. As the Immediate Past Present of Women In Municipal Government, leading by example, I must run.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I know one has to form partnerships and one is only as good as her team. This is not a me/myself/I governorship. Another thing that sets me apart from the other candidates is obvious. I’m the only woman in any NC Governor’s race for 2024.

Did not respond:

Gary Foxx

Republican candidates:

Mark Robinson

What is your occupation? 35th Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina

Why are you running? I’m not a career politician. I know what the people of our state are going through because I have lived their struggles. I’ll focus on solutions to the problems North Carolinians face daily.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? Schools are struggling and COVID-19 only made it worse. We need to bring accountability to the bureaucracy, get politics out of the classroom, and refocus on academics and career readiness.

What is your position on abortion? My wife and I have experienced the painful experience of abortion; that’s part of what makes me prolife. I would support a heartbeat bill with protections for extreme situations such as rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

What bill are you most eager to sign? I am most looking forward to partnering with parents, teachers and other stakeholders to advance legislation that will strengthen our schools and make our education system better for our students.

What sets you apart from your opponent? Josh Stein is a career politician and a rubber stamp for Biden and the Democrats. They’ve brought us inflation, struggling schools, rising crime, and more. I’ve partnered with Republican lawmakers who’ve turned our state around and have North Carolina headed in the right direction.

Dale Folwell

Dale Folwell

What is your occupation? Husband,father, NC State Treasurer(keeper of the public purse)

Why are you running? Because conservatism(conserving) and fixing things is fun for me.

I’m not the loudest or the richest person running for Governor. I’m the one that God has given the vision to see what needs to be seen(as a Quaker I can’t unsee),the humility to listen and the courage (not rage )to act. I have been endorsed by fmr NC Gov Jim Martin, fmr CLT police chief Kerr Putney, State employees association and other groups.

My public service career has been focused on saving lives, minds and money by governing and explaining conservatism without offending people. I advocate for the invisible. Folks like me who make/made their living with their hands,back, feet ,minds and heart.

I’m applying to be the CEO of NC to attack the problems that directly impact citizens who are frustrated with the lack of customer service at the DMV,DOT,Board of Elections and other state agencies. People disagree on how much government, but they want it to work.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? There’s not just one. Crime, the economy, the federal government’s inability to protect our border or live within their means, education and energy independence. I will address these as I have every major problem that has my fingerprint on the solution. As a lifelong trained motorcycle mechanic , I listen, act and fix. This involves listening to the hard working state employees who have fantastic solutions..

What is your position on abortion? I have always been pro-life with the 3 exceptions. I have publicly said that as Governor I would have signed recent legislation on this issue.

What bill are you most eager to sign? You don’t always need a law to do what is right or wrong. What we need to do is make sure current laws are being followed. I would welcome many bills starting with legislation that truly addresses the decades long backlog at the state crime lab and puts NC on a path of energy independence.

What sets you apart from your opponent? We are exact opposites. Their are no gaps between my personal life, campaign life public service life. My opponent Lt Gov Mark Robinson is history’s latest example of a person rising to power through hate. He doesn’t think women or blacks or Jews or other groups matter to society. Anyone who has ever come in contact with him has been fleeced.

That includes his current donors and the taxpayers of NC who drive him around under highway patrol security while he misses 90% of his official duties

The Republican Party that I joined nearly 50 years ago was based on conservatism(to save),common sense(not so common),courtesy(answering the phones) humility,humanity and ethics(its what you do when no one is watching and when powerful forces ask you to look the other way) That’s what a Folwell administration looks like. Underpromising-over delivering. You can visit dalefolwell.com to learn more and contribute.

Did not respond:

Bill Graham


Democratic candidates:

Ben Clark

What is your occupation?-20-Year Private Sector Professional

Why are you running?-I’m running for Lt. Governor in 2024 to protect ALL of our human rights, constitutional rights, and civil rights. In 2024, we’re going forward and NOT ONE STEP BACK.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it?-The single most important issue we’re confronting is racial and partisan gerrymandering. I can’t say it’s truly the most important issue, when you consider issues like voting rights, reproductive rights, and civil rights – but it is the issue that gives legislative Republicans the virtually unchecked power to impose their will on the entire state. NC has a strong legislature-weak governor model of governance. When you consider that 1) our constitution provides no recourse for citizen-led ballot initiatives, 2) our governor’s veto power is severely curtailed in many areas, and 3) Republicans have been allowed to use sophisticated software to dilute the power of Black and Democratic voters with “surgical precision,” it is extreme partisan and racial gerrymandering that harms the state and our commitment to democracy, equal protection, free and fair elections, and the doctrine of one person, one vote. I will use the bully pulpit of the Lt. Governor’s office to fight Republican attacks on our democratic values and work to elect pro-democracy leaders up and down the ballot.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as?-Three primary responsibilities - succession, president of the Senate, boards and commissions. As a retired Lt. Colonel who’s been in command of large staffs, I’m best positioned to step into the Governor’s role if, God forbid, it’s needed. I’ve served more terms in the Senate than any other candidate (Dem or Rep) and am most prepared to be its president. Four major boards the LG sits on are Education, Community Colleges, Energy Policy Council, and Military Affairs. I am a former public school science and technology teacher, former UNC-System professor of engineering studies, and retired veteran. My skills, experience, and qualifications perfectly fit this job - and there’s no close second.

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education and what policies will you advocate for? I have more experience in education than anyone else in this race. I’m a former public school teacher and UNC-System Professor. I represented two of the five Leandro counties in the NC Senate for five terms. I will fight to fully fund our schools, protect our kids from Republican attacks on their dignity and humanity, put more books in media centers, not fewer, pay our teachers what they deserve and reward them for advanced education, and fulfill our constitutional obligation of a sound, basic education for every child.

What sets you apart from your opponent? My background, experience, and qualifications set me apart: Retired Lt. Colonel (US Air Force), Retired 5-term NC Senator, Former Public School Science Teacher, Former UNC System Professor, Senate Democratic Caucus Leadership - 4 terms, Chief Democrat on the Redistricting Committee when we broke the last Republican supermajority and elected 7 Democrats to Congress, including Rep. Jeff Jackson, Secured $500 tuition for UNCP and FSU, making college affordable for nearly 1 million families in the Sandhills, Brokered the historic 2021 budget that delivered $100s millions in funding for school construction and critical infrastructure projects in every county in this state, including yours, Sponsored the legislation Gov. Cooper signed to reopen schools and get our kids back to class post-COVID

Rachel Hunt

What is your occupation?- North Carolina State Senator.

Why are you running?-As the proud daughter of the Education Governor, Jim Hunt, and a Public School Teacher, Carolyn Hunt., I was raised here in North Carolina. I love this state, but MAGA politicians in Raleigh are trying to move it backward. From their attempts to bankrupt our public schools and send our taxpayer dollars to unproven and unaccountable private schools, to their assault on reproductive freedom, the people of North Carolina deserve better and that’s why I’m running.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it?-The most important issue in this campaign is protecting our reproductive freedoms- Republican politicians in Raleigh have already clear their 12-week ban is only a start, they want to ban abortion entirely. Three generations of women have known the freedom to make their own choices about their bodies, the next three generations deserve that same freedom.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as?-As a current member of the North Carolina Senate, I’ve seen firsthand why it’s important to have a lieutenant governor who shows up and does the job the people of North Carolina elected her to do. The current lieutenant governor is more concerned with stoking division and promoting culture wars than doing the important work of serving the people of North Carolina. While the current lieutenant governor has a certain flair for the inflammatory, North Carolina unfortunately has had misplaced priorities from its lieutenant governors for over a decade now.I’ll change that track record on day one. I’ll focus the lieutenant governor’s office on making lives better for all North Carolinians. My priority will be improving our schools from pre-K through college to be sure young North Carolinians are getting the quality public education they deserve.

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education and what policies will you advocate for?-As Lt. Governor, I’ll have a seat on the State Board of Education, Where my top priority will be standing up for our children, their families, and their teachers. I’ll do this by standing against the current attempt to bankrupt our public schools and by standing against giving public money to fund unproven and unaccountable private schools. As the Lt. Governor, my commitment will be advocating for the well-being of our children, their families, and teachers. As a member of the State Board of Education, I’d focus on the given responsibilities on the State Board of Education will be to staunchly oppose ongoing efforts that threaten to cripple our public schools financially. I am equally dedicated to resisting the allocation of public funds to support unproven and unaccountable private schools. Together, let’s ensure that our public education system here in North Carolina prioritizes the needs of students, families, and educators.

What sets you apart from your opponent?- I’m running a campaign focused on uniting our state after 12 years of division. That’s why I’ve been endorsed by 6 NC Democrats in Congress, including Congressman Jeff Jackson, and trusted leaders like Mayor Vi Lyles, NC Association of Educators, Durham Committee on Black Affairs, and over 30 State Legislative Democrats. Together, let’s prioritize the people over partisan issues.

Mark H. Robinson

Mark H. Robinson

What is your occupation? Retired U.S. Navy Captain // Entrepreneur

Why are you running? I am running because I want to help create “A BETTER NORTH CAROLINA”. I am a servant leader (someone who puts the needs of others before mine), connected to you (visited all 100 counties and spoke with over 1700 people), and forward-looking (putting things in place that will benefit the state 20 to 60 years from now).

A BETTER NORTH CAROLINA involves putting things in place in the will put benefit the state 20 to 60 years from now, much like the Research Triangle Park initiative of 1960. Today, that includes investing in public education were 80% to 85% of the students are taught, and the state recognizing that teaching is a professional occupation and teachers need to be compensated accordingly. It involves job creation where people are. It involves personal freedoms that give women complete control of their bodies. It involves meeting people where they are and moving forward from that point.

Lastly, I want people to experience the North Carolina Dream of life. I grew up poor (but didn’t know it). My children grew up solid middle class. I want to help as many people as I can have A BETTER NORTH CAROLINA.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? The issues I plan to advocate most are * FULLY funding public education (with lottery funds supplementing the current funding level), * Economic growth in ALL areas, * Personal freedom protections, and * Bridging the growing gap of divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans.

At the top is an investment in the future of the state. Teachers should be recognized as the professionals they are. This includes compensating them as such. Teaching and nursing are two historically female dominated occupations. The starting pay for teachers is about $20/hour verses that of a nurse at about $40/hour. To address the issue, I am going to advocate for a teacher pay package at the national average. To pay for it, I will advocate that the NC Lottery money be a supplement to current state education funding.

All of my initiatives require the help of the General Assembly and the people of the state to believe these long-term priorities are important. As such, I am going to approach it from the position that there is a win-win solution possible for all. This means treating members of all parties with respect and having the belief that the best interest of the state can be achieved.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as? The role of Lieutenant Governor consists of three primary duties: * Serve as president of the senate, * Serve as gubernatorial successor, and * Be a member of various boards. An added role of the position is to use it as a “bully pulpit”.

As president of the senate, I will be as bi-partisan as possible and put respect into the position. I will manage what is voted upon with the best interest of the state my topmost concern.

In the added role of being an advocate, the Lieutenant governor get to advocate issues he or she chooses. I will use it to advocate things that will bring long-term benefits to the state… FULLY funding public education (with lottery funds supplementing the current funding level), economic growth in ALL areas, personal freedom protections, and bridging the growing gap of divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans.

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education and what policies will you advocate for? I bring a global perspective of viewing things. This comes from my leadership positions in the US Navy, Sikorsky Aircraft, board membership, being an education philanthropist, talking with educators, being a Sunday school teacher, living in a state where teachers are valued as professionals, and being a parent.

I will advocate funding public education at its current level with lottery money used as a supplement. This will mean almost a billion-dollar supplement. This is what the people of the state expect. Appropriate funding will address issues of teacher compensation, teacher retention, mental health, and school safety. I want to ensure that public education is the best education value.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I was reared eight of 10 children on a farm in Sampson County. My family reluctantly used county services as a safety net. I am the father of three, am a UNC-Chapel Hill grad, a Naval Officer, earned a Duke MBA, and since 2007, been able to donate over $65K to high school scholarships, charities, and nonprofits. I have worked at the Pentagon and with the US State Department. I achieved the North Carolina Dream of living better than my childhood and my children have lived a solid middle class life.

My attitude and life experiences set me apart. I believe that things can change in a bi-partisan manner. I believe in treating people with respect even if they disagree with me. My basic believe is that there is a solution to all the state’s problems.

