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Who are the candidates on the NC primary ballot for Super Tuesday?

<p>Clockwise from top left: Sen. Thom Tillis, Gov. Roy Cooper, Rep. David Price and state Sen. Erica Smith.</p>

Clockwise from top left: Sen. Thom Tillis, Gov. Roy Cooper, Rep. David Price and state Sen. Erica Smith.

North Carolina may be a presidential battleground state, but the U.S. senatorial, congressional and state races are shaping up to be battles of their own.

Early voting and same-day voter registration for the N.C. primaries has started on campus in Brodhead 068 and will end Feb. 29. 

Aside from the presidency, here’s who you may be voting for at the North Carolina primary March 3, and what their responsibilities will be if elected.

U.S. Senate

Republicans currently hold 53 seats in the 100-seat chamber, but that may change in the upcoming election. North Carolina’s senate races have been among the most contested in the country the past few election cycles. In 2014, when incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis defeated then-incumbent Kay Hagan, the N.C. race was the most expensive senate race in the country. Tillis will be back on the ballot in 2020.

Republican ballot against incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis: 

  • Larry Holmquis, businessman
  • Sharon Hudson, small business owner
  • Paul Wright, former N.C. Superior Court Judge

Democratic ballot: 

  • Erica Smith, state Senator
  • Cal Cunningham, former state Senator
  • Trevor Fuller, Mecklenburg County Commissioner 
  • Atul Goel, retired Air Force Lt. Col. 
  • Steve Swenson, Bunnlevel native 

Smith, Cunningham and Fuller—the three Democratic frontrunners—each have slightly different stances on health care, according to the News and Observer

While Fuller supports moving toward Medicare For All and views the Affordable Care Act as the first step toward that goal, Smith’s focus would be on improving and implementing the ACA. Cunningham’s website states that he wants to expand the ACA and Medicaid, while protecting employer-sponsored coverage. 

U.S. House of Representatives

Durham is split by the 1st and 4th Congressional Districts.

In North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, incumbent Democrat G.K. Butterfield will remain the party’s nominee. 

Republican ballot for 1st Congressional District: 

  • Sandy Smith, family business owner 
  • Ethan Baca, small business owner
  • Michele Nix, former Vice Chairwoman of the N.C. Republican Party

Incumbent Democrat David Price of the 4th Congressional District will appear on the Democratic ballot alongside web designer Daniel Ulysses Lockwood.

Republican ballot for 4th Congressional District:

  • Robert Thomas, attorney 
  • Steve Loor, small business owner 
  • Debesh Sakar, N.C. Department of Transportation employee
  • Nasir Shaikh, Conservative Commandos Radio Network host


Democrat and Army veteran Ernest Reeves is challenging incumbent Democrat Roy Cooper for the state’s highest-ranking office.

On the Republican side, N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and N.C. House Rep. Holly Grange are hoping to become the state’s chief executive.

Forest was a strong supporter of the controversial House Bill 2—commonly known as the “bathroom bill” —which required people to use the bathrooms that correspond to the gender indicated on their birth certificate. Meanwhile, Grange co-sponsored HB186, which would have essentially limited the law to public facilities. 

Ultimately, Cooper signed HB142, which repealed HB2 but still drew criticism from those who saw the new bill as allowing discrimination against transgender people, according to CNN

Lieutenant Governor

With incumbent Dan Forest moving on to the gubernatorial race, the next lieutenant governor—who will lead the state senate and assume governorship in the case that the governor cannot serve—could be anyone, and the competition is crowded.

Republican ballot: 

  • John Ritter, attorney 
  • Scott Stone, former state representative
  • Andy Wells, state senator
  • Buddy Bengel, entrepreneur 
  • Deborah Cochran, former Mount Airy Mayor 
  • Renee Ellmers, former U.S. representative 
  • Greg Gebhardt, N.C. National Guard executive officer 
  • Mark Johnson, state superintendent of public instruction 
  • Mark Robinson, former medical specialist in the Army Reserves

Democratic ballot:

  • Allen Thomas, Hoke County Commissioner 
  • Bill Toole, attorney
  • Terry Van Duyn, state Senator
  • Chaz Beasley, state representative
  • Yvonne Holley, state representative 
  • Ron Newton, Durham Police Department investigator 

Secretary of State

Incumbent Democrat Elaine Marshall—whose job includes approving new businesses and nonprofit corporations, supporting economic growth and maintaining state records—is challenged by three Republicans. Marshall was elected to her sixth term as secretary of state in 2016.

Republican ballot:

  • Chad Brown, Gaston County Commissioner 
  • Eslie “E.C.” Sykes, engineering manager
  • Michael LaPaglia, entrepreneur 

State Auditor

Incumbent Democrat Beth Wood is the chief accountant and is in charge of reviewing the state agencies’ financial records and monitoring how tax dollars are spent.

Democrat Luis Toledo, former assistant state auditor, is the only Democrat competing against her for those responsibilities. Two candidates are running on the Republican side: 

  • Anthony Street, Brunswick County Soil and Water Board member 
  • Tim Hoegemeyer, former general counsel to the Office of the State Auditor.


Three Democrats are competing against incumbent Republican Dale Folwell for the opportunity to manage state funds, provide financial assistance to local governments and control the public employee retirement system.

Democratic ballot:

  • Dimple Ajmera, Charlotte City Council member 
  • Ronnie Chatterji, Duke professor in the Fuqua School of Business
  • Matthew Leatherman, former policy director in the Department of State Treasurer

Attorney General

As the state’s “in-house lawyer,” the attorney general provides legal opinions to the legislature or other state officials, and they may bring legal action on behalf of state’s agencies or citizens. Incumbent Democrat Josh Stein is running against three republicans.

Republican ballot:

  • Jim O’Neill, Forsyth County District Attorney
  • Sam Hayes, general counsel for the Department of State Treasurer
  • Christine Mumma, former N.C. Supreme Court clerk
  • Jim O’Neill, Forsyth County district attorney 

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Running for Lt. Gov., incumbent Republican Mark Johnson will be passing on the duty of overseeing the state public school system to one of the seven candidates.

Republicans include state Representative Craig Horn and Catherine Truitt, former education adviser to Gov. Pat McCrory.

Democratic ballot:

  • Keith Sutton, Wake County Board of Education member
  • James Barrett, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools School Board member 
  • Constance Johnson, publisher of CityPolitical Magazine
  • Michael Maher, assistant dean for professional education at N.C. State University 
  • Jen Mangrum, a UNC-Greensboro professor

Labor Commissioner

Republican incumbent Cherie Berry’s photo will soon no longer be in every elevator, as she is retiring after 20 years in office. 

Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, said that the next labor commissioner needs to do a better job of defending worker’s rights and ensuring safe working conditions, criticizing Berry for what she called a “laissez-faire approach.”

Republican ballot:

  • Josh Dobson, state representative
  • Pearl Floyd, former state representative
  • Chuck Stanley, Columbus County construction company manager

None of the candidates have decided whether to follow Berry’s lead and have their photo accompany everyone’s elevator rides, which former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker called “self-promotion by a career politician,” according to the Herald Sun


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