Attorney General Josh Stein wins Democratic primary for NC governor

Josh Stein

RALEIGH — North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination on Super Tuesday in the state’s primary election. Stein will carry the party’s banner this fall against Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who won the state’s Republican primary.

Stein defeated four other party competitors, including former state Supreme Court Associate Justice Mike Morgan. The attorney general had the endorsement of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who was barred by term limits from running this year.

National groups backing Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates have agreed North Carolina will be a top battleground state for the job in November.

North Carolina is poised to be one of the most competitive states this fall as President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, appear headed toward a likely rematch.

Cooper, a Democrat first elected governor in 2016, has continued a long run of Democratic dominance in the governor’s mansion in a Southern state that otherwise has shifted rightward. The GOP has won only one gubernatorial race since 1992.

A general election victory by a Republican would essentially neuter veto power that Cooper has used a record number of times to block additional abortion restrictions, stricter requirements for voters and other policies backed by conservatives. GOP legislators have been able to override many of Cooper’s vetoes, however.

Stein, a former state legislator and the son of a civil rights lawyer, is by far the largest fundraiser in the race. His campaign committee collected over $19.1 million and had $12.7 million in cash in mid-February, according to the most recent campaign report summaries filed.

Stein was narrowly elected attorney general in 2016. He would be the state’s first Jewish governor if elected.