The 2020 races are set

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal

RALEIGH — Candidate filing for the 2020 election cycle in North Carolina closed on Dec. 20 with a rush of electoral hopefuls seeking spots in the General Assembly and a congressional seat in the mountains.

The State Board of Elections and election boards in all 100 counties stopped taking candidacy documents at midday for ballots that will be chock-full of races in a presidential year. North Carolina’s electorate also will vote for governor, a U.S. Senate seat and members of the U.S. House. The other nine Council of State positions will be on the ballot, as well as three of the seven positions on the state Supreme Court, scores of other judgeships and all 170 General Assembly seats.

Ten additional people paid the filing fee to run for the 11th Congressional District seat, bringing to 19 the number of candidates seeking to succeed Republican Rep. Mark Meadows. He announced on Thursday that he wouldn’t seek reelection, hinting at a new job in the Trump administration. Final day entrants include Wayne King, Meadows’ deputy chief of staff, and Democrat Phillip Price, who lost to Meadows in the 2018 general election. On Thursday, Haywood County GOP leader Lynda Bennett and state Sen. Jim Davis of Macon County filed for the seat.

Primary elections are March 3.

Meadows is among three Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation who aren’t running in 2020. Incumbents George Holding of the 2nd District and Mark Walker of the 6th District chose not to run because of last month’s redrawing of the state congressional map after judges ruled the previous boundaries likely were unlawful partisan gerrymanders. Both districts shifted to the left politically as they became more urban.

Five Democrats and two Republicans are running for the Triad-area 6th District seat while four Democrats, one Republican and a Libertarian are seeking Holding’s seat, which now only includes Wake County. One 2nd District candidate is Democrat Deborah Ross, a former state legislator who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Even after redistricting brought all of liberal Asheville into the 11th District, the district keeps favoring the GOP, Western Carolina University political science professor Chris Cooper said. A dozen Republicans are running for the seat.

“It’s still a leaning-Republican district,” Cooper said in an interview. Politicians from both parties say the new map is likely to elect eight Republicans and five Democrats. The current delegation consists of 10 Republicans and three Democrats.

All 13 U.S. House seats will field Democratic and Republican candidates. GOP Rep. Ted Budd in the central Piedmont 13th District didn’t have a Democratic challenger until 2018 8th District candidate Scott Huffman filed on the last day to file.

The number of legislative candidates surged on the final day so that all but a dozen of the 170 seats will be contested by both a Democrat and Republican in November, according to a review of state board data. Democrats were the lone major-party candidate in nine of the 12.