My “connection” with the people makes me different because I listened their issues and that gave them hope. Several people like Louis (Randolph County) said, “I don’t know where you stand on any of this, but at least you are listening.” Knowing that someone in the state government listens will help improve the perception of state government and this helps create A BETTER NORTH CAROLINA.

Republican candidates:

Peter Boykin

What is your occupation? Govt Military Security Contractor.

Why are you running? We the People, desire to choose leaders who are weary of the established norms and the dominance of a single political entity dictating our lives. It’s high time we elect individuals who understand that their authority stems from the people, not the government. Peter Boykin is a Constitutionalist that Believes Protecting Our Rights is the most important task a Representative of All Citizens MUST do. That is his mission.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? I believe there is a balance of importance of issues, but it all comes down to Infrastructure, Education, and Jobs. I will act as a liaison between citizens and the legislative branch to push for needed changes to address these issues.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as? I can say I’m not going to lie unfortunately the position of Lt Governor is restricted to not allow for much power. I would however be a voice in many committees and a liaison between citizens and the legislative branch.

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education and what policies will you advocate for? Every child deserves a sound education, and that’s only possible when families can choose the school environment that’s right for them. I support homeschooling, charter schools, and private schools as an alternative to public schooling, parents should be allowed to know what is going on in their children’s schools, I would ask for more involvement with parents and teachers, lesson plans should be given in advance to parents, and I would like to see cameras in the classrooms.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I am a Constitutionalist for Liberty. I feel that issues are too often pegged as a “Conservative” or “Liberal” issues. Our Constitution was written by many people who shared many views but also disagreed and ultimately there was discussions and compromise that came to a very moderate doctrine that has guided this country for centuries. When you look towards our grand document it is a mixture of Liberal, Moderate, and Conservative ideas and practices and you must be open to everything.

Rivera Douthit

What is your occupation? Business Owner

Why are you running? I am running because Jesus asked me to run, and He said now is the time.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? Election Integrity Influence legislation to minimize mail-in balloting with strict guidelines, minimize early voting to 2 or 3 days, make Election Day a holiday across the state, do away with machines completely and hand count paper ballots and require US Voter ID only.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as? Lt. governor is the bridge builder between the Executive and Legislative branches. The Lt. Governor serves on multiple committees across the state and is highly influential with Education and the Military. This person opens the legislative sessions in prayer and also may influence legislation, and will be the tie-breaker if there’s a tie in the vote

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education and what policies will you advocate for? I will bring truth and a biblical perspective. I will advocate for education over indoctrination in the curriculums and remove any pornographic and age-inappropriate materials from libraries and classrooms across the state.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I am not a career politician, however:

· From my years as a critical care nurse, I’m a team worker and great at leading. I stay calm and easily prioritize to make important decisions in high-stress environments.

· Also, I admit I don’t have all the answers and have a willingness to surround myself with wise counsel. I’m teachable but also capable of finding the answers needed and great at creating solutions.

· From my years in ministry with women, I work well with people and believe the best leaders are servants first. I am a person of influence, truth, and integrity.

· As an author of 2 books, I believe in finishing what you start.

· As a small business owner, leadership, time management, and budgeting are all skills I will bring to the table.

Marlenis Hernandez Novoa

What is your occupation? Owner and CEO at MLHN Libelula LLC

Why are you running? I moved to NC because it is nationally known as a hub for tech and healthcare industries. Since I have been here, however, I have seen that there are significant issues in the state that must be corrected. I am the person to do this!

What is the most important issue in our state, and how do you plan to address it? Several significant issues in NC overlap, and which must be addressed and corrected together. The primary issue I see involves a state education system which, in my view, is simply not competent, nor is it equipping our children for future challenges and opportunities. I will address it by initiating a demand for a state audit of the Dep’t of Public Instruction. I will further initiate and seek to empower a panel that will independently assess public school funding, public school curricula, and the maintenance, upgrading, and overhaul of our school infrastructure.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as? The Lt. Governor’s office encompasses roughly 14 statutory duties, the most important of which is president of the state Senate. The Lt. Governor assumes a significant role, however, regarding education in NC, since the Lt. Gov. not only is a member of the state Board of Education but also has an influential voice in the operation of charter schools and community colleges in NC as well. This suggests that the Lt. Gov. must be informed, be aware, and be personally involved at all levels with the viability, efficiency, and competency, at all levels, with academic success in our NC schools.

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education, and what policies will you advocate for? Noting my previous answer, I must also note that I am a parent of two children in the Wake County School system. I have noted several problems within their schools, especially in the area of teacher mentoring, and in how students are coached, approached, or treated as students. I am aware that there are some cultural issues, as well as certain biases, in how students are taught or accommodated by the teachers and the school administration. As Lt. Gov, I will strongly advocate for programs and procedures that will improve student competency levels. I will foster improved coordination between the schools and the parents regarding their children’s progress in the schools, and with the parents having more inclusion in their children’s fundamental rights to a legitimate, first-class education. I will also advocate for an audit of all state school expenses, including teacher’s pay levels, and the maintenance and operation of our schools.

What sets you apart from your opponent(s)? I am not only a public school parent, I also own, and am the principal operator, of a private business. In addition, I am an accredited and certified EMT, Paramedic, and Firefighter, and have served as a FEMA Incident Commander. No other candidate is experienced or capable of addressing public health concerns, or emergency health issues like I can. No other candidate has the boot-on-the-ground experience that I can bring to the Lt. Governor’s office. As a First Responder, as a parent, and as a business operator, I will bring my experience to the state level to address, and to fix, the problems that are holding North Carolina back as a world-class healthcare, tech, and business-friendly center for excellence. I have learned from my years of experience in these various areas that it requires a coordinated team effort to accomplish defined goals. I know how to do that, and I am determined to create a 24/7 effort to make North Carolina the premier location for its citizens, its businesses, its farms, and its educational and academic communities.

Ernest Reeves

Ernest Reeves

What is your occupation? Retired U.S. Army Military Officer & Community Advocate

Why are you running? To make a difference in the lives of the citizens of North Carolina.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? Immigration security and jobs — I plan on ensuring that we have strong policies in place to address immigration security for our state (different communities) as it relates to our boarder and illegal immigration. In terms of jobs — my goal is bring as many good paying, long lasting, professional jobs to North Carolina as possible that will provide a good quality of life for our citizens. I will also do all that I can to stop fentanyl and other drugs from killing our kids and support our veterans that suffer from homelessness, despair, and suicide.

What sets you apart from your opponent? My integrity and ability to work across the aisle. I am a former Democrat turned Republican — being the 12th child of my parents (all by the same parents) nine girls and three boys — I understand family and some of the struggles that families and women go through. More important, I believe that I can be trusted based on my nomination to The Pentagon where I retired after 20 years of active duty service and was “hand picked” by The Administrative Assistant To The Secretary of Army to serve special duty at The White House as Escort Officer for U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer who at the time was in charge of Iraq.

Deanna Ballard

Deanna Ballard

What is your occupation? I own my own consulting business - consulting on public policy, education, and non-profit projects across the country.

Why are you running? I’m a family-first conservative running for Lieutenant Governor because our financial security and constitutional freedoms are in jeopardy. I dedicated my life to fighting for our children and serving working families – the backbone of North Carolina. They’ve been stretched thin by inflation, looked down upon by elites, and told their way of thinking and worshipping is no longer mainstream. Enough is enough!

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? Education/parental rights and working family needs.

I focused relentlessly in the Senate on empowering parents. I helped write the Parents’ Bill of Rights and authored bills championing school choice. In 2020, I went toe-to-toe with Roy Cooper and Mandy Cohen to order the schools reopened. As Lt. Governor, I would use my seat on the State Board of Education and my relationships in the state legislature to continue that work – to empower parents and to expand school choice.

On working family needs, I support economic policies that focus on skills training and don’t center on a college education. Too many students take on crushing student loan debt – and for what? Often, a job that pays less than “blue collar” work.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as? The office of Lt. Governor has only a few constitutional duties. Beyond that, the office is what the office holder makes of it. With my deep experience in the legislature and in policymaking, I would take a very policy-heavy approach to the job and look to collaborate often with my former colleagues in the General Assembly.

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education and what policies will you advocate for? To start, I would work to clarify state law to ensure no governor or health secretary ever has the power to keep schools closed. I led, and won, the fight to reopen schools during COVID.

Second, I would build on what we started with the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which I helped write. Trust in education is plummeting. The way to reverse that is to return power to parents, where it belongs.

What sets you apart from your opponent? What sets me apart is my record, my proven leadership, and my ability to get things done. From winning the fight to reopen schools during COVID to expanding school choice to helping write the Parents’ Bill of Rights, I’ve shown time and again that I deliver.

Hal Weatherman

Hal Weatherman

What is your occupation? I am the founder and President of the Electoral Education Foundation

Why are you running? I am tired of money driven campaigns and candidates who only appeal to the fears and anxieties of our people, rather than their hopes and aspirations. I will run a campaign that paints an optimistic vision for our state and lifts up the people of our state.

I am a principled limited government Conservative - fiscal and social. I believe in our country’s founding principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I believe all mankind was created in God’s image and that our individual rights derive not from man or man-made governments, but are inherently bestowed upon us by our Creator and are worth preserving.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? My primary goal in seeking the office of Lt. Governor is to use the authority of the office to fundamentally remove the stigma our society has placed on working in the trades. The Lt. Governor serves on the State Board of Education and the State Community College Board of Directors, providing a unique opportunity of influence to advance a new culture in our state that values entrepreneurship, trade work and small business ownership.

I want individuals and our state government to become self-sufficient and dependent on no one else.

What do you see the role of Lieutenant Governor as? Besides the constitutional duties assigned to the office (IE - President of the State Senate, voting member of the State Board of Education), I will embed an election integrity unit within the office itself to continue my work on election integrity here in NC. I will also insert myself in all things economic development - to include advancing our apprenticeship program, and pushing an agenda to drive people into the trades.

What value will you bring to the State Board of Education and what policies will you advocate for? I am the ultimate consumer of education. All of my children have attended private, traditional public, charter and homeschool. The parent should always be in control of the education dollars spent on their children. We need to defend and empower families and students, not the broken education system.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I have over 30 years of on the job training and experience, including serving as Chief of Staff both to a US Member of Congress and the former Lt. Governor of North Carolina. I know the day to day responsibilities of the position I seek, having served alongside our previous Lt. Governor, Dan Forest. Over the last ten years, I have traveled over 500,000 miles in the state, visiting all 100 counties multiple times. I believe you must know the state to lead the state and I know our state well - it’s strengths and weaknesses. My experience will be an asset to the new incoming Republican Governor of this state, as I can advise and share institutional knowledge that my opponents do not possess.

Did not respond:

Jeffrey Elmore

Allen Mashburn

Jim O’Neill

Sam Page

Seth Woodall


Democratic candidates:

Jeff Jackson

Jeff Jackson

What is your occupation? Congressman

Why are you running? I enlisted after September 11th and served in Afghanistan. After I came home, I became an assistant district attorney in Gaston County. As a prosecutor, I saw how the failure to invest in public education, mental health, and addiction treatment was leading to a lot of criminal behavior. As a state senator and a congressman, I worked on those issues - and I stood up for voters when I thought our state legislature was undermining their rights. My entire life has been about standing up for people who need it. I’m running for Attorney General because that is precisely the job: to stand up for you, your family, and our state against those who mean you harm.

What is the most important issue facing our residents and how do you plan to address it? The fentanyl epidemic, discussed below, must be a top priority. In addition, the use of A.I. by scammers is going to make them an even greater threat, so getting ahead of that threat by partnering with the state legislature on new tools for detection and prosecution will be essential. Finally, working with law enforcement to make sure the repeat offenders who pose the greatest threats are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law will be an essential focus.

How will you use your office to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis? The fentanyl epidemic is killing people in our state each day. We need a stronger response. As Attorney General, I would lead a response that addressed both the supply of fentanyl - by cracking down on the distribution cells run by organized crime within our state - and the demand - by supporting the most effective forms of addiction treatment and working with our state legislature to fund that treatment in a serious way.

Will you defend North Carolina in lawsuits if you personally disagree with their basis? I would not defend any state law that I felt violated the Constitution. If I disagreed with a state law personally but felt that it did not violate the Constitution I would be obligated to defend it in court.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I’ve been a soldier, a prosecutor, a state legislator, and a federal legislator. I have every type of experience you need to do this job in the manner that people expect and deserve. My entire life has been about standing up for others who need it, and that’s exactly what I would continue to do as Attorney General.

