Democrat: Roy Cooper
Roy Cooper pissed us off when he signed HB 142, the weak-kneed replacement for HB 2. Other than that, he’s been fine, especially since getting a functioning veto pen.
Republican: None of these
Dan Forest is a walking punchline, an anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ zealot who frequently says things that are, well, not particularly well-informed. We considered supporting Holly Grange, his opponent, but she boasts about battling with Roy Cooper over “infanticide”— which is not even remotely accurate—so we’re going to pass.
Democrat: Chaz Beasley
There are a bunch of Democrats running for this seat, and a bunch of them are strong candidates. Take Allen Thomas, a 33-year-old Hoke County commissioner focused on poverty and inequality, decriminalizing marijuana, and improving schools. Or state Senator Terry Van Duyn, the favorite and leading fundraiser, who’s endorsed by nearly every major progressive group and who has developed a reputation as an effective lawmaker. But we’re siding with an underdog: 34-year-old state Representative Chaz Beasley from the Mecklenburg area, someone we believe could be a rising star in state politics. He’s smart and proactive. He voted against the HB 2 replacement for all the right reasons and led the charge to fix an outdated date-rape law. He would also one day make for a worthy successor to Roy Cooper.
Republican: None of these
Like the Dems, the Republicans have a lot of people running for LG. Unlike the Dems, the GOP race is pretty much a clown car. The two biggest names are former congresswoman Rene Ellmers—who brags about being the first woman to endorse Trump—and one-term Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, whose tenure of late has seemed like one giant scandal punctuated by the occasional NOTICE ME! chest-beating. Hard no.
Democrat: Beth Wood
We think highly of Luis Toledo, who is running to oust incumbent Democrat Beth Wood. He’s smart, he’s been an assistant state auditor, and he knows what he’s talking about. But he doesn’t really make a strong case for replacing Wood, beyond that the office needs fresh eyes. We’re sticking with her.
Republican: Tim Hoegmeyer
Hoegmeyer spent 12 years in the auditor’s office overseeing fraud cases, which in this race gives him a big leg up against Anthony Street, who has no business being state auditor.
Republican: Christine Mumma
The only plausible Republican to replace Josh Stein, Mumma is the executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, and she’s represented nine people who’ve been exonerated for crimes they didn’t commit. Her two opponents are unremarkable. This one’s easy.
Commissioner of Agriculture
Democrat: Jenna Wadsworth
Of the three Dems running for ag commissioner, two jumped out at us. The first, Donovan Watson, is from Durham. He’s a black farmer who runs his family’s produce market. The other is Jenna Wadsworth, who has served on the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District for a decade—since she was 21. She’s been involved in state Democratic politics for just as long, and she’s very enthusiastic about all things agriculture. We’d love to see that kind of energy in the department.
Secretary of State
Republican: Chad Brown
E.C. Sykes is a religious nut who volunteered for Ted Cruz. Michael LaPaglia wants to “drain the swamp” of the “secretary of sanctuary,” whatever that means. Chad Brown, a former mayor/commissioner of Gaston County, is a pretty conservative guy who admires Pat McCrory’s economic development efforts, but he’s the most passable.
Commissioner of Insurance
Republican: Mike Causey
Say what you want about Mike Causey, but don’t say he’s corrupt. When developer Greg Lindberg tried to bribe him to fire an unfriendly senior regulator, Causey reported him to the feds and then wore a wire, leading to Lindberg’s arrest (and that of two associates) and the arrest of the NCGOP’s chairman.
Democrat: Matt Leatherman
In a quality field, Leatherman stands out for his experience working as the policy director for former treasurer Janet Cowell, who was succeeded* by Dale Folwell in 2016. Ronnie Chatterji and Dimple Ajmera would make good treasurers as well, but in our estimation, there’s no substitute for the wealth of institutional knowledge Leatherman brings.
Commissioner of Labor
Republican: None of these
It’ll take some effort to be a worse labor commissioner than our departing elevator queen, Cherie Berry. But by God, these three—Chuck Stanley, Josh Dobson, and Pearl Floyd—are going to try.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Democrat: Jennifer Mangrum
There are five Dems running to replace Mark Johnson, and we homed in on three: Wake County school board member Keith Sutton, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board member James Barrett, and Jennifer Mangrum, an associate professor at UNC-Greensboro who ran against Senate leader Phil Berger two years ago. Sutton’s platform, which is focused on equity and the connections between poverty and school performance, would be a welcome corrective to state policy. Barrett wants to eliminate the state’s testing regime and immediately establish paid parental leave for state school employees, which we also like. But we’re siding with Mangrum, who has been working in education and social justice for more than three decades, and who we believe will be a forceful advocate for the state’s schools.
Republican: Catherine Truitt
Dwight Van Horn is a state rep with no education experience. Catherine Truitt served as Governor McCrory’s senior education adviser and chancellor of Western Governors University. We disagree with her on charter schools, but at least she has the experience to do the job.
Comment on these endorsements at firstname.lastname@example.org. Correction: Janet Cowell did not seek reelection in 2016.
Click here to return to our list of endorsements.
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.