Governor Cooper appointed Durham County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Natalie Murdock to fill the District 20 state Senate seat on Wednesday, one day after the county Democratic Party’s executive committee unanimously recommended her. 

Last month, Murdock prevailed in a three-way Democratic primary for the seat, defeating Pierce Freelon and Gray Ellis. She’ll be an overwhelming favorite when she faces Republican John Tarantino in November.

The District 20 seat was left vacant this year when Cooper appointed veteran legislator Floyd McKissick Jr. to the state’s Utilities Commission earlier this year.

Murdock, who is African American, has been preceded by a long line of black political luminaries.

McKissick was first appointed to that seat by Governor Mike Easley in 2007 to replace the late Jeanne Lucas, the first African American woman to serve in the state Senate. She’d been appointed in 1993 to replace Durham political lion Ralph Hunt Sr., who’d held that seat since 1985. After McKissick’s appointment, retired lawmaker H.M. “Mickey” Michaux, the longest-serving member of the General Assembly before his retirement, was appointed to temporarily fill the vacancy.

On Thursday, Murdock posted on Facebook: “It’s official! Let’s get to work!”

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