Truitt upset highlights Council of State primaries 

U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-14th), pictured during his run for the U.S. Senate in 2021, will face fellow Congressman Dan Bishop (R-8th) in the race for North Carolina attorney general. (Gerry Broome / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Council of State primaries on March 5 yielded two races that will head to a runoff in May, a couple of blowouts and one upset. 

The Council of State consists of 10 seats that include the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, and the commissioners of agriculture, labor and insurance. 

Here are the general election matchups, based on unofficial results, for each seat. 

Lieutenant governor — Hunt vs. runoff winner: Democrat and current state legislator Rachel Hunt, daughter of former Gov. Jim Hunt, defeated Ben Clark and Mark H. Robinson with more than 70% of the vote. 

On the Republican side, no candidate reached the 30% plus one vote threshold, resulting in a runoff between Hal Weatherman, the former chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, and Forsyth District Attorney Jim O’Neill. Weatherman unofficially pulled in 19.61% of the vote to O’Neill’s 15.85%. 

Attorney general — Jackson vs. Bishop: U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-14th) will face U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-8th), who had no primary challenger, in November for the attorney general spot. Jackson won his race with nearly 55% of the vote over Durham District Attorney Satana Deberry and attorney Tim Dunn.  

Commissioner of agriculture — Troxler vs. Tabor and Haugh: With more than 69% of the vote, 19-year Republican incumbent Steve Troxler fended off his primary challenger Colby (Bear) Hammonds. Democrat Sarah Tabor and Libertarian Sean Haugh will challenge Troxler in the general election. 

Commissioner of insurance — Causey vs. Marcus: Democrat and state senator for Mecklenburg County Natasha Marcus won her primary over business owner David Wheeler with over 77% of the vote. Republican incumbent Mike Causey secured victory with more than 60% of the vote, defeating attorney Andrew Marcus and former North Carolina House member Robert Brawley. 

Commissioner of labor — Farley vs. Winston: Luke Farley avoided a runoff in the Republican primary for labor commissioner with nearly 37% of the vote over the three other candidates — North Carolina House Rep. Jon Hardister (Guilford), Chuck Stanley and Travis Wilson. Farley will face Democrat Braxton Winston II, a former Charlotte city council member, in the general election. 

Secretary of state — Marshall vs. Brown: Republican Chad Brown was the victor in the secretary of state primary against Christine Villaverde and Jesse Thomas. Brown brought in just over 43% of the vote over his opponents and will face Democratic incumbent Elaine Marshall, who has held the role for the last 28 years. 

State auditor — Holmes vs. runoff winner: Democrat candidate for state auditor Jessica Holmes will have to wait to find out who her opponent will be as the five-way Republican primary is headed for a runoff. 

Republicans Jack Clark edged Dave Boliek by just 1.12%, and they will go head to head for the chance to face Holmes in November. Charles Dingee was third in the Republican primary, followed by Jeff Tarte, Anthony Wayne Street and Jim Kee. 

Treasurer — Harris vs. Briner: Democrat Wesley Harris will match up with Republican Brad Briner in November. Harris, a three-term House state legislator from Mecklenburg County, defeated his opponent Gabe Esparza with more than two-thirds of the vote. Briner finished with almost 40% over Rachel Johnson and A.J. Daoud. 

Superintendent of public instruction — Green versus Morrow: In arguably the biggest upset of the night, Republican Michele Morrow defeated first-term incumbent State Superintendent Catherine Truitt. 

“I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our volunteers and supporters from Murphy to Manteo,” Morrow said in a brief post on X. “Teamwork made the dream work!” 

On her official superintendent Facebook page, Truitt wrote about being “singularly focused on doing what is best for students and their families” since she took office. 

“I assembled the best educational team in the history of our state and the results we achieved in just a few years have been striking: We bounced back from the pandemic faster than the rest of the nation, we put phonics-based reading back in classrooms, we prioritized workforce readiness to align the K-12 system with our rapidly changing job market, and we championed and delivered choice for families,” wrote Truitt. 

Morrow, who has never held a political office and lost a 2022 Wake County school board race, will now face Democrat Maurice (Mo) Green in November.  

Green easily won his primary race with just under 66% of the vote. Green easily outdistanced Katie Eddings, who finished at just under 25%, in the three-person race. 

Green was the first black superintendent for Guilford County Public Schools (2008-15) and was the director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (2016-23). 

About A.P. Dillon 1293 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_