A former North Carolina state senator joins the growing list of candidates for the 2024 Republican nomination for state auditor.

Jeff Tarte, a Republican from Cornelius in Mecklenburg County, announced his candidacy Wednesday.

Former state senator Jeff Tarte announces his candidacy for NC State Auditor. Picture are Tarte and his wife, Nancy. Source: jefftarte.com.

“As a lawmaker, I have seen firsthand many government programs that do not use taxpayers’ money efficiently and effectively,” Tarte said in a press release. “That experience, coupled with a private sector career built on applying data analytics and forensic auditing techniques, will allow me to modernize the Office of State Auditor to ensure better use of the public’s money.”

Tarte is the chief executive officer of Cribb Philbeck, a management consulting firm, and incoming Chair of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce,

On his website, Tarte said if elected, he would advocate for all state agencies and departments to undergo regular independent financial audits and reviews. He stated that he authored legislation as a state senator requiring the six largest state government departments, many of which had not undergone an independent financial audit (IFA) in decades, to undergo an IFA every two years. Tarte noted that the first one performed for the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) identified millions of unaccounted-for money.

Tarte served three terms in the General Assembly before losing to Democrat Natasha Marcus in Senate District 41 in 2018. Prior to that, he also served three terms as the mayor of Cornelius. 

He sits on the North Carolina Department of Technology Information Technology Strategy Board and was appointed by Senate Leader Phil Berger.

Previously, he was chairman and co-founder of Applied Revenue Analytics and health care IT partner with Ernst & Young. He has also been chief information officer for the New England Medical Center-Tufts University and Johns Hopkins Health System.

In addition to Tarte, a slate of Republican candidates have announced their intention to run for the auditor’s office, including former UNC Board Chair David Boliek; CPA Jack Clark; businessman Charles Dingee;  A.J. Daoud; former Greensboro city council member Jim Kee, and Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch

State Auditor Beth Wood announced on Nov. 9 that she would resign from office on Dec. 15. The announcement came after a Wake County grand jury indicted her on Nov. 7 for allegedly using a state vehicle for private purposes. The previous week, she announced that she would not seek re-election in 2024 but would serve the remainder of her term. 

Former assistant state auditor Luis Toledo is the lone candidate running for the Democrat nomination. 

He ran against Wood in the 2020 Democratic primary for state auditor and lost. He also lost to former state Senator Wiley Nickel in the 2018 Democratic primary for state senate.