I’ve been writing summaries of all the candidates for the last few elections. This is designed to help voters with “down ballot” choices. As always, if you have feedback, comments or additional thoughts, please add them in the comments, inform others and share this! US President
I generally exclude anything about the two main presidential candidates because most voters have plenty of information on them already. That said, there are 3 independent candidates that will appear on the ballot this year in North Carolina. Back in 2016, independent candidates received about 3% of the vote or 189,000 votes (of which the vast majority went to the Libertarian candidate at the time, Gary Johnson). Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian).
Jorgensen is a southerner with degrees from Clemson and SMU, including a PhD earned in 2002 in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. In North Carolina, she actually finished 6th in the Libertarian primary in March with a total of 267 votes (not a typo). Libertarians generally advocate a very low tax platform. Jorgensen’s website also mentions removing quotas on immigration, reducing sentences for “victimless crimes” and preventing arrested individuals from losing their property before due process. Don Blankenship (Constitution).
Blankenship was the former CEO of Massey Energy, a coal company. Most notably, he was convicted in 2015 of “conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards” which was a result of a mine explosion in 2010 that killed 29 coal miners. A federal judge recommended overturning the conviction in 2019. He has run unsuccessfully for Senate in West Virginia in the past. The Constitution Party general advocates for limited the federal government to what is specifically enumerated in the Constitution. Blankenship believes that citizens “cannot rely on the media for truthful information” and “illogical rulings by judges” are major problems. Howie Hawkins (Green).
Hawkins himself is a former Teamster and his VP is the second black woman, in addition to Kamala Harris, who appears at the top of the ballot this year. The Green Party is a far left party that mentions several issues on its website: $20 minimum wage, reparations for African Americans, and impeaching Trump. On foreign policy issues, it endorses members of its “core campaign team” who camped outside the Venezuelan embassy to protest “the US sponsored coup attempt.”
US Senate Thom Tillis (Republican, Incumbent).
Tillis is the incumbent first elected in 2014. He has stayed within party lines supporting Trump and has advocated anti-abortion issues and some anti-Internet marketplace actions (e.g. anti-counterfeit measures, the SANTA Act which forces more accountability on the part of marketplace sellers). His website now leads with a health and COVID message, including a note on his homepage to “hold China accountable.” He supported Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and “the President’s stance on border security.” Tillis was previously speaker of the NC House. In the House, he supported the 2nd Amendment, anti-abortion initiatives and voter ID efforts. He lives in Huntersville. Tillis and the Republican Party have been running a very aggressive (ie negative and laden with attack ads) campaign to prevent Tillis’ seat from flipping. Cal Cunningham (Democrat).
Cunningham has led one of the most well-funded Senate races in NC as this is a critical state for Democrats but also “flippable” based on a history of NC sometimes electing Democratic Senators due changing urban demographics. On his website, Cunningham leads with “lower cost, accessible health care” and is pro-ACA. He is against “reckless tariffs” that hurt farmers and wants a “more equitable economy and living wage in every community.” On the environment, he would like NC to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to cut carbon and public pollution in half by 2030. He believes investing in wind and solar is the path to best transition the economy. Cunningham also supports a $15 minimum wage. Cunningham talks often about corruption in Washington which he thinks could be overcome with campaign finance reform, fair maps, and “a political system that empowers voters to make their voices heard.” He is anti-dark money and anti-extreme partisan gerrymandering. It also came to light the same weekend the President’s COVID news was revealed that he has been having an affair as “sexual” text messages were discovered (how these came to light is still unclear. It reminds me of the Jeff Bezos sexting scandal which had both hackers and disgruntled individuals involved). Shannon Bray (Libertarian).
Bray’s resume lists that he has a PhD in Computer Science. His website says he works for the Department of Defense but his LinkedIn profile says that his current role is “confidential.” Bray’s primary message on his website is about privacy (“Who is keeping your private information safe?”) Other issues he explicitly lists are “endless wars,” “data privacy,” “homeland and cybersecurity, “ “veterans affairs” (he served in the Navy), “smart technology” and “home and health care.” He agrees that “the cost of health care has become ridiculous” and says that “tort reform” is key to improving health care quality. Kevin Hayes (Constitution).
