Mecklenburg Democrats seek move to Raleigh

The North Carolina state seal at the General Assembly in Raleigh. North State Journal

RALEIGH — At least four Democrats from Mecklenburg County are looking to make the move across the state to Raleigh next year.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson, state Sen. Rachel Hunt, state Rep. Wesley Harris and Charlotte City Councilman Braxton Winston are all running for positions on the North Carolina Council of State in 2024.

Jackson, a one-term Congressman who served for nearly a decade in the state Senate, is running for state attorney general. What looked to be token opposition in the Democratic primary changed in mid-November when Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry said she was running for the position.

Hunt, the daughter of North Carolina’s four-term governor, Jim Hunt, is running for the office of lieutenant governor. Only former state Sen. Ben Clark, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2022, has launched a campaign for the position.

Harris, who has served in the state house for three terms, is running for Treasurer. The seat will be open as current two-term treasurer Dale Folwell is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

Winston, coming off a successful reelection bid for Charlotte City Council, has been in the race for Labor Commissioner for several months already. Supported by Charlotte businessman Hugh McColl in his campaigns for city council, Winston has stated his support for labor unions and “workers rights,” implying he would be more favorable to union movements in the state.

Another Mecklenburg Democrat, state Sen. Natasha Marcus, said in mid-November that she won’t run for a seat in her current chamber but is considering a run for an unspecified statewide office.

The Senate map enacted last month puts Marcus and Republican Sen. Vickie Sawyer of Iredell County in the same 41st Senate District north of Charlotte. The North Carolina Constitution says someone must live in the district for which they seek to represent.

The redistricting did create another Senate district in northwest and central Charlotte that appears overwhelmingly favorable to Democrats and for which Marcus could run for if she moved there.

But Marcus decided against another Senate run, the Associated Press reported, saying in part she didn’t want to leave her home in Davidson, where she raised her children.

In addition to those Democrats, two Republicans – U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop and State Rep. John Bradford – are also running for statewide office. Bishop is seeking to become attorney general and Bradford is aiming to succeed Folwell as treasurer.