RALEIGH — Six Democrats, two women and four men, are in the running to become the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor this year.
Chaz Beasley is a Charlotte attorney with Alston & Bird, LLP, who currently serves as a state representative for District 92. Beasley served on the staff of the majority leader in the U.S. Senate before entering private practice. He also was an intern for judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as well as the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
Financial year-end campaign filings show Beasley with an ending cash-on-hand balance of $27,490, having raised a total of $186,991. Beasley also loaned himself $45,000. Beasley’s focus is on education, transportation, Medicaid expansion, supporting small businesses and “fighting for equity.”
Yvonne Lewis Holley, like Beasley, is also a state representative. She is in her fourth term and was first elected to represent District 38 in Wake County in 2012. Holley was a state procurement and contract specialist before retirement.
Holley’s ending cash-on-hand balance is $33,742 with $78,214 total raised this cycle and $69,182 of that total coming from individual contributions. Main platform issues for Holley include education, affordable housing, Medicaid expansion, light rail, and “extensive work to relieve Food Deserts in areas across the state.”
Ron Newton is the CEO and owner of State of the Art Financial Services, a tax prep service located in Durham. Newton is the only candidate who has run for lieutenant governor before. He ran in 2016 but came in fourth out of four in the primary.
Newton’s platform includes Medicaid expansion, criminal justice reform, raising the minimum wage, ending the use of fossil fuels and increasing public school funding by 50%.
Allen Thomas is a Hoke County commissioner. 2019 year-end campaign finance report shows Allen Thomas with an ending cash-on-hand balance of $71,049. He has a total raised of $119,536.
In 2012 Thomas ran for NC Senate in District 12, finishing fifth of out of the six in the primary. After closing his Senate campaign committee, the State Board of Elections sent Thomas an audit letter in 2015 urging him to “take mandatory treasurer training before running another campaign.”
Thomas is a proponent of criminal justice reforms, and his father is serving a life sentence after being convicted of killing his mother. He made news last March when he posted a video to Facebook of himself chasing intruders out of his “secondary home” in Greenville with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Bill Toole is an attorney in Charlotte who has a focus on environmental law. Toole previously served as chair of the Gaston County Democratic Party from 2007-11 and was a Belmont City Council member from 2009-13. He also served on the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund’s board of trustees from 2013-2019.
Toole’s cash-on-hand at the end of the most recent campaign finance filing shows a total of $11,296. He has raised a total of $446,430 this election cycle. There are five outstanding loans from Toole to his own campaign totaling $105,600. The campaign had one large in-kind expenditure of $106,997 on Dec. 31 for “hotel, travel and refreshments.”
Key platform issues for Toole include Medicaid expansion, protection of the environment, decriminalization of cannabis, and scaling-back school choice. According to Toole’s website, the state needs to “severely limit charter schools.”
Terry Van Duyn is currently serving her second term as a state senator for District 49 representing Buncombe County. She was appointed to the position in April 2015 after Sen. Martin Nesbitt passed away.
Before becoming a state senator, Van Duyn was an Affordable Care Act Healthcare Navigator and is a former president of the Buncombe County Democratic Women. She was a vocal political activist, speaking at “Moral Monday” protests organized by the North Carolina NAACP. Van Duyn was arrested at a Moral Monday protest in June of 2013.
According to campaign finance reports, Van Duyn has $434,568 cash-on-hand and has raised $441,330 this cycle. Outstanding loans from Van Duyn to her campaign total $100,000.
Van Duyn’s campaign website does not have the typical list of platform issues or policy statements, however public statements indicate she is a proponent of Medicaid expansion and protecting the environment, as well as increasing education spending statewide. Bills she has sponsored include in-state tuition for DACA recipients, pro-labor law and union-related bills.
The lieutenant governor’s primary role is presiding over the N.C. Senate and serving on several boards and commissions, including the North Carolina Board of Education, North Carolina Board of Community Colleges, the Council of State and the North Carolina Planning Commission. The current officeholder is Dan Forest, who is hoping to become the sixth lieutenant governor to get elected as governor this year.