Hayes has “15 years experience in the IT industry.” Hayes says that he is anti-federal government in education (which usually means a person is anti-Common Core, but he doesn’t provide any thoughts on how to make up the shortcoming in funds if federal education dollars disappeared). He has run for office before (US House of Representatives at least twice) and it appears that he hasn’t won an office before. The Constitution Party is a far right party which focuses on social versus economic issues and espouses many of the same issues as the Republican Party. It leads with the “sanctity of life,” “religious freedom” and “traditional family.”
US House of Representatives, District 9
This district had lots of issues as it was the Dan McCready-Mark Harris district from 2018 (neither of those candidates won the House seat as Dan Bishop ultimately won in a special election). The respected Cook Political Report has this district as “likely Republican.” Cynthia Wallace (Democrat).
Wallace was the chair of NC Democratic party District 9. Wallace embraces a classic Democratic platform: “good paying jobs,” “affordable healthcare,” “reduced gender pay gap,” “high quality public education,” “improved critical infrastructure” (including roads and Internet). There is actually very little detail beyond a handful of pages on her website. As a new candidate, she won 56% of the vote in the March 2020 primary. She has been vastly outraised financially and we’ve heard little about this race compared to when Dan McCready ran 2 years ago (McCready raised at least $6MM in that race). Dan Bishop (Republican, Incumbent).
Bishop is a reliably conservative politician who was an NC state senator, NC house of representatives member and a county commissioner for years. He won the special election against Dan McCready in 2019 after the state Board of Elections would not certify Mark Harris. Bishop is known for being the “architect of HB2” which is still on the books in NC (in addition to being an anti-transgender bill also prohibits cities like Charlotte from raising its minimum wage). He is unabashedly conservative, against “dangerous sanctuary city policy” and for “expanded school choice” and pro-2nd Amendment. His websites usually also always cite his pro-life stance. He also talks about low taxes and limited government spending.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (Democrat, Incumbent).
Cooper is the incumbent Governor who has served since 2017. He supports pay increases for teachers which stagnated under Republican governors. Education support has a major milestone under Cooper’s leadership. He has been in NC politics for years having served 4 terms as Attorney General. He lists a number of issues on his website ranging from education and the environment to jobs, infrastructure and disaster recovery. Morning Consult’s weekly surveys say that he has a 47% approval rating which is about 30th compared to all 50 states. That figure has fluctuated and has been as high as 59% even as recently as July. Dan Forest (Republican).
Forest is an architect by training. He has served for two terms as the Lieutenant Governor (2 terms max is what the NC Constitution allows). He is also a very conservative candidate: he supports school choice, was pro HB2 (the anti-transgender bill), has voted against climate change legislation and is anti-gun control. If there is such a thing as Charlotte royalty, Forest is it: he is the son of Sue Myrick, the Congresswoman from District 9 from 1995-2013 and former Charlotte mayor. Forest is reported to have received $2.4 million from a donor who was recently sentenced to 7 years in prison for trying to bribe the insurance commissioner (Mike Causey, who is also on the ballot). Forest has also recently sued Roy Cooper because he disagreed with the Governor’s coronavirus response, a lawsuit which he dropped when a judge ruled against him because he “didn’t have a winning legal argument.” The Observer described his anti-mask stance as “reckless, polarizing and uncaring.” Al Pisano (Constitution).
Pisano is a Pennsylvania native and former CMPD police officer. After incidents like the Oklahoma City bombing he felt that “both parties lacked the Constitutional perspective.” He supports “alternative means of education” like trade schools and homeschooling, eliminating the personal income tax, and not forcing citizens to buy health insurance. He also has a very extreme view of the 2nd Amendment (he thinks that Red Flag laws that “criminalize mental illness” are bad). Steven DiFiore (Libertarian).
DiFiore is a relatively young UNCC graduate (he appears to be around 34). It is unclear if he currently has a job. Online searches reveal that he was a “lighting controls specialist” in his past and is now the recording secretary for Mecklenburg Country’s Libertarian Party. He leads with a COVID-19 message on his website with a focus on reopening the state, and reducing taxes and liabilities for businesses. His key issues appear to be education (he supports more charter schools), a focus on mental healthcare, and deregulating ABC stores to support the brewing and distilling industry in the state. He ran for Charlotte City Council in 2017 and lost.
NC Lieutentant Governor
This is an understandably less scrutinized race than governor as the role has less responsibility (even though the salary, $125k, is almost as much as the Governor’s). This role is like the Vice President: it is 2nd in line to the governorship, and it presides over the NC Senate. Both candidates for this role are Black and this would be the first time in North Carolina history that the role would be held by a Black official. The candidates are: Yvonne Lewis Holley (Democrat).