Satana Deberry

What is your occupation? Durham, District Attorney

Why are you running? I am running for North Carolina Attorney General because North Carolina deserves someone to advocate for them. It matters when you are fighting for your reproductive rights, it matters when you’re fighting for your voting rights, and it matters when you need access to affordable healthcare. I have been an advocate as District Attorney in Durham and I am ready to advocate for the state of North Carolina. This is not a job to hang out in until it is time to run for another office - it is a real position that has real consequences for the people of this state. As a native North Carolinian, someone whose family was enslaved in the same community in which I grew up, I could not stand by and watch another Democrat bargain away the rights of our most vulnerable populations in service to their own political career. We need an experienced, knowledgeable, lawyer willing to stand up for us.

What is the most important issue facing our residents and how do you plan to address it? The protection of reproductive rights - NC has joined other states in severely restricting the rights of women and their healthcare providers around reproductive choices. This not only implicates abortion but issues around pregnancy and reproductive choices. NC could very easily follow the legal landscape in places like Texas where prosecutors and courts are substituting their political judgment for healthcare choices. In the wake of NC’s changing legal atmosphere, we are already seeing obstetricians and gynecologists leaving the state - even when their services do not include the termination of pregnancy. This restricts healthcare access and affordability for all North Carolinians with many people in rural communities or communities of color having to travel long distances for basic care. Rural counties are experiencing the consolidation of healthcare systems in our state with fewer specialty care options driving up the costs for everyone. The protection of civil and voting rights - I would expand the newly created Civil Rights Unit. As Attorney General, I would use existing authority to conduct civil rights investigations - adding more staff and devoting more funding to impact litigation. Consumer protection - I would protect against the continued attempts to defraud North Carolinians out of their hard-earned money. Whether that is by protecting seniors from fraud, workers from wage theft, or companies trying to defraud consumers.

How will you use your office to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis? Like every state, NC’s response to the opioid epidemic has been slow and disjointed. Some counties have more access to public health resources while other counties treat the epidemic as a purely criminal justice issue. Law enforcement agencies continue to focus on small-scale dealing rather than the large-scale trafficking of prescription and street drugs to the detriment of our communities. The distribution of opioid settlement funds has also been inconsistent from county to county. As AG, I would use a combined impact litigation strategy with consultation services to local governments on how to implement both public safety and public health strategies to decrease opioid use. I would encourage the expansion of Narcan distribution to reduce the risk of overdose deaths while also focusing on federal and state task forces to reduce the trafficking of fentanyl. The next Attorney General should also commit to holding counties accountable for using the settlement money to address community needs and not divert the funds to fill budget deficits or on other projects.

Will you defend North Carolina in lawsuits if you personally disagree with their basis? As I mentioned above, a Democratic Attorney General in NC is going to have to show some political courage. For me, that means being willing to stand for the personal freedoms and rights of the most vulnerable people in our state. To me that means fighting the General Assembly over reproductive rights and healthcare access (especially for queer children and their families). It means being willing to litigate issues of voting and civil rights and environmental justice with the same fervor and legal certainty as the General Assembly does. One of the things the NC General Assembly does is to hire outside counsel to represent them and not the people of NC. I will aggressively fight that in the courts. will also join other states and Attorneys General to litigate at the federal level and support progressive issues in the courts.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I am easily the most qualified person to be Attorney General in this race. I might be the most qualified person to ever run for this position. I have done all the things that were asked of me - go to school, do well, work for your people. And I did all those things to put me in a position to influence the future of policy in this state. Progressive values mean that we judge someone on what we know they can do - not what they say they can do. I have a progressive record that speaks for itself. I have hired a diverse group of people to work everywhere in which I have led - and given many of them opportunities to advance their careers in ways a traditional manager would not. I have required my staff to be trained in issues of racial equity for longer than it has been popular. I instituted policies and procedures in my office that the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Equity has adopted almost wholesale. There has never been a candidate with more openly progressive values than I have exhibited in my career and during my time as an elected official.

Did not respond:

Tim Dunn


Republican candidates:

Chad Brown

What is your occupation?-I hold a role as a steel sales executive, leveraging my expertise to drive growth and forge successful business relationships. Additionally, I proudly serve as a public servant on the Gaston County Commission, working diligently to represent and advocate for the needs of our community. By seamlessly intertwining my passion for business and my dedication to public service, I strive to make a meaningful impact and foster mutually beneficial connections.

Why are you running?-I am running for the office of North Carolina Secretary of State because I truly care about the people of North Carolina and want to make a positive impact on their lives. I believe in the power of good governance and the importance of protecting and promoting the interests of our state. I want to ensure that every North Carolinian has a fair chance to succeed and thrive. The North Carolina Secretary of State office possesses several unique and important qualities that make it a crucial part of the state government and legal system.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it?- My primary focus would be on addressing the most important issue facing our state: fostering economic growth and supporting entrepreneurship. I understand that a thriving business environment is crucial for the well-being of our communities and the overall prosperity of North Carolina.

How will you use your office to support and help people starting businesses?-I am dedicated to supporting and helping people starting businesses. My primary focus will be on fostering economic growth and entrepreneurship, recognizing their importance for our communities and the overall prosperity of North Carolina. To achieve this, I will prioritize business services and provide accessible resources for entrepreneurs. Streamlining the registration and filing process will make it easier for them to start their businesses. I will also promote a business-friendly environment that encourages innovation and growth. Safeguarding trademarks and tradenames is another key aspect of my plan. By implementing efficient processes and strong protections for trademark registration, I will empower businesses to flourish and protect their creative ideas. Additionally, I will enforce securities regulations to protect investors and maintain a fair financial market. Prioritizing consumer protection and ensuring fair and transparent elections are also integral parts of my approach. Overall, my goal as Secretary of State will be to create an environment conducive to business growth, provide comprehensive support for entrepreneurs, and prioritize consumer protection. By serving as a bridge between the government and the people, I will work tirelessly to build a stronger and more connected North Carolina, where entrepreneurship thrives and economic opportunities abound.

How will you protect consumers from counterfeit items?-As North Carolina Secretary of State, I will be dedicated to protecting consumers from counterfeit items by enhancing the existing anti-counterfeiting task force and fostering collaboration with local law enforcement agencies. The task force, comprised of skilled local law enforcement officers, will continue to investigate and take legal action against counterfeit operations. By strengthening partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, we can expand our reach and effectively address the issue. This collaboration will involve sharing intelligence, coordinating investigations, and conducting joint operations to disrupt counterfeit networks. In addition, public awareness campaigns will be launched to educate consumers about the risks of counterfeit products and how to identify them. Empowering consumers with knowledge will enable them to make informed purchasing decisions and safeguard themselves from counterfeit goods. Through the integration of the task force and support from local law enforcement, it will be fully committed to combating counterfeiting, enforcing the law, and raising awareness to protect consumers.

What sets you apart from your opponents?-My previous experience in government and politics, along with my background as a professional baseball player and being a father, sets me apart from my opponents in the race for North Carolina Secretary of State. With a deep understanding of government processes and policy issues, I am well-prepared to navigate bureaucracy and effectively serve the people of North Carolina. My time as a professional athlete taught me valuable lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and discipline, which I apply to my work as a public servant. As a father, I am passionate about creating a better future for our children and advocating for their education and well-being. Combining these experiences, I bring a unique blend of knowledge, leadership, and a commitment to public service. I believe these qualities make me the best candidate to serve as Secretary of State and make a positive impact in our state.

Jesse Thomas

What is your occupation?-Retired CEO, Healthy Blue, for Blue Cross Blue Shield NC; former Business Executive and Citizen Public Servant Volunteer.

Why are you running?-The office has become unremarkable and running on auto-pilot after 28 years of democratic incumbency. It has devolved into mostly being the Chief Notary Officer of the State. As such, the role is operating well below its power and authority to be an aggressive Chief Economy and Business Services Officer of the State. Additionally, the Governor and Lt. Governor as officers in the Council of Government have term limits. Since the Secretary of State is the other officer within the Council of Government, who can constitutionally succeed the Governor, it should have the same constraints. In that regard, the office should likewise be subject to term limits to ensure regular and timely executive turnover to inject freshness, new ideas, disruptive innovation, and new thought leadership by being a potential successor to the Governor during extenuating circumstances. I will be a full-throated champion as Secretary of State to be subject to term limits; and become more accountable to work with a fierce urgency of now to stimulate the economy, grow businesses, and help tame inflation through a more fair and responsible tax policy.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it?-The volatile economy and jobs. As our next Secretary of State, I will be an aggressive advocate to the General Assembly to enact a zero percent state income tax by 2030 for all our citizens. And, to do so for our seniors, teachers, first responders, and active duty military by the end of the 2028 biennial budget. Also, I will be an energetic Chief Emissary Officer (CEO) traveling throughout the State promoting business expansion and across the country to encourage new business relocation to North Carolina.

How will you use your office to support and help people starting businesses?-I will modernize the office and streamline the overwhelming website. And, my office will implement a business one-stop system beginning with business registrations including trademarks, then integrating notaries, then UCC, etc. This will become easier once the Business One stop is in place. Add a “chatbot” to the website like some of the other state websites have already done. Equally important, I will champion “Sandbox” initiatives to further stimulate existing businesses and to better enable new business innovation through the reduction of unnecessary red tape and overburdensome regulations.

How will you protect consumers from counterfeit items?-Collaborate in a bi-partisan manner across law enforcement and regulatory agencies of to aggressively investigate, pursue, and enforce our statutes, standards, and regulations to the fullest extent of the law. The rule of law will be judiciously administered and overseen with exactness and integrity.

What sets you apart from your opponents?-I’m a no nonsense citizen public servant, business executive and retired health plan CEO. I’m experienced in leading multi-billion dollar organizations with economic impact on thousands of employees. And, I’m not a career politician or beholden to a tribal litmus test. Instead, I’m guided by two simple principles: 1) does it pass the straight face test, and 2) does it put the interest of “we the people” ahead of the interests of pure politics and eliminate the status quo?

Christine Villaverde

What is your occupation? Homeschool Mom and Small Business Owner

Why are you running? I am running for North Carolina Secretary of State because the office is responsible for driving economic growth across North Carolina. Small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy but burdensome regulations and fees are hindering the creation of new businesses. The current Incumbent has failed to create new and improved processes to support entrepreneurship and instead has failed to create an office that is transparent, efficient, or even responsive to North Carolinians. Citizens deserve the best possible constituent experience from their elected officials. As North Carolina’s next Secretary of State, I will ensure that citizens can access information and services quickly through various channels. Citizens must be able to access the services of the Secretary of States office more easily and I will ensure that my agency proactively provides up-to-date and accurate information to better streamline agency services.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? Various agencies within the North Carolina Executive Branch have recently handed down extensive rules and regulations, many of which place undue burdens on businesses and continue to hinder job creation. Many of these mandates and rules are not at all necessary for the public interest and simply advance personal agendas. To strengthen North Carolina’s economy, I will fight to reduce the burdens placed on businesses, particularly on small businesses. For businesses to thrive in North Carolina, the government simply needs to get out of the way. This means reducing regulatory burdens and regulations and streamlining processes for those creating a business with the Secretary of State’s office. Rolling back these burdensome regulations and reducing the size and overreach of our government will be a priority of mine as Secretary of State.

How will you use your office to support and help people starting businesses? On average creating an LLC in other states after the registration documents are submitted takes anywhere between a week and 10 business days for completion; however, North Carolina can take up to 7 weeks. As Secretary of State, I will improve customer service experiences by innovating and pushing forward with better practices, implementing modern tools such as AI, and better utilize available technology to streamline agency processes. I would also like to create a small fleet of mobile offices to better serve the often forgotten Western and Eastern North Carolina rural communities.

How will you protect consumers from counterfeit items? With an expanding global economy through online sales, it has never been easier to sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers in North Carolina. Working together with various law enforcement agencies to raise awareness of the scale of this problem across North Carolina is the first step to combatting this type of crime. I would use my status as Secretary of State to be a vocal advocate in educating North Carolinians on the danger counterfeit goods can be to their health and safety, on how they negatively impact American jobs, and how they harm our economy overall. Enhancing post-discovery penalties on anyone involved in the trafficking of counterfeit items with civil fines or even incarceration will also be a priority of my office.

