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2024 North Carolina Council of State races: A list of candidates

A voter exits the Wayne County Public Library after casting their ballot during early voting in Goldsboro Friday morning October 21, 2022.
Jonathon Gruenke
/
for WUNC
A voter exits the Wayne County Public Library after casting their ballot during early voting in Goldsboro Friday morning October 21, 2022.

In 2024, North Carolinians will have many decisions to make up and down the ballot. At the top is a U.S. Presidential race and an election for the next governor of North Carolina. Closer to the bottom will be statewide races for Council of State positions in North Carolina, from treasurer to agriculture commissioner.

Ahead of the 2024 election, WUNC is tracking candidacies in these races. While we have previously published complete lists for the races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, the rest of the council of state races can be found below.


Treasurer

  • Brad Briner (R)
  • A.J. Daoud (R)
  • Gabe Esparza (D)
  • Wesley Harris (D)
  • Rachel Johnson (R)

Dale Folwell is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, so this is an open race without an incumbent for the first time since 2017. Harris is a state representative, while Esparza is a newcomer, a former senior official at the U.S. Small Business Administration, and a former vice president at American Express. Daoud has previously run for state Senate and Secretary of State.

Labor Commissioner

  • Luke Farley (R)
  • Jon Hardister (R)
  • Chuck Stanley (R)
  • Travis Wilson (R)
  • Braxton Winston (D)

Current labor commissioner Josh Dobson – a McDowell County Republican – announced last December that he would not seek reelection. Hardister aims to be like Dobson in going from being a state representative — where he's served since 2013 — to serving in the council of state. Winston is a Charlotte City Council member, Farley is a Raleigh-based attorney, and Wilson is a Union County Republican who previously ran for the board of commissioners there. Stanley sought this position in 2020 too but lost to Dobson in the primary.

Auditor

  • Dave Boliek (R)
  • Jack Clark (R)
  • AJ Daoud (R)
  • Charles Dingee (R)
  • Jessica Holmes (D)
  • Jim Kee (R)
  • Jeff Tarte (R)
  • Bob Drach (L)

Incumbent Democrat Beth Wood has been the state auditor since 2009 and several Republicans are aiming for her seat after she pled guilty to a hit-and-run in March. On Nov. 1, Wood said she would not seek re-election. Two days later, Luis Toledo — a former assistant state auditor from western North Carolina — announced his candidacy.

However, Wood then announced that she would resign from her post in December, and Gov. Roy Cooper has appointed Jessica Holmes — a former Wake County commission chairwoman — to replace her. After Holmes announced that she would run to retain the seat, Toledo dropped out of the race.

Boliek, a UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees member, is among the latest to join the race. Other candidates include Kee, a former Greensboro City Council member, former state senate and secretary of state candidate Daoud, and Clark, a CPA and legislative staffer. Tarte, a former North Carolina state senator from 2013 to 2019, is also running.

Libertarian Bob Drach is also seeking the office as a third-party candidate. He lives in Wilmington and has earned degrees from William & Mary and Stanford. Drach and Holmes will advance to the general election and face the Republican that wins the primary.

The WUNC Politics Podcast is a free-flowing discussion of what we're hearing in the back hallways of the General Assembly and on the campaign trail across North Carolina.

Insurance Commissioner

  • Mike Causey (R — Incumbent)
  • Robert Brawley (R)
  • Andrew Marcus (R)
  • Natasha Marcus (D)
  • David Wheeler (D)

Causey is a two-term incumbent. Wheeler has twice previously ran unsuccessfully for state senate in District 47, losing in the general election both times to Ralph Hise. Brawley served in the state house from 2013 to 2015 and was briefly the chairman of the House Finance Committee. Marcus has served District 41 in the state Senate since 2019.

Secretary of State

  • Elaine Marshall (D – Incumbent)
  • Chad Brown (R)
  • Jesse Thomas (R)
  • Christine Villaverde (R)

Marshall has had this job since 1997 and is indeed seeking re-election. Should she win another term, she will serve under her sixth governor, having now been in office from Jim Hunt to Roy Cooper. Aiming to replace her are a trio of Republicans.

Thomas — a retired health care executive who led the Medicaid plan offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina — has never held elected office before, and switched to this race after briefly running for governor. He has also been involved with the North Carolina chapter of the Forward Party, which was founded by former U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and has been an outspoken critic of Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

  • Catherine Truitt (R – Incumbent)
  • Kenon Crumble (D)
  • Katie Eddings (D)
  • Mo Green (D)
  • Michele Morrow (R)

A former Johnston County teacher and education advisor to Gov. Pat McCrory, Truitt first assumed this office in 2021 and is seeking a second term. Challenging her are a trio of Democrats in Eddings, who has taught in Robeson and Lee counties; Green, a former superintendent of Guilford County Schools; and Crumble, an assistant principal from Johnston County. Michelle Morrow, a registered nurse and director of a Wake County education network, is challenging Truitt in the primary.

Agriculture Commissioner

  • Steve Troxler (R - Incumbent)
  • Colby Hammonds (R)
  • Sean Haugh (L)
  • Sarah Taber (D)

Troxler announced that he is seeking a sixth term in office. Taber is a crop scientist and podcaster from Fayetteville with a large Twitter following. She recently appeared alongside North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Anderson Clayton at a Bladen County event in October.

Haugh previously ran for U.S. Senate in 2016 and 2014, and the District 31 state House seat in 2020 and 2022. He advanced to the general each time, but lost.


WUNC Capital Bureau Chief Colin Campbell contributed to this story.

Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.