Holley is from Wake County and has worked during her house tenure (which is now over 7 years) to relieve food deserts. Her key initiative includes the “affordable living initiative” which focuses on affordable and attainable housing, affordable and healthy food, economic and workforce development, transportation, and public education. Since the March primary she has also added criminal justice reform and gun legislation to her website. While many of these sound like issues that city councils may be better equipped to handle than the Lieutenant Governor (given the Lt Gov’s limited role), the issues are critical ones. Holley was endorsed by the Charlotte Observer, the Sierra Club and the NC State AFL-CIO. Mark Robinson (Republican).
Robinson has little political experience and was a surprise winner in the Republican primary in March. He served in the Army reserves and held a number of different jobs as a factory and restaurant shift worker. His claim to fame is that he gave an impassioned speech about conservatism in which he advocated for citizens to own guns to the Greensboro City Council in April 2018. That speech made its way to YouTube and was well-received by conservatives as he critiqued the “loonies on the left.” His platform now is in line with Republicans: anti-abortion, pro-gun control, anti-“indoctrination in schools”, and pro-law enforcement.
NC Attorney General
The NC Attorney General is the top law enforcement officer and top lawyer of the state. According to the NC Department of Justice website, “the Attorney General oversees criminal appeals from state courts to ensure that criminals are kept behind bars and innocent people are not. [The role] also ensures that consumers are protected by going after scam artists and corporate bad actors.” Josh Stein (Democrat, Incumbent).
Stein has been the Attorney General of NC since 2017. For 7 years prior to that he was a state senator and he worked in the Attorney General’s office before that. His key priorities cited on his website are promoting public safety, protecting consumers and seniors, preserving clean air and water and protecting healthcare including the Affordable Care Act. While his website doesn’t state it, the NC Attorney General’s office has also joined in the broad antitrust investigations that many states are undertaking now into Google, Facebook and others. Stein has been endorsed by the Observer, the AFL-CIO, Governor Roy Cooper and Planned Parenthood NC. Jim O’Neill (Republican).
O’Neill served as Forsyth County District Attorney since 2009. He ran for NC District Attorney in 2016 and lost the primary. His website is very minimalist now but he has said in the past he will address the backlog of sexual assault kits that are with the state (his opponent is accusing him in ads that Forsyth County now has a huge backlog). He supports federal immigration policy (he supports ICE) and does not support sanctuary cities, and he says he will fight the opioid crisis. He is also an advocate of the death penalty.
This role has oversight for the accounting and financial functions of the state. It also acts as a watchdog over state agencies so it requires candidates with strong accounting skills. Beth Wood (Democrat, Incumbent).
Wood is running for her 4th term as the state auditor (she’s been in the role since 2009). She has been in the role for years and appears to be well-regarded. She has a degree in accounting and is a CPA. She has a reputation of doing her job well and the Observer has endorsed her. On her website, she says she’s saved the NC millions of dollars by auditing things like prison medical billing and employee reviews. She has introduced data analytics into the office in order to more quickly find dollars at risk. Tony Street (Republican).
Street is from Brunswick County (east coast, Wilmington area) and has worked in nuclear security and commercial fishing and has operated a small business. He says he has a master’s in public administration from UNC Pembroke. He also has a criminal record having served 6 months probation for stalking. He says he wants ensure voters know how their money is spent but it is not clear that he has any accounting qualifications which seem to be essential to executing this role. He describes himself on his website as a “fiscal, moral and social conservative.”
NC Commissioner of Agriculture
This role exists to find “new markets” for NC farm products, preserve working farms and protect the state’s food supply. The role is currently held by a Republican and is elected every 4 years. This role also manages weights and measures, gas and oil inspection and operates the NC State Fair and state farmers markets. The salary is $125k. Steve Troxler (Republican, Incumbent).
Troxler has been in this role since 2005. His website leads with commentary denouncing Jenna Wadsworth, his opponent, wishing that “God would change her heart” (she posted a TikTok video that was critical of Trump). His plan for the future includes keeping the food supply abundant, keeping the food supply safe and maintaining healthy forests and conservation. He was endorsed by the Charlotte Observer. Jenna Wadsworth (Democrat).