What sets you apart from your opponents? What sets me apart from the other candidates is the fact that I am the most educated, trained, and qualified to be a successful Secretary of State. I have previous law enforcement training and experience; The Secretary of State’s office has investigative and prosecutorial authority over fraud and counterfeiting which makes my law enforcement experience an asset. I have experience supporting over 500 elected officials and 6000 employees as the NC Judicial Branch Emergency Manager, and I have a Master’s Degree in Public Policy/Public Administration from Liberty University. I have the skills, ability, training, and education to create an organization that will make it easier to start a small business, protect citizens from fraud and counterfeiting, and create an office that always prioritizes people.


Republican candidates:

Dave Boliek

What is your occupation? Attorney, Business Person, Member of the UNC-CH Board of Trustees (immediate past chair and current Budget Chair)

Why are you running? I am a life-long North Carolinian and this State has given so much to me and my family that I want to give back to the State by serving.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? Holding Public School administrators accountable for the money taxpayers provide. As State Auditor I will Audit our Public Schools to determine exactly how our tax money is spent. We need to get back to a classical education model and identify costly unnecessary programs so we can direct more resources to the classrooms.

How will you use your office to investigate and protect taxpayer dollars? We will develop a strategic plan based on conservative principles, designed: to audit the public schools; audit agencies that the previous auditor did not or would not audit (Elections, Transportation, Health and Human Services); and create a rapid response team to address immediate critical issues such as the massive accounting errors in Durham County which caused school classes to be cancelled.

What do you plan to do to hold agencies accountable? As an Auditor, I will tackle the financial audit requirements with a conservative approach. I will add performance audits to let the public and lawmakers know where agencies, institutions, and recipients of state dollars are not being efficient.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I am a former prosecutor, and an attorney and I earned a master’s degree in business administration. In my public service, I have led the conservative reform of a multi-billion dollar budget and that reform corrected decades of neglect. I have dared to stand up in the face of pressure and criticism from liberal and progressive elements to make bold and decisive decisions based on conservative principles.

Jack Clark

What is your occupation- Research Assistant in the General Assembly.

Why are you running?-I want to make North Carolina the best-run state in the country. I’m not running because I love campaigning or want a fancy title. I’m running because I’ve felt God calling me to serve the people of North Carolina in this manner, as I can make a more positive impact for people here than I felt I made in the private sector. My desire to serve led me to leave a safe career in accounting into the chaotic world of politics, and now into the even more chaotic world of campaigning. Few auditors seek public office, being a more introverted profession. I wanted to allow NC to have a qualified Auditor who knows how to do the job from day one. I had to step up, and hope that my story inspires others to see the political world as something they, too, can join.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it?-I believe the polarization of this state is destroying trust in the public sphere on all sides. No one trusts each other including people of the same political persuasion. I am an honest, respectful person, and I intend to lead by example as a trustworthy servant of the people. The auditor’s role is to be unbiased and objective. An auditor is also only as good as his or her integrity. Without integrity, no one would trust the results, which would render the work worthless. My department will work well with everyone and start to chip away at the negative cycle that politics often breeds.

How will you use your office to investigate and protect taxpayer dollars?-My priority is to find the tax dollars missed by the prior auditor and to audit those places that have flown under the radar. After 15 years, any administration would have developed blind spots. It is especially important in auditing to bring fresh perspectives into engagements.

My goal will always be to find the objective truth. I will not carry personal bias or agenda into any audit. Ideally, everywhere I audit will agree with my team’s findings.

Lastly, to protect taxpayer money, I will focus on leaving everywhere I audit with stronger controls and procedures so that fraud and waste do not occur in the future. More important than catching fraud is preventing fraud. I will be a forward-looking auditor who will prevent fraud.

What do you plan to do to hold agencies accountable?

Essentially, auditing is the process of making places prove claims that they are making. Performing audits well, then, forces agencies to support all their claims of where the money goes and how it’s used. Reviewing documentation and asking questions is a simple yet powerful way to ensure accountability.

I will also audit with a mindset that we in the profession call professional skepticism. As I have said, I will not take personal biases or agendas into any audit. This also ensures that all agencies understand that they can be audited, rather than those who campaign promise to audit certain agencies, thereby leaving others to see themselves as under the radar.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-I am the only candidate in any party with the following qualifications:

- Master’s degree in accounting (Audit Track)

- CPA license (Audit exam was the highest score of 4 exams – 98)

- Experience in auditing in the private sector (as both external and internal auditor)

- 21st-century audit experience (of any kind)

- 21st century major accounting firm experience (Grant Thornton)

To be a State Auditor, the most important qualification is to understand auditing. I have education, training, and experience in the field. There are skills and mindsets necessary for proper auditing that someone cannot develop unless they have audited.

In addition, I have current NC budget experience as a Research Assistant to a budget chair. That means I know where the money is supposed to go, and I have the skills to audit where it goes.

Lastly – and most importantly – I recognize that the Auditor position is a lot like a judge’s position: you want someone who rules objectively based on the facts. There is no room for a personal agenda or making campaign promises on what cases you’ll take and how you’ll rule.

Charles Dingee

What is your occupation? Small business owner

Why are you running? I want to hold the government accountable. In schools across North Carolina, we have gotten away from teaching children the basics of reading and writing and instead are focusing on diversity teaching. e have gotten complacent with allowing the government to waste our money and it needs to stop

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it? Election integrity. Per the state board of elections, almost 180,000 are registered to vote but don’t have a driver’s license or social security number. This is in direct violation of the HAVA Act. How can the state board be breaking its own rules and doing nothing about it.

How will you use your office to investigate and protect taxpayer dollars? I plan to use it as the tool it was designed for to hold the government accountable. I want to first go through all the levels of government that have not been audited in more than a decade. I will increase the number of fiscal audits that are done instead of just doing compliance audits.

What do you plan to do to hold agencies accountable? By increasing the number of audits. In addition, publishing the information in a way the average person can quickly and easily understand exactly what the results are. Folks live busy lives and don’t have time to read through hundreds of pages of information. The audits should be useful for the end user and the taxpayer.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I am not wanting to be the State Auditor to make friends. I am going to be a thorn in the side to all levels of government and hold them accountable. I am not an establishment candidate like the others. I plan to work for the people to ensure their money is not wasted.

Jeff Tarte

What is your occupation?-Management Consultant

Why are you running?-I was asked to run for the State Auditor position by colleagues, my wife and the immediate former State Auditor. They asked me to run because they felt none of the other candidates are prepared with the necessary experience and knowledge to successfully lead the Office of State Auditor’s (OSA) staff of 175+ professionals and the $16M annual operating budget.

What is the most important issue in our state and how do you plan to address it?-Fraud and waste are the biggest issues that the State Auditor can immediately impact. I am aware that there is waste in virtually every state agency and department. IT is universally abused because there is no central point of accounting. In aggregate, IT wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year. Additionally, I have identified over $100M of funds that are available to be recovered from overpayments and fraud in Medicaid, insurance fraud, as well as fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports vs independent financial audits takes time to explain, but know it is a problem. The way to address this problem is through a specialized center for detecting and preventing fraud and waste. More details in the next question.

How will you use your office to investigate and protect taxpayer dollars?-Day one I will begin to set up a technology center within the OSA focused on detecting and preventing fraud and waste. I will leverage Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and auditbots. I will introduce blockchain, sophisticated identity management and rules engine tools to assist in pattern recognition and identification of fraud. I will hire and utilize the skills of AI engineers, forensic auditors and data analytic scientists. The State Auditor has subpoena authority to require information to be provided to assist in the investigation and identification of waste and fraud. Currently the State Auditor has no authority to pursue waste and fraud. There is a massive quantity of fraud and waste in state government. I know where much of it is located. I will seek Demand letter authority to enable the State Auditor to immediately pursue and recover monies that were fraudulently gained and stop the flow of monies that are being wasted.

What do you plan to do to hold agencies accountable? The state Auditor has two primary functions, audit and investigate. Any agency/department/entity receiving state funds is subject to being investigated by the State Auditor. The work of the State Auditor must be predicated on fact-based evidence, be transparent and independent from outside influences. State Auditor has subpoena authority, thus the ability to secure all information necessary to conduct its audits and investigations. Fraud, waste and severe operational inefficiencies are identified through rigorous and thorough performance, operations, IT and other investigative audits. Contrary to some beliefs, the State Auditor has no enforcement authority. Any enforcement authority of the State Auditor comes through influence, persuasion and building sound working relationships with those agencies with actual enforcement authority such as the AG and SBI. “Sunshine” and transparency are important tools to achieve accountability. The work and findings of the State Auditor should be open and available to the scrutiny of the public. State Auditor does not need to be liked, just respected.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-One of the primary responsibilities of the State Auditor is to ensure the accuracy of the financials for state agencies and departments. If you are required to verify the accuracy of your financial statements to secure a loan, who do you hire; realtor, trial attorney, staff assistant for a legislator or Partner from one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in the world? These are your actual choices to select from for NC State Auditor, who do you think is best prepared to do the job? I am a three term State Senator, three term Mayor of Cornelius and former Partner at EY, which is the 3rd largest accounting firm in the world. I understand how government works. I have run a successful national business. I understand running a global accounting and management consulting practice that is multiple times larger than the Office of State Auditor. The work of the State Auditor is the same work I have done professionally for over 30 years for clients in all 50 states and 5 countries. Compare detailed backgrounds of all the candidates, I am the only candidate with the actual skills and experience to do this job.

Did not respond:

Jim Kee

Anthony Wayne Street


Democratic candidates:

Gabriel Esparza

What is your occupation? Former Associate Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Why are you running? I’m running for Treasurer because we’ve got to bring people together to invest in North Carolina’s future – creating both opportunity and financial security for everyone. I will honor the public service of our state employees and retirees by ensuring the long-term stability of our pension fund, fighting to lower healthcare costs, and leading an innovation agenda across our economy. Experience matters and I will deliver for North Carolina.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? Over the past 5 years, North Carolina’s pension fund has been the worst-performing pension fund in the country. Not only has it lagged behind the other fifty states, it has underperformed the market, and even failed to meet internal benchmarks set by the Treasurer’s office itself. The practical implication of this failure is that either the General Assembly or agency employers are required to make an increasingly larger payment into the fund. And who, in turn, funds these agencies – the taxpayers! To make matters worse, the General Assembly recently passed legislation allowing hospital employees at UNC Health and ECU Health to leave the state pension fund and set up their retirement system. The collective result of these dual predicaments is that the state’s AAA credit rating is at risk. I bring decades of both corporate and government experience to address these challenges. We will deploy a different investment strategy (detailed below), attract experienced investors to the Treasurer’s Office, initiate a robust public communications strategy, and work across both public and private institutions to ensure the long-term stability of the fund.

How would you use your office to address medical costs? I see three opportunities to address medical costs. First, the current Treasurer cut off reimbursement of weight loss drugs which fails to appreciate long-term cost avoidance when people lose weight. But it also exposes the ridiculously high cost of drugs. We should restructure the drug-buyer-middleman relationship to focus on generic drugs only and negotiate the highest cost, brand name drugs directly from the Treasurer’s office. The second issue is the transition from Blue Cross to Aetna. The contract bidding process for a new plan administrator was highly questionable and is, in fact, the subject of litigation. If the court orders a re-do of the process, that responsibility would likely fall to the new Treasurer and create another opportunity to lower costs. Finally, too many people carry burdensome medical debt. Most hospitals end up selling the debt to nefarious collections agencies for pennies on the dollar. I’ll work with non-profits like RIP Medical Debt who are buying this debt and simply relieving people of their obligations. I bring decades of experience negotiating corporate deals, running contract bid processes, and creating value through innovative approaches – and I want to put those skills to work for North Carolinians.

How will you continue to use your office to get unclaimed property and cash back to the people who own it? Unclaimed property management has the untapped potential to leverage both technology and robust marketing outreach to return the over $1B sitting in the state’s coffers. By leveraging AI, we should be able to more accurately match abandoned accounts with their rightful owners. At the same time, this strikes me as a marketing challenge – meaning that we should be able to more vigorously communicate with North Carolinians regarding the opportunity to claim money that is theirs. I have a proven track record of both technology and marketing leadership to take this operation to a new level.

How will you responsibly invest the funds entrusted to you as part of the state pension fund? To responsibly invest the assets of the pension fund, I would begin by reviewing market conditions and current obligations to determine an updated asset allocation strategy. Based on the outcome of the study, I would set forth a new investment strategy that makes the following changes: First, let’s put cash to work. The fund’s cash position is exceedingly high, so I would shift an additional $10 billion of cash into higher-return investment vehicles, reducing cash from 14% to 6%. Second, I would allocate more money to private equity which has seen outsized returns over the last five years and out-performed the public equity markets. As a hedge against further inflation, this would also include investments in real assets – opportunities like infrastructure, renewables technology, and natural resources. And finally, let the fund’s investments also reflect our shared values – where we can do good for the fund while also doing good for North Carolina. This includes creating an in-state investment mandate and utilizing emerging asset managers in order to provide meaningful opportunities to women and minority investors – a group that studies reveal has positively outperformed.

