This year, 40 candidates on the ballot in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties will coast to victory. For whatever reason, no one stepped up to challenge them.

Often, these are the candidates with the lowest name recognition vying for the positions we know the least about, like judgeships and conservation boards. To endorse in all the uncontested races would be a waste of newsprint, but we think it’s worth pointing out how many there are and what it says about the political balance of power in the Triangle.

One thing that is clear from these races is that Republicans have given up on Durham and Orange counties. Perhaps the GOP realizes its money is better spent in Wake County, though there, too, Republicans are an endangered species. The lone local Republican left in the state legislature is retiring and may be replaced by Sarah Crawford, a Democrat. 

There are a dozen uncontested judgeships, many of them held by long-serving judges. One example is Durham judge Orlando Hudson, who may be among the most well-known on this list thanks to the Netflix docuseries The Staircase about the infamous Michael Peterson trial, over which he presided.

A vibrant democracy encourages challenge and competition in politics. Having to run for office keeps public servants from complacency. And while it’s comforting to know that Democrats won’t lose local control any time soon, one has to wonder if some of these seats could use a change.  

Here’s a list of the uncontested candidates on the ballot that received our endorsement in the primary. Click the links to view their questionnaires:


Board of Commissioners:  

Nida Allam (D)

Nimasheena Burns (D)

Heidi Carter (D)

Brenda Howerton (D)

Wendy Jacobs (D)

Durham School Board at-large: 

Alexandra Valladares (D)


NC House District 56:

Democrat Verla Insko (D)

Board of Commissioners:  

Amy Fowler (D) 

Mark Dorosin (D)

Jean Hamilton (D)

District Court Judge, 15B Seat 3:

Hathaway Pendergrass (D)

Follow Raleigh News Editor Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.comClick here to return to our list of endorsements.

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