RALEIGH — As election season wraps up one cycle and moves to the next, the eyes of North Carolina political junkies begin to gaze on what’s in store for 2024.
At the national level, North Carolina will once again receive attention from both parties as Democrats and Republicans eye presidential campaigns. Although President Joe Biden has indicated he plans to run for a second term, many Democrats feel the soon-to-be 80-year-old will ultimately bow out of a second run to stay in the White House. That could create a similar dynamic to 2020, with upward of two dozen Democrats running — including many of the same candidates such as Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Other Democrats eyeing runs could be California Gov. Gavin Newsom and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
Republicans are expected to see a crowded field as well, with former President Donald Trump intimating he will announce a third run as soon as Nov. 14. Many Republicans are also expecting to see Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott to run as well.
Cooper is term-limited and will vacate the Executive Mansion in 2024, and both parties have presumptive frontrunners to become the state’s new chief executive.
Two-term Attorney General Josh Stein has raised millions since his narrow win over Republican Jim O’Neill in 2020 and shares Cooper’s political team. Stein would follow the well-worn path of Democrats to move from the Justice Department to the governorship. It remains to be seen, however, if a challenger emerges to Stein’s right, such as former state Sen. Kirk deViere. The power play that ousted deViere from his Cumberland County seat left a bad taste for many.
Shortly after defeating Democrat Yvonne Holley to become North Carolina’s first black lieutenant governor, Republican Mark Robinson firmly established himself as the frontrunner for the GOP in 2024’s gubernatorial contest. One of the most charismatic political figures in North Carolina history already, Robinson has also raised millions and regularly travels the state making appearances among Republicans.
While drawing ire from some corners for his rhetoric, Robinson will be a formidable candidate in a Republican primary. That, though, may not keep others from the race.
State Treasurer Dale Folwell floated a bid in an interview with WRAL, and rumors among activists persist that Sen. Thom Tillis would have interest in the race as well.
In addition to governor, the remaining Council of State will also be up. Those offices include lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretaries of Agriculture, Auditor, State, Insurance, Labor, State and Treasurer.
A few names to watch among the current Council of State are longtime Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who could retire at the end of their current terms.
The North Carolina congressional map will get shaken up once again in 2024 as the court-drawn maps in use for 2022 expire.
How those districts look will likely depend on the outcome of the Moore v. Harper case at the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case were scheduled for Dec. 7. A decision is expected to be announced sometime next summer.
In an “off year” for the state after two bruising U.S. Senate contests in 2020 and 2022, the altered congressional maps could provide an opportunity for candidates to flood into those races.
All 170 seats in the General Assembly will be back on the ballot in 2024.
One state Supreme Court seat will be open in 2024 as well, as Democrat Mike Morgan looks to defend the seat he won from Republican Bob Edmunds in 2016. Seats for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals have eight-year terms. Sources tell North State Journal that at least two Republican judges on the Court of Appeals, April Wood and Jefferson Griffin, will announce their candidacy for the seat.
Finally, two more items: a potential constitutional amendment pertaining to abortion and another statewide bond could also make their way to the ballot. A bond was considered in 2020 but ultimately scrapped in the previous legislative session.