What sets you apart from your opponents? In the race for NC State Treasurer, experience matters. This a big job that entails leadership of a 500-person organization, sole decision-making authority over a $115B pension fund, and management of a state healthcare plan for upwards of 750,000 people. You can’t put a rookie in this job. I have a top-notch education (Stanford and Harvard) that provided the foundation for a successful 25+ year career in the private sector leading large organizations, going toe-to-toe negotiating against large corporate interests, managing budgets, and investing money. I also have over a decade of public sector experience as both a Commissioner of the Civil Service Commission and a senior official in the Biden Administration. In contrast, my opponent has no management experience to speak of – never managed a team, never negotiated a deal, and critically – has never managed any money. North Carolinians should put their faith in someone who has a track record of creating jobs, growing businesses, generating revenue, and saving lives. I am committed to leveraging my skills and experience on behalf of all North Carolinians.

Wesley Harris

Wesley Harris

What is your occupation? Economic Consultant and State Representative

Why are you running? I am running for State Treasurer because we need a Treasurer who believes in investing in the most valuable asset we have: our people. If we want a state government that works for everyone, we need to recruit the best state employees and invest in infrastructure around our state. Currently, our pension plan returns are the worst in the country, our State Health Plan is cutting benefits, and our Local Government Commission has been politicized to the point it is difficult for our local governments to make the investments their communities need. My background as the only PhD Economist in the state legislature and the lead Democrat on all finance and economic issues in the State House has given me the background and experience to tackle these problems so we can improve our pension returns, lower healthcare costs and improve benefits, and have a state government that makes the investments our communities need to grow and prosper.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? The most important issue in this state is our urban-rural divide and the decline in economic opportunity. Parts of our state are doing exceptionally well, but the majority of the geography of our state has been left behind by our government and our economy. This is the root cause of the rise in political polarization and extremism the last few years—because when people see that the rules aren’t fair, they lose faith in our systems and institutions. I plan to address this by being a State Treasurer who will build a truly statewide coalition around the idea that if we invest in our state employees, and invest in our communities, we can bring opportunity back to every corner of this state and show people that democracy still works. That starts by showing up. We have to show up everywhere and show people that we care, and that if we invest in education, healthcare, and infrastructure, no parts of our state have to be left behind. Showing up also helps folks around the state be informed of what’s happening so they can hold their other elected officials accountable, thus creating the government we need in North Carolina.

How would you use your office to address medical costs? The key way to reduce medical costs is by investing in preventative care and wellness programs along with decreasing the risk pool. We currently have a massive state employee vacancy crisis in our state government, which means that younger (and typically more healthy) individuals are not choosing to work for the state. That makes our entire risk pool grow, raising the cost of healthcare. To really tackle healthcare costs, I plan to work with the legislature to help recruit and retain younger workers to balance out the portion of our state workforce that are aging and thus in need of more medical care. The best way to recruit new talent is to increase salary and benefits. I plan to use the Treasurer’s office to promote more wellness and preventative care programs so that members of the Health Plan can have an improved quality of life today, and lower the risk of future health problems that increase medical costs for everyone on the plan. If we focus on investing in health today, we can save an enormous amount of money in the long run and we will all benefit.

How will you continue to use your office to get unclaimed property and cash back to the people who own it? One of the few things I fully agree with our current Treasurer on is his commitment to promoting the state’s unclaimed property division. People need to know they have money owed to them, and I think improving and expanding advertising for this program is critical. I think working with local media and news outlets to continue to promote this division is a great start, and as Treasurer, anywhere I go and regardless what topic I’m dealing with, I’ll be sure to mention the unclaimed property and cash system so people continue to learn about it and can reclaim what is rightfully theirs. This folds neatly into my larger program of accountability mentioned above—the Treasurer should be one of the lead voices empowering our citizens with information about their money.

How will you responsibly invest the funds entrusted in you as part of the state pension fund? The biggest change that needs to happen with our pension plan investment strategy is our over-reliance on cash in our portfolio. Our State Pension Plan is the worst performing plan in the county because we have about 13% of it sitting in cash, creating no returns. Other pension plans have that amount around 2%. Lowering our cash reserves to a normal amount could result in nearly $1 Billion in additional returns each year, which would drastically increase the solvency of our pension plan and ensure we can keep the promises to our retirees and state employees of a stable and comfortable retirement.

Additionally, we need to make sure we are investing in companies that reflect our values as North Carolinians. A company that does financially well but harms people in our state is not a company public money should be invested in. Under my leadership our pension fund will invest in companies that perform well and align with the values of the people of North Carolina. Companies that do good do well, and our State Pension Plan investment strategy will reflect that.

What sets you apart from your opponents? I am a native North Carolinian and the only candidate in this race who has lived in rural, suburban, and urban NC. I grew up in rural NC so I understand the challenges there, and I have the experience to go to every part of this state and build a winning coalition. Second, I am the only candidate in this race who has run in, and won, a competitive election, winning my legislative seat in 2018 by defeating a Republican incumbent. Finally, I have the experience and relationships that come with serving in state government. I’m the only Democratic candidate who has managed state government employees via my legislative office, and as the only PhD Economist in the legislature, there is no elected Democrat in NC who understands our state’s finances better. I have the trust and confidence of one of the largest coalitions ever for this office—72 Democratic legislators, 90 local office holders, and 8 members of Congress. Most importantly, the North Carolina Association of Educators and the State Employees Association of North Carolina have both endorsed my campaign because they know me and trust me. I am the first Treasurer’s candidate to have both those endorsements since 2008.

Republican candidates:

Brad Briner

What is your occupation? Investment Professional, recently retired

Why are you running? I am running because I am uniquely qualified for the role of State Treasurer given my long experience in the investment business and because I believe that I can deliver materially better performance in our pension plans than has been the case historically. We are currently sending one of every six dollars we collect in income taxes each year into the pension plans, and with just industry-level performance, we can reduce that contribution to zero over time. This would free up several billion dollars a year for North Carolina to return to taxpayers or spend on other priorities. I have been in the investment business for the last 25 years, investing multi-billion-dollar portfolios for UNC’s endowment and then for one of the wealthiest people in the world. As a result of these experiences, I am very familiar with how to manage large investment programs like the North Carolina Retirement System and have delivered strong performance for my prior clients. I can certainly do the same for North Carolina.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? The most important issue facing our state as it relates to the job of State Treasurer is the large unfunded liability that we have accrued across the state pension and health plans. These are currently estimated to be over $40 billion versus a total state budget of $27 billion. As mentioned above, with better pension plan performance, we can reduce and ultimately eliminate these unfunded liabilities. I am the only candidate in the race who has managed investment programs previously, and have a detailed plan to fix pension performance available on my website: www.bradbriner.com

How would you use your office to address medical costs? As the chair of the board of the State Health Plan, the State Treasurer has substantial influence over the largest payer of medical costs in the state. From this position, and with a clear understanding of the magnitude of the unfunded liability associated with the State Health Plan, it will be incumbent on the next Treasurer to build on Treasurer Folwell’s great work in addressing this liability. The plan will require either more revenue or less cost, over time to be solvent – and we will explore all options to put the plan on a more sustainable footing.

How will you continue to use your office to get unclaimed property and cash back to the people who own it? Treasurer Folwell deserves a tremendous amount of credit for implementing the new NC Cash website and procedures over the last several years, which has helped accelerate the return of property to those who own it. In addition to improving upon that system where possible, I will continue his consistent highlighting of the program in regular Treasurer communications.

How will you responsibly invest the funds entrusted to you as part of the state pension fund? As mentioned previously, I have a detailed plan on my website about this (www.bradbriner.com). In short, though, we need to substantially decrease the allocations to low-returning assets like cash and deploy new investment into opportunities that have been created by the inflation created by the Biden Administration (and associated rise in interest rates). Specifically, we would materially increase investment in lower-rated bonds and loans, and in commercial real estate, both of which have higher prospective returns than they have in many years.

What sets you apart from your opponents? Experience and qualifications. No one else in the race has experience managing capital, yet all agree that the performance of the pension plan is the most important area for improvement.

A.J. Daoud

What is your occupation? Former Police Officer, N.C. Lottery Commissioner currently CEO of Funeral Management Company.

Why are you running? As a former Government Employee, I experienced firsthand the value of having a Treasurer who cares about Watching how taxpayer dollars are spent and taking care of OUR government employees. Until the current Treasurer, Dale Folwell, the focus was how many Wall Street Contract could be given as political favors. Mr. Folwell and I have proven that we take care of the employees’ benefits while caring for the proper use of taxpayers’ dollars.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it?- In this current financial recession it is of the most urgent nature that we watch every dollar in government, how it is spent and what’s the return. A strong review of financial performance is a top priority. The State of North Carolina has had recent incidents of employees or managers embezzling from various towns. Those suspects were not arrested nor have heard investigations. The current Treasurer has assisted those governments back to financial health without hurting taxpayers by increasing local taxes and tight oversight of budgets and expense control.

How would you use your office to address medical costs? Treasurer Folwell has been dealing with Blue Cross and Blue Shield with Hospital Corporation in medical cost control for Government Employees. I experienced difficulties while a police officer of affording health care and dealing with hospital/doctor charges. The treasurer has some success in negotiating services and medical cost price locks. Much more needs to be done. As I told the SEANC panel in a recent interview, the negotiations and communications need to continue. As a matter of record, neither of my competitors in these elections has addressed this issue. With my experience as a police officer and an executive with a public company doing Multi-Million Dollar Acquisitions/Merger, I have the experience to take this to the next level.

How will you continue to use your office to get unclaimed property and cash back to the people who own it? This program was greatly expanded by the current treasurer where it was dormant under the past administration. The current marketing is good but expansion of advertising via Television and the Internet may expand this program to a much greater number of North Carolina citizens.

How will you responsibly invest the funds entrusted in you as part of the state pension fund? Treasurer Folwell has spent the last 8 years getting rid of Wall Street Advisory Contracts Saving taxpayers 650 million dollars. He established an internal department of over 30 advisors and analysts to monitor and obtain information to maximize investment returns with minimal risk. There is an Investment Advisor Board which also approves any Treasurer and staff recommendations. One of the other candidates has recently in a Business Magazine mentioned the first thing he would do is bring in 4 Wall Street Experts to advise him. Years have been spent eliminating the high dollar Wall Street Advisory Contract costing us the taxpayers millions more than internal oversight. Well, that candidate and his firm have strong ties to Bloomberg (story in Bloomberg.com) Seems Wall Street wants to get control of the office and control YOUR Pension. Say NO to Bloomberg in North Carolina.

What sets you apart from your opponents? Many facets separate us from the others. First, the others do not have any government experience in operations and budgeting. We have had responsibility for oversight of Police Budgets, Non-Profit budgets, and Lottery budgets. Note that the Lottery during my tenure was a 5-billion-dollar annual budget. My fight with staff on items that I felt were wasteful spending was reallocated back toward education. Proven Fiscal Conservative with taxpayer’s funds. Second, neither has started and grew a company from scratch. My company started at zero and had annual revenues of seven figures. They haven’t had to meet a payroll nor hustle for marketing or cry when at an employee’s mother’s funeral. Lastly Wall Street Bloomberg and Mrs. Johnson have not mentioned the other functions of the Treasurer Office and plans, Example Financial Operations Division. How are we to increase oversight of budgets or how to keep the AAA Bond rating that North Carolina obtained under this administration? I am the only one in the contest who publicly announced I will continue the programs of Treasurer Dale Folwell expand upon them and bring my law enforcement experience to crack down on those who steal from the public taxpayers’ dollars.

Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson

What is your occupation? Mother and businesswoman

Why are you running? I’m a mother, a businesswoman, and a taxpayer. I am running for NC Treasurer because I want the people of North Carolina to know that their money is being wisely invested to safeguard our future. My career hasn’t been spent with New York City billionaires helping them make another billion. My career started right here in North Carolina helping middle-class moms and dads plan for financial security in their later years and, hopefully, be able to leave a little something behind for their kids. The good folks who have paid into the NC treasury deserve to know the keeper of the public purse has their financial security as her top priority. My experience and passion make me the best candidate for the job.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? I want to do everything I can to maintain the NC treasury in a responsible manner that will help continue to grow our state’s economy. More and better jobs in North Carolina mean more and better opportunities for all North Carolinians. And if you’ve spent a career working for the good people of North Carolina, you deserve to know your retirement and healthcare are the top priorities. There’s always a temptation in this role to flex and try to make a risky play. It’s gotten a few folks in trouble over the years. The people of North Carolina deserve an experienced candidate who will enter the job completely independent of previous ties to Wall Street and the elites of New York finance. I want to be State Treasurer because North Carolina deserves a Treasurer who answers only to the people or North Carolina.

How would you use your office to address medical costs? The NC Treasurer is the keeper of the public purse. I will continue Treasurer Folwell’s good work of protecting and improving the NC retirement system and working with lawmakers to find common solutions that can bring down the costs of healthcare.

How will you continue to use your office to get unclaimed property and cash back to the people who own it? I will continue Treasurer Folwell’s good work of promoting this effort.

How will you responsibly invest the funds entrusted to you as part of the state pension fund? I want to do everything I can to maintain the NC treasury in a responsible manner that will help continue to grow our state’s economy. More and better jobs in North Carolina mean more and better opportunities for all North Carolinians. And if you’ve spent a career working for the good people of North Carolina, you deserve to know your retirement and healthcare are the top priorities. There’s always a temptation in this role to flex and try to make a risky play. It’s gotten a few folks in trouble over the years. The people of North Carolina deserve an experienced candidate who will enter the job completely independent of previous ties to Wall Street and the elites of New York finance. I want to be State Treasurer because North Carolina deserves a Treasurer who answers only to the people of North Carolina.

What sets you apart from your opponents? I was born and raised in North Carolina and started my career at Wachovia in retirement services and earned financial securities licenses. I know the peace of mind that comes with smart, conservative financial planning. After earning my MBA from UNC Chapel Hill, I worked on regulatory response strategies in banking. That’s a fancy way of saying my job was to make sure banks were safeguarding their customers’ money but were also able to invest and grow their customers’ savings in a responsible manner. Most recently, after my dad passed away, I was running our family-owned business on a farm in Davie County. My professional experience has all been right here in North Carolina ranging from the skyscrapers in Charlotte to a farm in Davie County, Metropolis to Mayberry you might say. I am prepared and ready to advocate for the people of North Carolina as their State Treasurer.


Democratic candidates:

Kenon Crumble

Kenon Crumble

What is your occupation? Assistant Principal

Why are you running? I, Kenon Crumble, am running for NC Superintendent to champion a transformative vision for education in our state. My extensive experience as an assistant principal has given me a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities within our educational system. I am deeply committed to fostering an environment where every child, regardless of their background, has access to quality education and the support they need to thrive.

My campaign focuses on enhancing teacher support, improving educational infrastructure, ensuring equitable resource allocation, and integrating innovative technologies and methodologies in our classrooms. I believe in a future where education is not just a pathway to opportunity but a foundation for community strength and growth. My goal is to lead with integrity, passion, and a deep sense of responsibility, ensuring that North Carolina’s education system becomes a model of excellence and inclusivity.

This is more than a campaign; it is a commitment to our children, our teachers, and the future of North Carolina.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? The most critical issue facing North Carolina is the stark disparity in educational resources and opportunities across our diverse communities. This inequity affects not just individual students, but the future prosperity and well-being of our entire state. As Superintendent, my priority will be to bridge this gap, ensuring equitable access to high-quality education for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background or geographic location.

My plan involves a three-pronged approach: First, advocating for increased funding and resources for under-resourced schools to level the playing field. Second, promoting a curriculum that integrates both traditional learning and modern skills, preparing students for a rapidly changing world. Third, I will work tirelessly to support and empower our educators, providing them with the tools, training, and remuneration they deserve.

By addressing educational inequity, we can lay the groundwork for a more prosperous, inclusive, and forward-thinking North Carolina, where every student has the opportunity to succeed and contribute to our state’s growth. This is not just an educational mission; it’s a moral imperative to ensure a brighter future for all.

What should be done to ensure North Carolina’s students are college and career ready? To ensure North Carolina’s students are college and career-ready, we must adopt a holistic, forward-thinking approach to education. This involves not only academic rigor but also practical skill development and real-world preparedness. Firstly, we need to strengthen our core curriculum to emphasize critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability skills, which are crucial in both higher education and the workforce. Secondly, integrating technology and digital literacy across all levels of education is essential in today’s tech-driven world.

Moreover, fostering partnerships with local businesses and colleges can provide students with hands-on experiences through internships and apprenticeships, bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-world application. This exposure not only prepares students for future careers but also helps them make informed decisions about their educational and professional paths.

Additionally, providing robust career counseling and mentorship programs will guide students in navigating their post-secondary choices effectively. Finally, ensuring that educators are well-supported and trained to deliver these initiatives is key. By equipping our students with a blend of academic knowledge, practical skills, and real-world experiences, we can confidently prepare them for success in college, careers, and beyond.

What steps should schools take to ensure student and staff safety in the classroom? Ensuring student and staff safety in the classroom requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses both physical security measures and a nurturing school environment. Firstly, schools should implement robust security protocols, including controlled access points, campus surveillance, and emergency response plans. Regular drills for various safety scenarios, such as lockdowns and natural disasters, should be conducted to ensure preparedness.

Secondly, schools need to invest in mental health resources. This includes hiring trained counselors and psychologists who can provide support and identify potential issues before they escalate. Creating an inclusive and supportive school culture where students feel safe to express concerns is vital.

Additionally, clear policies against bullying and harassment should be established and enforced to foster a respectful and secure learning environment. Schools should also engage with local law enforcement and first responders to ensure coordinated efforts in emergencies.

Staff training is crucial; educators should be equipped not only to respond to emergencies but also to build positive relationships with students, creating an atmosphere of trust and safety.

By combining physical security measures, mental health support, a culture of respect, and thorough training for staff, schools can create a safe and secure environment conducive to learning and growth.

What sets you apart from your opponents? What sets me apart in the race for NC Superintendent is my credentials and a unique blend of hands-on educational experience, a deep-rooted commitment to equity, and a forward-thinking approach to education. In order to achieve academic growth in North Carolina schools, we must ascertain that our students have a highly qualified teacher in the classroom, and leadership must follow that same expectation – I am the only candidate that holds a principal and superintendent license. As an administrator, I have gained invaluable insights into the practical challenges and opportunities within our schools. This experience grounds my policies, ensuring they are not just idealistic, but actionable and effective.

My focus on equity goes beyond rhetoric; I am dedicated to creating tangible changes that address disparities in our education system. This includes advocating for fair funding, supporting underserved communities, and ensuring every student has access to high-quality education and resources.

Furthermore, my vision for integrating innovative technologies and modern teaching methodologies sets a path for a future-ready education system. I prioritize not just academic excellence but also the development of critical life skills, preparing students to thrive in an ever-evolving world.

My approach is collaborative, always seeking input from educators, parents, and students, ensuring that policies are not top-down but are instead community-driven. This inclusive, experienced, and progressive stance is what distinguishes me in this important race.

Mo Green

Mo Green

What is your occupation? Retired; I retired from my last position as Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in 2023

Why are you running? I am deeply concerned about the current direction of the North Carolina Public School

system. It is woefully underfunded, even while funding for a private school voucher program is being increased dramatically. Its educators are belittled through low pay and respect. Student academic performance can be improved. North Carolina public schools need a champion who will provide a new vision. Given my experiences, which have included being school district superintendent, a chief executive of a philanthropic organization, a school board attorney, and a member of numerous boards/commissions that deal with a host of educational issues, I believe I can be that champion.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it?

One of the most important issues facing North Carolina is the severe underfunding of our North Carolina public school system. North Carolina is among the worst in the country in funding its public schools. This has resulted in underpaying our educators, rising vacancies, and students not having the resources they need to be successful. I plan to address this issue by developing a coalition of various organizations and individuals who will advocate for improvements in funding, even as I also work with many to find efficiencies with existing funding.

What should be done to ensure North Carolina’s students are college and career ready?

First, there has to be a vision for the North Carolina public school system. My vision is for North Carolina public schools to be excellent. That vision can be realized by all (e.g., General Assembly, State Board of Education, local boards of educations, educators, Governor, parents, faith community, businesses, etc.) committing to: investing fully in public education; revering educators (teachers as well as other educators such as custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, counselors, etc.); providing appropriate and differentiated resources for each student according to their needs; enhancing parent and community engagement; ensuring safe and secure learning environments; and celebrating the good in public education. If we, as adults, commit to excellence, our children and young people, all with the capacity to be great, will respond in kind. If we expect excellence, they will deliver it. If excellence is the only acceptable option, they will embrace it, for children live what they know.

What steps should schools take to ensure student and staff safety in the classroom?

To help ensure student and staff safety in classrooms, sufficient professionals, like counselors and social workers, must be provided; students must be taught character; schools need trained professionals to protect students and staff; and schools must be equipped with the tools and resources to secure their facilities.

What sets you apart from your opponents?

Because the State Superintendent oversees a large department that administers approximately $11 billion annually; develops subjects, course content, assessments; and provides licenses to over 100,000 teachers and administrators, my experiences leading and managing large, complex, education-related organizations is a significant difference.

My experiences have included being: a school district superintendent of the third largest district in the state for over seven years; and deputy superintendent and school board attorney of one of the largest two districts in the state for over seven years. I have also been a chief executive of a large philanthropic organization that awards millions in grants to educational causes and a member of numerous boards/commissions that deal with a host of educational issues, including homelessness, athletics, policy, media, arts and community support. Moreover, I have a growing list of endorsements from, among many others, the NC Association of Educators, former NC Governors Jim Hunt and Bev Perdue, former State Superintendent June Atkinson, former Chair of the State Board of Education Bill Harrison, more than a dozen former local district superintendents, several United States Representatives, the AFL-CIO, and the Past President of the NC Parent-Teacher Association Kelly Langston.

Did not respond:

C.R. Katie Eddings

Republican candidates:

Catherine Truitt

Catherine Truitt

What is your occupation? As the current the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for North Carolina, I have been an educator my entire adult life. I was an English teacher for 10 years, a coach in low-performing public schools for three years, senior education advisor to Governor Pat McCrory, Vice President for PreK-12 Partnerships for the University of North Carolina System Office, and Chancellor of nonprofit Western Governors University NC.

Why are you running? The surest pathway to freedom and prosperity begins with education, and a public education is the cornerstone of ensuring that all who choose to work hard can be successful. But there are cracks in the public system of education that need addressing. My administration has already begun improving public education for all students and my team and I want to continue working to help educators, students, and their families.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? The most critical issue facing our state (and nation) is reading. Prior to the pandemic, 67% of North Carolina eighth graders began high school NOT reading proficiently. This is average when compared to other states. Today’s economy demands a level of reading that many adults and young people do not have. Low literacy levels have led to lower recruitment numbers for the military as well as impacted a student’s ability to succeed in higher education, leading to greater student debt. 70% of all incarcerated adults cannot read at a fourth-grade level.

The research is crystal clear that the removal of phonics-based reading instruction from our schools in the early 90′s has produced a generation of below average readers. This is why I worked with the General Assembly to secure almost $50 million to provide our preK through fifth grade teachers professional development in a phonics-based approach to early reading instruction (also known as the Science of Reading). We are already seeing the benefit of this shift through our end-of-year data reports. North Carolina’s K-3 students’ early literacy growth has outpaced the rest of the nation for two years straight. If reelected, I will work with the legislature to provide professional development for our middle grades teachers in literacy as well as tackle our long-standing struggles in math proficiency.

What should be done to ensure North Carolina’s students are college and career ready? For too long the K-12 education system has sat in isolation from higher education. High stakes testing that occurs on one day of the year dictates how teachers spend much of their classroom time creating a system where the purpose of third grade is to get ready for fourth grade and the purpose of fourth grade is to get ready for fifth grade, etc. But if we can agree that the purpose of public education is to ensure that all students are either employed, enlisted, or enrolled when they cross the graduation state, we can change the “college for all” narrative to one that values all post-secondary plans. My administration has done this by creating a statewide portrait of a graduation whose seven competencies are aligned to what employers want: adaptability, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, learner’s mindset, empathy, and personal responsibility. We have shared guidance for all K-12 teachers on how these seven durable skills can be infused into daily instruction.

