Rep. Ben Moss, R-Richmond, announced Wednesday that he is ending his 2024 primary campaign for North Carolina Commissioner of Labor. The announcement leaves Rep. John Hardister, R-Guilford, as the leading GOP candidate in the race. The official campaign filing period in North Carolina for the 2024 elections is Dec. 4–13, 2023.

“After much prayer and deliberation with my family, I’ve decided to withdraw my candidacy for Labor Commissioner and recommit myself to running for re-election in the NC House,” said Moss in a statement. “I’ve got a daughter going off to college and a son in middle school — my time is best spent focusing on being present with my family and continuing my service to the people of House District 52. There’s more policy work to be done in the General Assembly, and I intend to be a part of the process as my freedom caucus colleagues and I shape the future of leadership in the NC House.”

Moss is currently in his second term in the NC House of Representatives, serving as chairman of the Committee on Wildlife Resources and vice chairman of the Freedom Caucus.

The Department of Labor is responsible for promoting the “health, safety, and general well-being” of nearly 4.5 million North Carolina workers. The department has wide authority over employers and employees. North Carolina is a Right to Work state, outlawing requirements of union membership as a condition of hiring or of continued employment.

The statewide primary election is slated for March 4, 2024, with the general election on Nov. 5, 2024. The winner of the race for labor commissioner will succeed Republican Josh Dobson, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election. Dobson won in 2020, running in favor of regulatory reform and in opposition to Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID pandemic shutdowns and their impact on North Carolina workers and businesses.