NC’s 1st female Senate majority leader to retire in 2022

Image via N.C. Senate Republican Caucus

RALEIGH — North Carolina Senate Majority Leader Kathy Harrington, the first woman to hold the job since it was created over 40 years ago, announced she won’t seek reelection to her Senate seat next year.  

Harrington is a Gaston County Republican now in her sixth two-year Senate term. She was elected last year by current GOP senators to the position, which usually run caucus meetings in which colleagues discuss policy issues and votes. She’s also a top leader of the Senate’s budget-writing committee. 

The chamber’s most powerful position belongs to Sen. Phil Berger, the president pro tempore. Still, Harrington’s elevation to such a key spot marked a historic moment.  

“Looking back at my tenure I can say for a fact that I’ve accomplished all my goals and worked tirelessly on behalf of my constituents,” Harrington said in a news release, citing lower taxes, balanced budgets and expanded school choice. “With that in mind, I felt like it was the right time to retire.”  

Berger called Harrington “the epitome of a public servant, always working to make life better for her constituents and thoughtfully addressing issues facing the state.” 

Shortly after announcing her retirement, Harrington endorsed a fellow Republican for the seat. 

In a tweet from the NC Senate Republican Caucus Twitter account, she endorsed Brad Overcash, a Gaston County attorney who has held several leadership positions within the Republican Party. 

“I encourage the citizens of Gaston County to vote for the person who is most able to continue fighting for our shared values and priorities, my dear friend Brad Overcash. Brad has my full and complete endorsement for the state Senate,” said Harrington.