We also have prioritized career and technical education (what used to be known as “vocational ed”) to ensure high schools offer classes in construction trades, automotive repair, IT, and health professions to name a few. In fact, the number of credentials our students earned last year is the highest in state history!

Another “must” to prepare students to be college and career and ready is to require all students to take a computer science course prior to high school graduation. I helped make this a reality with the passage of HB 8.

Also, we need to ensure that ALL students—not just those going to college—have a post-graduation plan. Currently, only 30% of NC grads attain a two or four-year degree by the time they are 24 years old. I believe my recent efforts to enact the new Career Development Plan (CDP) legislation will help pave the way for students to know what careers are available to be them and how to get there. This new law will require students in 7th grade to create an initial CDP that can change and transform throughout their public school career. Students will revisit the plan in 10th grade to make sure goals are being met.

Finally, it goes without saying that math proficiency is more critical than ever to post-secondary success and the state has a duty to address our math deficits through policy as it did with literacy. I am presenting a statewide policy framework for math to the legislature this spring that includes investments in math professional development for elementary teachers.

What steps should schools take to ensure student and staff safety in the classroom? The Center for Safer Schools is the school safety arm of the Department of Public Instruction and provides support to all 115 school districts and public charter schools for safety and emergency preparedness. All schools are required to have a safety plan on file with the CFSS as well participate in training we provide on suicide prevention and mental health issues. The CFSS recently provided guidance to districts on how to conduct threat assessment plans (which is a new law that I worked on with the legislature to enact). The law is designed to create teams of school personnel and local law enforcement who can work proactively to prevent a student from putting himself or others in harm’s way.

The CFSS also awards grants to districts with funding appropriated by the General Assembly so schools can employ school resource officers, purchase metal detectors, cameras, and other safety equipment.

What sets you apart from your opponents? As a lifelong educator, I came into office knowing that we needed to reopen schools as soon as possible, get a plan in place to reverse decades of decline in reading and math proficiency, and ensure that all students graduate either employed, enlisted, or enrolled. My strategic plan, Operation Polaris, puts students at the center of all we do, and I’m proud to say that the tenets of this plan have been executed successfully. North Carolina has more students earning career credentials before graduation than at any time in state history; our early literacy scores are outpacing the rest of the nation; our schools have more safety measures in place to keep our students and teachers safe; and North Carolina is leading the nation in academic recovery post-pandemic with two consecutive years of growth in nearly all subjects and grades. I hope that voters will allow me another four years to build on the work began so that all children graduate prepared to be successful in the post-secondary plans of their choice.

Did not respond:

Michele Morrow


Democratic candidates:

Natasha Marcus

What is your occupation?-NC State Senator, former attorney and non-profit fundraiser

Why are you running?-I have been a State Senator since 2019, serving on several committees including Commerce & Insurance. I am an effective advocate for the people, motivated by my passion for justice & fairness. I was a litigation attorney. I’m ready to use my skills to represent all North Carolinians on the Council of State. I am angry that the current Commissioner fails to do the job he was elected to do. Mr. Causey is supposed to represent the people, not the insurance companies. He is supposed to promote fire safety & keep insurance rates low. Yet, he lost the respect of firefighters when he sacked leadership at the Fire Marshal’s Office over a political fight. He lost the trust of NC consumers by agreeing to 19 rate hikes without a single public hearing. He lost the respect of voters by failing to address the costly impacts of climate change. NC needs an Insurance Commissioner who respects the people she serves, provides the transparency they deserve, with litigation experience to hold full public hearings on rate hike requests and cross-examine insurance companies, and who will address the impacts of climate change. In short, I can do the job better than the incumbent - so I’m running.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it?-The most important issue that relates to this race is the economic stress that families feel. Under the current Commissioner, insurance rates have risen 19 times, faster than the rate of inflation, homeowners’ rates are higher than the national average, and prices are almost unaffordable, especially on the coast and for inexperienced drivers. As Insurance Commissioner, I will be an advocate for the people of NC, to ensure that they don’t pay one penny more than necessary for insurance. I’ll do this by holding full public hearings like the previous Insurance Commissioners (Wayne Goodwin and Jim Long) did, to force insurance companies to justify under oath any increased prices, and I’ll cross-examine their evidence. I’ll root out insurance fraud because it increases the costs for honest policyholders. I’ll keep my focus on serving the people, not making private deals with insurance companies to increase their profits and foster a vibrant marketplace of insurance options, so rates stay low through healthy competition and smart regulation.Also, I understand the costly impacts of climate change, especially on our coastal communities, and will work to mitigate those impacts and incentivize resiliency efforts, instead of going along with those who deny these realities.

How will you use your office to protect residents from large insurance hikes?-There are several powers granted to the Commissioner of Insurance to protect NC consumers from large insurance hikes. The current Commissioner is not using those powers to represent the people and, as a result, the rates have increased an unprecedented number of times, faster than the rate of inflation. His main failure has been his refusal to hold full public hearings before allowing insurance companies to raise their rates. I will bring back the hearings, force insurance companies to disclose under oath what their real profits and salaries are, and provide independent evidence to dispute rate hikes as prepared by the professionals at the Dept of Insurance. Only after a full public vetting, will I set a new rate. Remember, that we must foster a vibrant insurance marketplace so consumers have options and companies continue to offer policies here, so I won’t deny every rate increase. Instead, I will ensure the process is transparent and the rates don’t go up one penny higher than necessary. I will also protect citizens from insurance hikes by mitigating the impacts of climate change, reducing fraudulent claims, and recruiting more quality insurance companies to do business in our state.

Do you agree with the General Assembly’s move stripping fire marshal responsibilities from the insurance commissioner?-Historically, it made sense to combine the jobs into one position since both roles are positions of public trust and safety. Insurance and fire safety are closely connected. That said, there are good reasons to have an independent, professional firefighter as State Fire Marshal now. Although the timing and political motivation for the change were unfortunate, the end result seems agreeable to the firefighters I’ve spoken with, who are most impacted, and I trust their judgment.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-I am the only candidate in the Democratic primary who has won an election, held public office or served the public in any role. As a three-term state Senator, I have deep knowledge of how state government works and the key players, which experience our previous Insurance Commissioner also had and which is critical for this position on the Council of State. I am also the only one who has the legal skills to hold public hearings on rate hike requests and cross-examine the insurance companies. Unlike my opponent, I am running a positive, grassroots-funded campaign, have shown consistency in my ability to represent the people’s best interests, and am well-positioned to defeat the incumbent in November. Finally, I have earned every one of the available endorsements in this race which my opponent and I have both sought, including the AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, People’s Alliance, BPC, George Simkins, Lillian’s List and more. See my growing list of endorsements and other info at NatashaMarcus.com.

David Wheeler

What is your occupation? President, American Muckrakers

Why are you running? My primary motivation for running is to re-focus DOI on the people of North Carolina. The current Commissioner, Rate Hike Mike, has created as many problems as there are trees in Western NC. I want to re-focus the office on keeping rates down, get refunds for past rate increases that were not supported by data, rid the office of its ugly racist past, and treat everyone fairly. During my adult life, I’ve been a paralegal focused on helping the poor with greedy insurance companies and I’ve started and led organizations from 5 staff to being SVP of a publicly traded company division of 1,500 employees. I was Chairman of a non-profit company that is providing free telemedicine and mental health services to kids in schools in 12 rural counties and prisons in 3 counties. I helped my rural county get more than 2,500 people on high-speed internet by working with Duke Energy. I enjoy a big challenge and have produced the first marathon in Antarctica, helped elect Jimmy Carter in 1976 at 10 years old was on the advance team to help then-Senator Obama, and was an early supporter of President Biden. I’m also a lifelong Democrat and was on the Young Dems National Committee in my twenties. While my opponent grew up in a family electing Republicans in NY, I grew up with a family electing Democrats.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? INSURANCE RATES: Due to the rapidly rising insurance rates, many low-income, young, people of color, rural, and elderly North Carolinians are being driven from their homes. This is not acceptable. DOI must lead the effort to find a way to help these individuals either by giving them some breathing room to catch up on past due amounts, providing grants to pay their insurance costs, or helping them move to suitable new homes without the threat of foreclosure or forced removal. If we do not get a handle on all insurance policy rates, then this problem is going to spread rapidly to others. It is essential the next Commissioner of DOI address this problem head-on, meet with and listen to those affected, provide a solution, and get funding to help these folks. Combine these ridiculous rate increases with climate change and we have a volatile mix. One medium or big hurricane hits NC and we’re looking at the same mess Florida is in related to insurance. We do not want what Florida has created. This is truly a ticking time bomb.

How will you use your office to protect residents from large insurance hikes? By saying NO when the insurance company doesn’t provide a reason for the rate hikes. My team and I will evaluate the rate hike requests in an open public setting and stream online so the press and consumers can hear about how my team and I make a decision. I will always represent the people, not insurance companies.

Do you agree with the General Assembly’s move to strip fire marshal responsibilities from the insurance commissioner? Yes. Rate Hike Mike Causey was playing politics with the State Fire Marshal’s office and the GOP did the right thing. There is no room for politics when it comes to the safety of North Carolinians and training for firefighters. I’ve had several discussions with the State Fire Marshal, Mr. Brian Taylor, and his Deputy, Mr. Mike Williams. Both of them and their team are professional firefighters and perfectly suited to managing OFSM free from politics. Brian and Mike are good men who care deeply about NC and ensuring our firefighters get the resources they need to protect all of us. For once in a long time, I agree with the GOP and they did the right thing by taking away OSFM from Causey. You’ll get that bi-partisan attitude when you elect me Commissioner.

What sets you apart from your opponent? Over the 365 days, I’ve been listening and learning to thousands of people, firefighters, EMTs, insurance agents, DOI employees past and present, bail bondsmen/women, and other stakeholders of DOI all across NC. I’ve participated in more than 100 events. This has given me the most valuable information I could get: real advice from real people. I have taken those discussions, along with my ideas, and put them into a plan. I’ve also assembled a first-rate professional team of current and past DOI employees and new people to lead beginning Jan 1, 2025. I’ve also worked for myself since I was 22 and don’t want to be a career politician. I’m going to work for the people and not to be Governor someday. My opponent, a Senator from one of the wealthiest districts in NC, got into the race a month ago. Rather than fight in a new district, the Senator filed for this position. The Senator has not developed a plan for DOI, and has not assembled a team to run DOI. Nothing against lawyers, but do we need another politician lawyer running an important agency in Raleigh? You can decide for yourself who is better prepared: WheelerNC.com/plan.

Republican candidates:

C. Robert Brawley

What is your occupation? Insurance Agent

Why are you running? The current commissioner has lost control of the rating process by allowing CTR (consent to rate) meaning if the company bills you you pay it. Then the rate approved by the commissioner means nothing. At a time when carriers are reporting record profits (Wall Street Journal Jan 25, 2024) why is the commissioner supporting the opportunity for companies to charge 2.5 times what he sets as the maximum rate? And the fraud and corruption within NCDOI is extraordinary. People in the insurance business are not properly licensed, and nothing is done by NCDOI. $1,000,000 plus fraud case by an agent, NCDOI nothing was done. Bail bondsman takes a person’s home because of a $10,000 forfeiture, totally illegal but NCDOI does nothing. The list goes on such as hiring friends with high salaries but the friends get paid to do nothing. or $44.00 per hour to drive the commissioner around ...ETC.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? Insurance rates, start by requiring that the insurance laws be applied as intended and enforced by NCDOI. With the companies making record profits, I am not worried about them leaving the state and may even encourage them to leave if they charge excessive rates.

How will you use your office to protect residents from large insurance hikes? By proper business management, look at the carrier risks vrs rewards and balance that with the costs to the customer.

Do you agree with the General Assembly’s move to strip fire marshal responsibilities from the insurance commissioner? Yes, both jobs are extremely important to the citizens of North Carolina and require attention from a dedicated professional.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I am the only candidate who has, according to NCDOI, had an insurance license for more than four years. I have been a lifetime insurance professional, and always served on the insurance committee in public service. I have been tested by the military and retired as a commander. I have been tested by the public when as a Republican I served 20 years in the NC House with Iredell County registered 65% Democrat when I was first elected.

Andrew Marcus

What is your occupation? I am a former prosecutor and a former insurance regulator. I have experience going toe-to-toe with some of the largest corporations on the planet. I am now a lawyer in the private sector and have represented all sides in insurance – policyholders, small businesses, doctors, agents, hospitals, and insurers. I am not a career politician and I bring a unique perspective to the office and can get started on day one to fight for you.

