RALEIGH — Former President Donald Trump is not the only Republican who launched a prospective bid for office in 2024 before the calendar flipped to 2023.
The surprise retirement of first-term Republican Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson led two N.C. House Republicans, Jon Hardister and Ben Moss, to indicate they would be running for the position.
Hardister officially joined the race Wednesday saying he believed now is the time to elevate his public service statewide.
“The Department of Labor is critical to North Carolina’s workers and employers, and I am confident that I have the skillset to perform the duties of this office in a fair, effective, and professional manner. With over ten years of experience in state government, and over twenty years of experience in the private sector, I am uniquely qualified to serve in this new role,” he said in a statement.
As North State Journal reported in 2022, N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Jefferson Griffin, a Republican, made his run for the N.C. Supreme Court official in November. Fellow judge April Wood, who lost in the Republican primary for the state Supreme Court in 2022, is expected to launch another campaign for the office. Democratic Justice Michael Morgan has not announced a reelection campaign and may not choose to run for a second term. Morgan would reach the mandatory retirement age for judges at around three years into a new eight-year term.
In a year-end social media post, the former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Hal Weatherman, said he was running for lieutenant governor in the likely event that current officeholder Mark Robinson runs for governor.
Weatherman has extensive experience in both federal and state government but has not been a candidate himself. He is also the founder and President of the Electoral Education Foundation.
Given the expected campaigns of both Robinson and State Treasurer Dale Folwell for governor, Republicans will be defending half of their spots on the Council of State with new candidates.
Things on the Democratic side, meanwhile, appear quieter.
The expected campaign of Attorney General Josh Stein for governor is the known candidate running statewide. Democrats currently hold those two offices, state auditor and secretary of state among the Council of State.