Wadsworth was elected to be the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors while she was still in college. She is in her early 30s now. She is from the Triangle area, having attended North Carolina School of Science and Math for high school and NC State for college. She grew up on a farm and her key issues are farmland preservation, not just “writing relief checks.” She supports hemp and cannabis as new crops and is endorsed by NC AFL-CIO and NC Sierra Club. . ”Wadsworth is young and received kudos in a Charlotte Observer op-ed for being passionate about agriculture. But while the Observer was complimentary about her ideas and energy, it gave its endorsement to the incumbent Troxler because of his long-standing relationship with farmers, which it felt was important due to agriculture’s role in NC’s economy.
NC Commissioner of Insurance
This role regulates the insurance industry in North Carolina, licenses insurance professionals, educations customers about insurance and handles customer complaints about insurance. The salary is $125k. Mike Causey (Republican, Incumbent).
Causey is the incumbent and the State Fire Marshal. He’s an Army veteran and worked in the insurance industry for 25 years. His website says his “goal as commissioner is to fight for more competition in the industry and to combat insurance fraud to drive rates lower for the North Carolina consumer. He is also passionate about making the office more consumer-friendly to help residents attain their insurance needs.” Causey is currently embroiled in the same scandal as Dan Forest who is accused of accepting funds from a wealthy donor who is now accused of bribery. Causey was evidently an FBI informant in that case. Wayne Goodwin (Democrat).
Goodwin is a native North Carolinian and was the former Insurance Commissioner (elected in both 2008 and 2012 but was defeated by Mike Causey in 2016). He is also currently the chair of the state Democratic party. He says that during his tenure as insurance commissioner, NC residents had the lowest auto insurance rates in the country but that is no longer the case. He calls his opponent “#RateHikeMike.”
NC Commissioner of Labor
This winner of this position will have their photo on every elevator in NC. The current commissioner, Cherie Berry has had a reputation of being soft on employers who violate labor laws. This position also does a number of other important as well things like inspect amusement park rides and investigate employment discrimination. Josh Dobson (Republican).
Dobson is currently a state representative and also a former county commissioner. He appears to have raised more money in this race than his opponents. He also doesn’t think this role should be “on a crusade” to prosecute businesses. He has the endorsement of NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and NC Congressman Mark Meadows. Jessica Holmes (Democrat).
Holmes was elected to the Wake County Board of Commissioners in her 20s. She is a native North Carolinian and a first generation college graduate. She considers herself a "worker's advocate." It’s important to note that if Holmes and Holley are elected, there would be 2 Black women who are senior in the NC “Council of State” (10 elected state-level positions, including all of the ones on this ballot).
NC Secretary of State
This role is the head the economic and business-related operations of the state. EC Sykes (Republican).
Sykes says he wants to help NC by “bringing transparency and efficiency to our state government with commonsense policies like honoring the rule of law, cutting waste, limiting the size of government, and restoring citizens’ confidence in our government.” His homepage announces that he is “a man of strong faith.” He was a former Ted Cruz campaign volunteer. He does not appear to have any political background but does have a business background. He cites one of his objectives in an Observer interview to “end the practice of allowing illegal aliens to serve as Notaries Public.” Elaine Marshall (Democrat, Incumbent).
Marshall has been the secretary of state for NC since 1996 when she was the first woman elected to the Council of State in NC’s history. She was an NC state senator prior to that. She says that her key accomplishments have been to “cut red tape for entrepreneurs” and “prosecute charities masquerading as charities.” During the pandemic, Marshall said one of the things the office did was to have a 24/7 “online services” to help small businesses get PPP loans. She has also cited cybersecurity (ensuring the office’s data is safe) as a concern in written interviews.
NC Superintendent of Public Education
This person will be a member of the state Board of Education. Catherine Truitt (Republican).
Truitt is a lifelong educator and was an education advisor to Pat McCrory. She is also now the Chancellor of Western Governors University North Carolina. The issues of importance to her are to have qualified teachers in all classrooms, ensure graduates are college and career-ready, and engage public-private partnerships for schools. In the primary, Truitt downplayed her position on vouchers but in this election, she has been more clear that she aligns with the Republican party on this issue and is very pro-voucher. This of course is a position that teacher’s unions and Democrats are against. She does not say anything about reopening schools or safety protocols for schools in the midst of COVID-19. Jen Mangrum (Democrat).
