I tend to think of these endorsement issues as both one of the INDY‘s greatest public services and a bane of my existence. There’s an immense amount of research to be done, sure, but there’s also a kind of pressure that comes with knowing that people care what we think, that the choices we make in these pages may affect the outcomes of elections. (In last fall’s contests, the INDY‘s endorsed candidates won in every race in Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, and all but one contest in Cary and Chapel Hill.)

So we endeavor to get this stuff right. Right, of course, is subjective. What I mean by that is we try to identify and support candidates who align with the INDY‘s longstanding values of social justice, equity, and tolerance. For this reason, you’ll notice that we’ve declined to endorse in a few Republican primaries; we couldn’t find a candidate who met our requirements. We’re usually willing to support the lesser of two evils, but we’re only willing to only go so far.

We also have to temper those progressive inclinations with assessments of pragmatism, competence, and effectiveness, which can sometimes muddy up otherwise clear ideological lines.

In other words, there’s a chance you won’t like all of the picks we make. And that’s fine. People who want to see the same political outcomes often disagree on how best to get there. Truth be told, there are several contests that we debated for hours and that could have gone either way. There are very good candidates who we like but are not endorsing. (Most primary candidates responded to our questionnaires, and some sent us videos stating their case; you can check out all of that as of tomorrow, April 19.)

But we do hope that these endorsements offer you some insight into these contests and why we’ve backed these two-dozen candidates for office, all of whom we believe would make outstanding public servants.

One logistical notes: due to resource constraints, we opted not to endorse in Chatham County, choosing instead to focus on the areas we know best—Wake, Durham, and Orange, as well as the congressional and legislative races therein. We wish this weren’t the case, but there’s really no way around it.

One final admonition: it’s easy to get hot and bothered at the perpetual outrages of the Trump administration. But it’s these local elections that often have the most impact on your life.

Early voting starts Thursday in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties. Check out our early-voting guide here for locations and hours. Then get out there and vote.


In U.S. House District 2, the INDY Endorses Wendy Ella May

In U.S. House District 4, the INDY Endorses David Price


In N.C. Senate District 16, the INDY Endorses Luis Toledo

In N.C. House District 11, the INDY Endorses Allison Dahle

In N.C. House District 33, the INDY Endorses Rosa Gill

In N.C. House District 35, the INDY Endorses Terence Everitt


For Durham County District Attorney, the INDY Endorses Roger Echols

For Durham County Sheriff, the INDY Endorses Clarence Birkhead

For Durham Public Schools, the INDY Endorses Mike Lee, Matt Sears, and Natalie Beyer


For Orange County Sheriff, the INDY Endorses Charles Blackwood

For Orange County Board of Commissioners, the INDY Endorses Sally Greene and Earl McKee

For Orange County Schools, the INDY Endorses Sarah Smiley, Brenda Stephens, Hillary Mackenzie, and Will Atherton

For Orange County Clerk of Superior Court, the INDY Endorses Mark Kleinschmidt


For Wake County Board of Commissioners, the INDY Endorses Sig Hutchinson, Matt Calabria, Erv Portman, James West, and John Burns