A bustling crowd of candidate hopefuls stood in line at the Gov. James G. Martin Building at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh Monday as candidate filing got underway for the 2024 election cycle in North Carolina. The candidate list as of Tuesday morning is available here.

Brook Jones, who has worked for the North Carolina State Election Board since 2004, said he has worked at candidate filings for the last several years, and today was not atypical for the first day of filing. 

“The first and last are typically the busiest,” he said. “The last day probably because people get in line and they’re ready to come to file, and we’re supposed to be finished at noon, but if you’re in line, just like voting, if you’ve already checked in, then we keep on going through the process, but definitely there’s a lot of people that want to get their names out there like as early as possible, so it’s no surprise that we got so many people on the very first day.”

candidates file on the first day

One of those people is Republican Congressman Chuck Edwards, who is running for re-election in NC-11. He told Carolina Journal that his accomplishments in Congress this past year include being part of the House majority that passed legislation to close the border, unleash American energy, get spending under control, and hold the Biden Administration in check, especially with inflation, which he says is the biggest issue facing North Carolinians right now.

Republican Congressman Chuck Edwards, NC-11, filing his paperwork for re-election on Dec. 4, 2023. Source, Carolina Journal.

“Families in North Carolina are being crushed right now,” he told CJ. “We didn’t get into this situation overnight. We’re not going to get out of it overnight, but in everything that we do, we have to consider the fact that the cost of living is just exorbitant at this point.”

If re-elected, Edwards said his number one goal would be to keep the Biden Administration in check because its policies are making it very difficult for American families and small businesses. Republican Christian Reagan of Hayesville filed to challenge Edwards in the primary March 5.

council of state

Also running for re-election is Democrat North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who was first elected to the office in 1996. She told Carolina Journal if she is re-elected, she would make her office’s Resources for Innovators, Start-ups, and Entrepreneurs, or Rural RISE NC program a priority.

Republican Jesse Thomas filed Monday to challenge Marshall. Earlier this fall Thomas dropped out of the Republican primary race for governor.

“We cannot continue to abide by this diminution of counties and brain drains and people that feel like they can’t earn a living in the smaller rural counties where their families are located,” Marshall said. “I’m very committed to helping these rural entrepreneurs get what they need early on in the game with local resources they just don’t know about. We’re a communications channel for them, and we have already done about 60 some counties in our database, and we’re seeing results.”

Other candidates are looking to transition from one office to another, like State Rep. Wesley Harris, D-Mecklenburg, who is looking to trade his seat in the General Assembly for one on the Council of State as state treasurer. Harris was first elected in 2018 and was re-elected twice but told Carolina Journal he thinks he can do much better for the state as its treasurer.

Rep. Wesley Harris, D-Mecklenburg, after filing his paperwork for the state treasurer’s office, Dec. 4, 2023. Source, Carolina Journal.

“Since I’ve been in the legislature, I’ve seen us squander a lot of the financial opportunities we’ve had to really invest in our state, particularly spending cash on absolutely everything when we had the lowest interest rates in history and a super high credit rating,” he said. “Now we’re at a point where our interest rates are higher, we don’t have as much cash as we had, and we’re still not being able to keep up with salaries for our state employees and so we’re going to be in a world of hurt. I think we need a state treasurer that has some foresight into how we finance our state government, and our pension plan needs to do quite a bit better. We need to do better by our state employees and make sure that we can give them the retirement they deserve and give them the health care that they deserve so we can recruit the best and brightest to work for the people in North Carolina.”

Harris stated that he is the only Ph.D. economist in the legislature, with his specialty being in public finance, and has been the lead Democrat on every finance and economic issue since he was elected and has built some really good relationships across the aisle, noting that finance is not political because “it’s a math problem at the end of the day.”

Harris was the only candidate to file for state treasurer on the opening day, but Republican John Bradford, currently representing District 98 in the N.C. House, has announced his intent to run.

appointee files to return

Others like Jessica Holmes have decided to run for the office to which they were appointed. Holmes was appointed interim State Auditor last week by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper to fill the vacancy of Democrat State Auditor Beth Wood, who is resigning on Dec. 15.

Holmes told Carolina Journal that she has had experience as a former Wake County Commissioner allocating and tracking funds in an over $1 billion budget. She hopes to build upon her experience in her appointed term and if she is elected to the position in 2024.

Democrat Secretary of State Elaine Marshall talks with interim State Auditor Jessica Holmes, Dec. 4, 2023. Both women filed paperwork to run in the 2024 election. Source, Carolina Journal.

“The position is nonpartisan in terms of how you serve the people of this state,” she said. “The numbers aren’t partisan, and there are three things that I’m going to focus on: transparency, accountability, and integrity. I think it’s good for the auditor to set an example in terms of fiscal responsibility internally as we seek to hold other state agencies accountable for being effective and efficient.”

Holmes told CJ that she has a lot of respect for Wood as the first woman to ever serve as the auditor on the Council of State and hopes to continue working across both sides of the aisle as her predecessor did.

Last week Jeff Tarte, a former Republican member of the N.C. General Assembly and former mayor of Cornelius in Mecklenburg County, announced his intent to run for state auditor.

Carolyn Jennings Thompson is also seeking election to the office that she was appointed to. Thompson was appointed to fill out Allison Riggs term as North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge in September after Riggs was selected to fill out former Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan’s term after he vacated it to run for the Democratic nomination for governor. 

North Carolina Appeals Judge Carolyn Jennings Thompson filed paperwork for running for office in 2024, Dec. 4, 2023. Source, Carolina Journal.

“I am the most experienced candidate with 27 years combined experience as an attorney and with district court, superior court experience and also serving as the deputy commissioner for our state,” she told Carolina Journal. “It’s about being fair, impartial, having a well-versed knowledge of all of the laws because district court judges handle all areas of law and that’s what’s going to be very important, handling our serious issues for the entire state.”

Republican Tom Murry, a former representative in the N.C. General Assembly, filed for the N.C. Court of Appeals Seat 12 and would face Carolyn Jennings Thompson. Murry initially intended to run for North Carolina’s attorney general but in April decided to switch, leaving Republican U.S. Congressman Dan Bishop to the AG race.

On his various social media accounts, Murry said that judges need to follow the Constitution’s original meaning and follow the law as jurists, not as activists.

first time on the ballot

There are also first-time candidates like Kenny Xu, a Republican running for the NC-13 district seat currently held by Democrat Congressman Wiley Nickel, who has not announced whether or not he will seek re-election.

“I helped to lead the affirmative action cases against Harvard and UNC’s admissions,” he told Carolina Journal. “I started a nonprofit here in Raleigh called Color Us United that has fought divisive DEI programs in the Salvation Army and American Express. The Salvation Army was propagating CRT. They were asking their members to repent for racism. We organized a petition of over 18,000 donors to say stop, and they did in December 2021.

Xu said he is the candidate with the best proven record in NC-13 and has a national platform and name recognition to fight for a better education and immigration system. The Republican primary for NC-13 is expected to be a long list as Nickel is considered one of the most vulnerable members of the U.S. House.

Of note from the first day of candidate filing, Republicans Bo Hines and Sandy Smith filed for NC-06 and NC-01 respectively; both came up short in the 2020 congressional races. Also, three Republicans filed for N.C. Labor Commissioner; Rep. Jon Hardister of Guilford County, Raleigh attorney Luke Farley, and Union County activist Travis Wilson plan to seek the GOP nomination.

Candidate filing ends on Dec. 15 at noon. The 2024 primary election is March 5, and the general election is Nov. 5, 2024.