Why are you running? I am running because someone needs to fight for North Carolinians, not for their own petty political interests. Our current commissioner has multiple leadership failures. He has played political games with the good people in the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The current Commissioner has paid his own political allies for make-work jobs. Meanwhile, our auto and homeowner’s insurance have increased faster than the rate of inflation. We need a change in the office.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? We need a commissioner who is focused on keeping more money in your pocket. North Carolina’s home and auto insurance rates have increased more than inflation. I’ll fight for better rates, especially for those hardest hit. As a former prosecutor, I’ll stand up for ratepayers and root out the fraud and abuse. I’ll also fight to expand the market to increase competition.

How will you use your office to protect residents from large insurance hikes? I will bring transparency and accountability back to the office. I will require the insurance industry to publicly justify their rate requests in public hearings. I will also work to pass legislation that brings innovative solutions to our problems. For the last seven years, our current commissioner has never held a rate hearing and has been reactive, not proactive.

Do you agree with the General Assembly’s move stripping fire marshal responsibilities from the insurance commissioner? Politicians don’t understand the challenges facing those who put their lives on the line every day. I believe the State Fire Marshal should be a career firefighter who is familiar with the needs of firefighters, and the Insurance Commissioner should work with the State Fire Marshal to advocate effectively together.

What sets you apart from your opponent? The current commissioner should have stood up for policyholders all along but he’s failed us and our rates have increased more than inflation. He hasn’t held a public rate hearing in seven years because he’s been out to lunch and all too happy to settle with the insurance industry behind closed doors. He’s also brought petty, divisive politics into the office and treated it as his own personal, political slush fund.

Did not respond:

Mike Causey


Republican candidates:

Did not respond:

Steve Troxler

Colby Hammonds


Republican candidates:

Travis Wilson

What is your occupation? Grocery stocker

Why are you running? As a grocery stocker and former janitor I’m the kind of person the Department of Labor was created for and have an understanding of its real-life impacts.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? There is a gap between the residents of the state and those who make decisions. The Council of State (of which the Labor Commissioner is a member) should support recent efforts to make the state board of education an elected position rather than an appointed one. The Labor Commissioner, in his own right, should withdraw the proposed regulation requiring businesses to put together an Exposure Control Plan which would rely on outside entities for definitions and training materials.

How will you use your office to ensure workplace and worker safety? Scheduling of safety inspections should be reviewed to assure proper prioritization of sites to be reviewed and the allocation of the requisite resources. Once that has been achieved and if staffing is still considered to be insufficient, then efforts should be made to increase recruitment levels.

Will you put your photo on elevator inspection certificates? No, it makes more sense to place the photo on the worker’s rights posters that are often placed in break rooms.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I am the only laborer running for Commissioner of Labor.

Luke Farley

Luke Farley

What is your occupation? Construction and OSHA lawyer representing small businesses.

Why are you running? To make North Carolina the safest place to work and the best place to do business.

What is the most important issue facing our state and how do you plan to address it? The most important issue is ensuring we have a prosperous economic future for every corner of our state. The Labor Department can be North Carolina’s secret wepaon for economic development. If our labor and employment laws are enforced in a way that protects workers without bankruptcing businesses, it will create a positive regulatory environment and encourage companies to expand or relocate their operations to our state. This will create the jobs we need.

How will you use your office to ensure workplace and worker safety? The number one job of the Labor Commissioner is to keep workers safe and healthy. But we can’t inspect our way to safety–there just aren’t enough inspectors. Instead, the Labor Department should focus on inspecting willful and repeat violators and helping small businesses comply with the law. Our small businesses are struggling and need all the help they can get.

Will you put your photo on elevator inspection certificates? Yes, I was the first candidate to state unequivocally I would bring the picture back. Former Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, who has endorsed me in this race, started the tradition and North Carolinians expect to see it continue. The Labor Commissioner’s picture (and signature) help ensure accountability.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I’m the only candidate in this race--Republican or Democrat--with professional experience with the laws and regulations enforced by the Labor Department. Labor Commissioner is a technical position running a regulatory agency. There is no better experience for leading the department than working with the laws the department enforces and standing shoulder to shoulder with small businesses against government regulators.

NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 6

Allison Riggs (D)

What is your occupation?-NC Supreme Court Associate Justice.

Why are you running?-Gov. Cooper appointed me to the Supreme Court and I’m running to keep my seat because I have a track record of defending the constitution and we need more judges with that record. As a longtime litigator, I know the importance of having justice-minded, intellectually-rigorous judges on the bench. I’m well-versed in appellate practice and the structural challenges in the appeals process. I seek to deliver on the promise of equal justice under law for every North Carolinian - without fear or favor. In my current service on the Supreme Court and my past service on the Court of Appeals, I have treated every party that appears before me with dignity and respect and have worked diligently to ensure that our judicial system serves every North Carolinian. As a longtime civil rights attorney, my record demonstrates without question my commitment to our constitution and the protections it provides for the people of this state. I hope to continue doing this work and defending the Constitution if elected.

In your experience, how is the raise the age law impacting North Carolina? Are you in favor or against it?-The North Carolina General Assembly adopted the “raise the age” law effective December 2019. It is the law and I am a judge sworn to uphold the law. In my civil rights practice, I saw the ways in which neither public safety nor society were well-served by too many juveniles in the adult criminal justice system. I think that because the law’s implementation coincided with the COVID-19 epidemic, the full analysis of the law, where it has achieved its intended purposes and where it has not, is still ongoing.

What do you believe the state’s role is in abortion access for women?-The North Carolina Supreme Court has not yet been presented with the opportunity to address North Carolinians’ constitutional rights with respect to reproductive health care. Under North Carolina’s judicial ethics canons, I must take care not to prejudge a case that could very likely come before me on the Court. What I can say is that I am the only woman of childbearing age on the North Carolina Supreme Court (or any of its appellate courts). I had only been married a little over a year when I was appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, so we are still in our family-planning stage of life. I think having courts with a diverse set of perspectives like I bring is a benefit in any constitutional analysis.

How do you feel about the selective nature with which some counties prosecute marijuana violations? Do changes need to be made at a higher level?-The Governor created the Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice (“TREC”) in 2020, and since then, that broad set of stakeholders, co-led by NC Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Anita Earls, has recommended the deprioritization of marijuana-related arrests and prosecutions. The Task Force identified this as an area for local implementation. In its most recent update (2023) on progress made toward its recommendations, TREC has identified this as an area where partial success has been attained. TREC’s recommendations and progress tracking are underpinned by immense and thoughtful research and would be very helpful in informing state.

Lora Cubbage (D)

What is your occupation? -Superior Court Judge.

Why are you running?-I have an unwavering commitment to ensuring that every individual, regardless of background or status receives equal treatment under the law. I want to use my position on the Supreme Court to work towards a more just and equitable society. Another reason for my candidacy is my 18 years of expertise and experience in the legal field and 8 years serving on the District and Superior Courts. I have spent years studying and practicing law, gaining a deep understanding of the legal system, handling complex cases, and a proven track record of making sound legal judgments. I am dedicated to the Constitutional principles. I firmly believe in the importance of interpreting the Constitution in a way that respects its original intent while also adapting to the changing needs of our society. I believe I can contribute effectively to the Supreme Court and help shape legal decisions for the betterment of our society.

In your experience, how is the raise the age law impacting North Carolina? Are you in favor or against it?-Raise the age law recognizes the developmental differences between adolescents and adults and aims to provide more appropriate rehabilitation services and support for young offenders. Additionally, this includes more funding for services to include juvenile court counselors, and community-based programs to address the needs of the newly included age groups. Moreover, the law allows for the expungement of certain non-violent offenses committed by individuals before the age of 18. This provides young offenders with the opportunity to have a clean slate once completed with court requirements. The challenges have been increased caseloads, training for law enforcment and court personnel. Overall, the law aims to provide more of a holistic approach to dealing with young offenders and I am in favor of the law. I was a big proponent of Raise the Age because it recognizes the potential for rehabilitation and reintegration into society for the new age groups while still holding them accountable for their actions.

What do you believe the state’s role is in abortion access for women?-I value the ability to have safe and legal access to healthcare needs including reproductive needs. The state’s interference with or restriction of a woman’s access to healthcare severs the autonomy ove her body that I and many other women value. The state’s role should be more focused on ensuring access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare, without unnecessary barriers even if that need is abortion.

How do you feel about the selective nature with which some counties prosecute marijuana violations? Do changes need to be made at a higher level?-I understand the autonomy of each individual District Attorney to make their own decisions about whether or not to prosecute marijuans violations. Additionally, law enforcement officers have varying levels of tolerance towards marijuana use which could be a result of priorities of crime and man power. Nevertheless, marijuana is still illegal in NC. The selective nature of marijuana prosecutions raises questions about equity and consistency in the criminal justice system. A uniform approach to marijuana laws and enforcement may be needed in NC.

What role should partisanship play in a judge’s decision making? How will it impact the decisions you make if elected?-The judiciary is no place for partisan politics. Party lines will not impact how I rule, because my commitment to the people that elect me is always to be cognizant that my primary duty is to uphold the law and administer justice impartially. It is essential to set aside personal and partisan biases and make decisions based on the facts of each case and the applicable law and as a Supreme Court justice is to determine whether the trial court judge committed an error. Striving for impartiality and demonstrating a commitment to fairness and justice can help mitigate the appearance of playing partisan politics on the bench.

What separates you from your opponent?-My judicial knowledge separates me from my opponent having 18 years in the trial courts. I have an in-depth understanding of the legal system, court procedures and the application of law because I have been serving on both District and Superior courts for 8 years. I have firsthand experience presiding over cases, making rulings and interpreting and applying legal principles. My knowledge allows me to navigate complex legal issues and make informed decisions including the cases involving redistricting and voting issues. The cases handled in the trial courts are the cases that the Supreme Court reviews. I have familiarity with the courtroom. I have experience managing court proceedings, ensuring fairness, and maintaining decorum. My opponent has not served as a trial court judged and lacks this familiarity which is necesary and needed on the Supreme Court. My experience serving as a judge for the last 8 years equips me with the ability to make sound legal decisions based on the facts and the law. Serving as a trial judge requires a strong judicial temperament, including fairness, impartiality and respect for the rule of law. My track record as a judge demonstrates my commitment to upholding these principles. Voters can have confidence in my ability to approach cases with an unbiased and unique perspective. None of the current Supreme Court Justices have served as a trial judge and that is what is critically needed on the Supreme Court, I am the only candidate that can bring that. I also have experienced many of the same issues that are involved in the cases. I am able to understand what the litigants in the case was dealin with because I have been in many of the same situations. It is always great for a Justice to have life experience and legal experience and expertise as I am able to look ak cases from a holistic perspective.

NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 15

Hunter Murphy (R)

What is your occupation?-I am a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Why are you running?-I love to help people, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve all North Carolinians during my time on our Court of Appeals. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue serving another term. Our appellate courts require that judges be thoughtful scholars, passionate about the law, and diligent stewards of our jurisprudence. One of the great things about this job is that my body of work is transparent; my legal reasoning is on the page for you to read, and I believe my opinions, concurrences, and dissents are testaments to my having upheld these standards. As a husband and father of teenage twins, I understand my duties are twofold: first and foremost, to maintain the rule of law and the integrity of the judiciary for this generation and future ones; and, second, to be the judge that I would want hearing my case, my wife’s, or my children’s if they were in the parties’ shoes. I believe you would want no less for yourself or your family.

In your experience, how is the raise the age law impacting North Carolina? Are you in favor or against it?-I cannot comment on issues that may come before our Court.

What do you believe the state’s role is in abortion access for women?-I cannot comment on issues that may come before our Court.

How do you feel about the selective nature with which some counties prosecute marijuana violations? Do changes need to be made at a higher level?- I cannot comment on issues that may come before our Court.

What role should partisanship play in a judge’s decision-making?-None. How will it impact the decisions you make if elected? It never has and it never will.

What separates you from your opponent?- I do not know my opponent and have only spoken with him for a total of 15 seconds. As a result, I can only comment on myself and why I am running. I attended the University of North Carolina where I double majored in Economics and Religion. I received my Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific. Then, I began my career as a general practitioner in Western North Carolina—a small-town attorney. In 2016, the people of North Carolina elected me to serve as a judge on our Court of Appeals

Did not respond:

Jon Hardister

Chuck Stanley

The North Carolina primary election is set for March 5. You can find a voting location near you by clicking this link.

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