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Attorney General Josh Stein launches campaign for governor in 2024

Courtesy of Josh Stein
Josh Stein has served as attorney general since 2016. Stein, a Democrat, was widely expected to make a run for the state’s highest office in 2024.

North Carolina attorney general Josh Stein announced his campaign to be the state’s next governor on Wednesday. The democratic candidate was widely expected to make a run for the state’s highest office in 2024.

Stein has served as attorney general since 2016 and worked as head of the consumer protection division under now-governor Roy Cooper.

As attorney general, Stein negotiated the opioid settlement that will pay counties and municipalities millions of dollars over the next 18 years. Buncombe County is expected to receive more than $16 million of the payout.

In Western North Carolina, Stein advocated for more competition in the health care market. Last July, he opposed Mission Hospital’s application for an expansion in Buncombe County, citing a lack of regional competition to the HCA-owned institution. Stein approved Mission Health’s sale to HCA in February 2019. Since then, Stein has voiced concern about the terms of the sale.

In November, the State Department of Health and Human Services gave approval to AdventHealth over Mission Health and Novant Health.

Stein praised the decision in a statement. “Competition in health care lowers cost and improves quality for patients. Mission Health System has virtually no hospital competitors in western North Carolina,” he said.

Stein grew up in Chapel Hill and graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. He served in the state Senate and ran John Edwards successful 1998 campaign for United States Senate.

Stein’s announcement video took several swings at Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, highlighting a video clip of the likely Republican candidate referring to homosexuality as “filth.”

“Robinson wants to tell you who you can marry, when you’ll be pregnant and who you should hate,” Stein said in the video. “I'm running for governor because I believe in a very different North Carolina, one rooted in our shared values of freedom, justice and opportunity for everyone. And I believe the fights we choose show who we are and determine what kind of state we will become.”

The announcement touted Stein’s campaign war chest, noting he has “raised more than $5 million and has nearly $4 million cash-on-hand.”

Laura Lee is an editor and former attorney who has worked for NPR, WUNC, and Carolina Public Press. Laura received her master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland and her bachelor’s degree in political science and J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.