Mangrum is also a longtime educator having been an elementary school teacher for nearly 14 years. She was on the education faculty at NC State where she created the Elementary Education Department there and she is now an Associate Professor at UNC Greensboro. Her key platform elements include expanding funding for classrooms, securing a living wage for personnel and getting spend for digital resources. On her website she shares the findings of a task force she pulled together of teachers giving their recommendations on reopening schools (essentially, a significant amount of funding needed to ensure safety and equity). She is endorsed by the Observer.
The treasurer’s office “manages the state’s retirement system, investments, and unclaimed property and provides financial support to local governments.” This includes pension plans, debt issuance, 401k plans and the state’s disability program. The position is currently held by a Republican and elected every four years. Ronnie Chatterji (Democrat).
Chatterji is an associate professor at Duke’s Business School and previously served as a Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors where he was involved with policies related to “innovation, entrepreurship, infrastructure and economic growth.” He says that climate change is important but it’s unclear how he would change the current investment approach to address that. Many of his tweets include #TheNerdWeNeed. In the March primary, he was endorsed by the AFL-CIO and the NC Association of Educators. Dale Folwell (Republican, Incumbent).
Folwell was a private investor and financial advisor who has served in the NC House and is the current Treasurer of North Carolina. He is endorsed by the Observer though it didn’t provide much detail for why beyond “we think he’s the right fit in this challenging financial climate” in spite of the fact that he hasn’t had much success “pushing for more transparency in hospital pricing.”
NC State Senate District 37
The NC House and Senate have been majority Republican since 2011. They were in Democratic hands for 12 years from 1999 through 2010. This will likely vary for you unless you live in my neighborhood because these lines were redrawn since the 2016 election. To see which district is yours, you can click here
: Jeff Jackson (Democrat, Incumbent).
Jackson is the former assistant DA for Mceklenburg County and has been a state senator since 2014. According to the Charlotte Agenda is “one of the most recognizable politicians in the county.” He cites “ending gerrymandering” as one of his top priorities if elected. To help lower income communities, he says that “criminal justice reform is long overdue.” He is also an advocate of affordable housing and expanding Medicaid. He is one of the few candidates with bilingual links/translations on his website. Sonja Nichols (Republican).
Nichols is the owner of a security firm in Charlotte. She has said in questionnaires that her goals are to be “pro business,” enable “affordable housing and health care” and support “social equity.” She wishes that NC could have manufactured more things needed for COVID-19 like masks and test kits early in the pandemic. She is a Black Republican and “new to politics.” Jeff Scott (Libertarian).
Jeff Scott is relatively new to the North Carolina region and he has run for a number of roles unsuccessfully in the past including US Congressman and City Council. All of his digital footprint now is still from last year’s special election for District 9 (which Dan Bishop won) and there is nothing he has posted for his candidacy now. His old website calls for reform of predatory student lending, to stop “our search for monsters abroad,” and to stop nationalizing health care.
NC House of Representatives District 104 Don Pomeroy (Republican).
Pomeroy appears to be new to politics but cites “30+ years of business, financial and volunteer experience.” He says he was a CPA and then a C-suite executive. He says that he is focused on economic prosperity, job growth and a pro-business, pro-entrepreneurship atmosphere. His website mentions nothing of social issues. He does say that he will fight to bring resources home to meet “transportation, education and public safety needs.” Brandon Lofton (Democrat, Incumbent).
Lofton is a practicing attorney and currently represents District 104. He supports “significant pay increase for teachers” and expanding Medicaid coverage. The main issues on his website are education, healthcare and jobs. Lofton also cites “ending gerrymandering” as a key priority if elected.
NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Seat 1
There are 7 State Supreme Court judges who get 8 year terms. Three are up for election this year. Cheri Beasley (Democrat, Incumbent
). Beasley is currently the Chief Justice and was appointed by Roy Cooper in 2019. She has been a state Supreme Court justice since 2012. She was a public defender in Cumberland County (home of Fayetteville) prior. She is the first black woman to serve as Chief Justice. Paul Newby (Republican).
Newby is currently a justice on the Supreme Court and is running for the Chief Justice role. He says he is the longest-serving Supreme Court justice. He most recently wrote a dissent in a decision that overturned a death penalty sentence.
NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 2 Phil Berger Jr (Republican).
Berger has been on the NC Court of Appeals since 2016 and calls himself a “conservative judge.” He was a District Attorney for Rockingham County for eight years prior to that (it is a rural county north of Greensboro). He says that he is running “to bring balance” to the 6-1 Democratic majority in the Supreme Court. Lucy Inman (Democrat).
