Former North Carolina state senator and Lincoln County native Deanna Ballard announced Monday that she is running in the 2024 Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

In a press release on her website, she said that “she’s running for Lt. Governor to pick up where she left off,” including fighting for children.

“Financial security and constitutional freedoms are in jeopardy for working families – the backbone of North Carolina,” she said. “They have been stretched thin by inflation, looked down upon by elites, and told their way of thinking and worshipping is no longer mainstream. Enough is enough.”

Source: Deanna Ballard’s Twitter feed.

Ballard, who represented Watauga County, narrowly lost the 2021 Republican primary to Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell County, for Senate District 47’s general election. Hise secured 50.65% of the vote compared to Ballard’s 49.35%.

The primary was one of the most closely watched in the state because of its unusual matchup — two popular sitting state senators facing off after being “double bunked” in the same district due to redistricting.

Ballard had represented the old Senate District 45 since 2016. She served as chair of both the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Education Appropriations Committee.

“When parents are excluded from critical decisions affecting their child’s health and well-being at school, it really sends a message to children that parents’ input and authority is really no longer important,” Ballard said at a May 2022 Senate Education Committee press conference discussing a proposed Parent’s Bill of Rights. 

She had fought for the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and removing the mask mandate for children while in school.

In addition to being a proponent for parents’ rights in schools, Ballard states on her campaign website that she is pro-life, supports the police, gun ownership, deporting illegal immigrants and that biological males should not compete against biological women in sports. 

She also supports voter ID. In 2018, she supported a state constitutional amendment to require it at the polls. 

In addition, she worked closely with Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson on his task force, uncovering political indoctrination in public schools. Robinson is running for governor on the Republican ticket.  

Ballard got her start in politics shortly after she graduated from college when she met a Republican campaign organizer and got involved as a volunteer. She then rose through the ranks at the U.S. Department. of Education, the U.S. Department. of Homeland Security, and the White House during the George W. Bush Administration, where she was recognized as a White House commissioned officer.

In 2009, she worked with Rev. Franklin Graham and family at Billy Graham’s ministry in Charlotte, and Samaritan’s Purse, in Boone, before running for running office as a state senator in 2016.

She joins a growing list of candidates on the primary ballot, including Hal Weatherman, Peter Boykin, Allen Mashburn, Rockingham Sheriff Sam Page, and Rep. Jeffrey Elmore. 

On the Democrat side, State Sen. Rachel Hunt, former State Sen. Raymond Smith, former State Sen. Ben Clark, Chris Rey, former mayor of Spring Lake, and Delmonte Crawford are also running for the office.