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State and federal candidates get greenlight to file for office


With a three-judge panel deciding Monday that the N.C. General Assembly’s most recent congressional maps can be used for the 2020 elections, the way was finally cleared for candidates for federal office to join their local, state and legislative counterparts to begin filing for office.

The filing period, which began on Monday, December 2, ends on Friday, December 20.

For congressional incumbents, the ruling by the Wake Superior Court was welcomed news, especially after it wasn’t clear whether the March 2020 primaries would be pushed back or not if the court could not decide Monday.

“Now that the three-judge panel has made its decision concerning the congressional map for the 2020 election, I look forward to the opportunity to continue representing the people of North Carolina’s First Congressional District,” said Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) after the court’s ruling. “The First District will encompass many counties that I formerly represented in Congress, and if the people of the First District give me the honor once again, I will continue to fight for their best interests in the United States Congress.”

Rep. Butterfield will be vying for his ninth term in 2020.

At press time Monday, Butterfield’s African American colleague, Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, was also expected to file for re-election for a fourth term.

Based on the new approved N.C. congressional map, five of the state’s thirteen congressional districts - including representatives Adams and Butterfield - will lean Democrat. In the previous 2016 congressional map, which was eventually ruled unconstitutional because of partisan gerrymandering, only three of the thirteen North Carolina congressional districts leaned Democrat.

For North Carolina Congressional District 2, former Wake County School Board Chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler will be facing off against fellow Democrats Jason Butler and Scott Cooper in the March 3 primary. Republican incumbent Rep. George Holding had not filed for reelection by press time.

If Hostler-Johnson were to win in November, she would become North Carolina’s third African American congressperson - assuming Adams and Butterfield hold on to their seats.

For the U.S. Senate, Democrats are lining up to oust first-term Republican Sen. Thom Tillis out of office. State Sen. Erica Smith of Northampton County is working hard to face fellow Democrat Cal Cunningham, a former state senator, in the March primary. Other Democrats in that primary include Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller, and Durham businessman Steven Williams.

For statewide office, N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is expected to file for a full eight-year term for her post. Republican Associate N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby has announced that he will challenge the state’s first African American female chief justice for the seat.

Jessica Holmes, an African American, Democrat and currently the chairwoman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, officially filed for N.C. Commissioner of Labor Monday.

“I am a proven advocate for working families and I am ready to fight for fair wages, safe and healthy work environments and family-friendly policies on behalf of all North Carolinians,” the Pender County native told her supporters in campaign literature. If she wins, Holmes would succeed current Labor Commissioner Cheri Berry, who is stepping down after five four-year terms.

Holmes will have to get past Democratic primary challenger Eva Lee, a tax attorney, in order to face challenger Republican Rep. Josh Dobson (R-McDowell) in November.

Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley (D-Wake) has announced that she is running for lieutenant governor, one of several Democrats who will be competing in March for the open seat.