Inman has been on the NC Court of Appeals since 2014. She has been a lawyer and judge for 30 years and has “served people in communities large ands small.” She says she wants to keep the system “free from partisan politics.” She started her career as a journalist.
NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 4 Tamara Barringer (Republican).
Barringer is currently a business school professor and was in the NC State Senate. She takes great pride in her child advocacy work where she says she “modernized foster care.” She values a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Mark Davis (Democrat).
Davis has been on the NC Supreme Court since March 2019. He says he believes in “judicial independence” and that he is the first Jewish member of the NC Supreme Court.
NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 4
15 judges sit on Court of Appeals, but only 3 listen to any one case. A third of them (5) are up for election now. Tricia Shields (Democrat).
Shields is currently an attorney in private practice specializing in appellate cases. She has been a lawyer for 35 years. April C Wood (Republican).
Wood has been a district court judge since 2002. She has been a lawyer for 23 years. She describes herself as “constitutional, conservative and common sense.”
NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 5 Lora Christine Cubbage (Democrat).
Cubbage is currently a Superior Court judge. She was an assistant District Attorney and Assistant Attorney General prior. She has been a lawyer for 14 years. Fred Gore (Republican).
Gore is currently a District Court judge has been a lawyer for 12 years. He has served in the military. District Courts usually deal with smaller scale cases than Superior Court which has larger civil cases and all felonies.
NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 6 Gray Styers (Democrat).
Styers is currently a lawyer in private practice. He has been a lawyer for 30 years and says that he is running to “give back to my fellow North Carolinians as a judge.” Chris Dillon (Republican).
Dillon was elected in 2012. In addition to being a lawyer, he has “worked as a licensed real estate broker and community banker.” He has been a lawyer for 30 years.
NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 7 Reuben Young (Democrat).
Young says that he has spent most of his 32 year legal career serving others. He is currently a Appeals Court judge. Jeff Carpenter (Republican).
Carpenter is currently a Superior Court judge and has been a lawyer for 17 years. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he was an NC state trooper for 6 years
NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 13 Chris Brook (Democrat).
Brook is currently an Appeals Court judge (he has been one since 2019). He has 15 years of experience as a lawyer. He has also served as the legal director of NC’s ACLU. Jefferson Griffin (Republican).
Griffin is currently a District Court judge. He has 12 years of experience as a lawyer.
District Courts hear misdemeanor cases, family law cases, juvenile and magistrate matters. They serve 4 year terms. Appears to be at least 70 in Mecklenburg County
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 1 Kimberly Best (Democrat
). Best is running for her 4th term as District Court judge. She was a Spanish teacher before becoming a magistrate which was her first job in the legal world. Pat Finn (Republican).
Finn is an attorney in private practice. He was an assistant District Attorney in Catawba County prior to that.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 2 Aretha Blake (Democrat).
Blake is currently a district court judge for Mecklenburg County. Blake faced a tough primary where she was besmirched by a disgruntled lawyer who ran against her and accused her of taking excessively long to rule on cases.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 3 Jena Culler (Democrat).
Culler has been a District Court judge since 2011.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 4 Donald Cureton Jr. (Democrat).
Cureton was a former District Court judge for 8 years. He received his law degree in 2003.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 5 Faith Fickling-Alvarez (Democrat).
Fickling Alvarez was a former White House intern and member of the Peace Corp. She has been a lawyer for 14 years. She has been a District Court judge since 2018.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 6 Ty Hands (Democrat).
Hands is from Las Vegas but moved to NC for college and is the first in her family to graduate from college. She speaks fluent Spanish and has been a District Court judge for 11 years.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 7 Gary Henderson (Democrat).
Henderson has been a District Court judge since 2013 but he was reprimanded in 2018 by the NC Supreme Court for taking 2+ years to rule on a case.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 8 Christy Mann (Democrat).
Mann has been a District Court judge for 14 years.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 9 Sunny Panyanouvuong-Rubeck (Republican).
She is currently an assistant District Attorney and came to the US as a refugee from Laos in 1981. It appears that she moved to the Charlotte area in the early 2000s. She lists being a member of the Charlotte Rifle and Pistol Club on her resume. Rex Marvel (Democrat).
A former assistant public defender, Marvel is currently the incumbent District Court judge. He describes himself as a “longtime advocate for juveniles and children.” He has two young children and appears to have moved to Charlotte in the last 10 years.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 10 C Renee Little (Democrat).
Little is a first generation America from Liberia. She is currently the Judicial Hearing Officer in the Office of Clerk of Superior Court. This will be her first elected office.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 11 Elizabeth Thornton Trosch (Democrat)
. Trosch has served as a district court judge since 2008. She was in the public defender’s office for 6 years prior to that.
NC District Court Judge, District 26 Seat 12 Roy Wiggins (Democrat).
Wiggins has been a District Court judge since 2018. He has been an attorney in private practice for 23 years prior.
Board of Commissioners
The board's major responsibilities include adopting the annual county budget, setting the county property tax rate, and assessing and establishing priorities on the many community needs, especially those related to health, education, welfare, mental health, and the environment. The board also makes appointments to citizen advisory committees.
There are 9 Commissioners. The 3 at-large contestants are running uncontested: Ella Scarborough (Democrat, Incumbent).
Scarborough is an incumbent. She has left little to no digital footprint of her positions yet she has served in local politics in some role (first as a city councilwoman in 1987) for many years. She was Charlotte's first Black councilwoman in 1987. Leigh Altman (Democrat).
Altman is a public interest attorney and has raised a significant amount of money for her campaign and has received a fair amount of attention. Altman’s key issues include economic empowerment, mental health in schools and communities, reproductive rights and reduction in gun violence. Pat Cotham (Democrat, Incumbent).
Cotham is also an incumbent on the board. She opposed the proposed county sales tax that failed last November which was supposed to help the fine arts community and schools.
District 5 Board of Commissioners
All of the members of the 9-member Board of Commissioners are currently Democrats. Running in District 5 are: Matthew Ridenhour (Republican).
Ridenhour lives in South Charlotte and had served on the Mecklenburg County Commission in the past but was defeated in 2018 all Republicans were evicted from the County Commission. He then ran for District 9 Congressman in the special election in 2019 and lost in the primary to Dan Bishop. He is a military veteran and well-respected by city officials and was endorsed by Robert Pittinger who previously held this congressional seat. Many of Ridenhour’s positions are standard conservative issues (e.g. pro life, pro wall). Laura Meier (Democrat).
Meier is a former high school teacher for CMS and director of Sedgefield Middle’s after school program, and Dilworth resident. She has volunteered in other political campaigns and events like the 2017 Charlotte Women’s March. Her website mentions that she feels investment in public schools (including mental health support for children), affordable housing and greenways/green spaces are important. She says “we must provide equitable access to our local parks so that all have the chance for green spaces for the sake of mental health.”
Register of Deeds Fred Smith (Democrat).
Smith was first elected to this role in 2016 when he defeated the then incumbent. The office stores real estate documents and issues marriage licenses.
Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor
The role is best for a “committed conservationist” according to the org’s website. The non-paid board of supervisors meets monthly to establish local soil and water conservation priorities based on the needs of the district. For years, this role has attracted many quirky candidates and this year is no exception: David Michael Rice.
Rice is a perennial candidate for some role or another. He last ran for mayor against Vi Lyles in 2019 and in 2018 ran for this same role unsuccessfully (he finished 4th of 6 candidates at that time). He appears to be registered as a Republican in Mecklenburg County. Duncan St Clair.
St. Clair last ran for a seat on the Board of Education. He appears to be the owner of a small batch coffee company. His LinkedIn profile has him as a park ranger and an insurance adjuster in his past. He appears to be registered as a Democrat in Mecklenburg County. Gregory Denlea.
Denlea calls himself an “educator and IT leader” (he was a former University of Phoenix teacher). He also ran for Board of Education in November 2019. He appears to be registered as a Republican in Mecklenburg County. Rich George.
George cites “brand strategy and marketing” as his profession. He moved to the county 10 years ago. He has taken the online course “Climate Leadership Corps” which is an Al Gore initiative. He advocates “a new dawn for Mecklenburg’s environment”—equitable, optimal and sustainable. He also wants to protect the tree canopy.
Voters are also being asked to vote on 3 referenda:
· $100MM transportation bond
· $50MM housing bond
· $45MM neighborhood improvement bond
Jennifer Roberts, the former major of Charlotte, wrote an op-ed in the Observer on September 15 questioning the lack of details or information on the bonds. She actually demanded that the city give more detail. To see if the bonds may affect you, look at p21-25 of this link
. There is some detail but not much. That said, the city budget for the coming year appears to be $2.5B. This year the city will spend $230MM servicing its debt.