Updated Mar 4, 2024 - Politics

6 primary races we're watching in North Carolina

Voter sign

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Several competitive races in the upcoming primary elections could make waves in North Carolina politics.

Here are six intriguing races we're watching. Primary Election Day is Tuesday.

1. A comeback story in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District

John Bradford and Mark Harris are seen as the frontrunners in this congressional district that touches Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Robeson counties.

State of play: Congressman Dan Bishop is running for state attorney general, leaving this race wide open. Six Republicans are vying for the role.

Democrat Justin Dues will run against the primary winner in this heavily Republican district.

2. The Democratic contest for the state's top attorney

State of play: The attorney general race will likely pit two Charlotte-area congressmen against each other: Bishop, the only Republican AG candidate, and Jeff Jackson.

The intrigue: Jackson has far outspent opponent Satana Deberry, but her campaign has gotten a recent boost from a mysterious group based in Washington, D.C., called "And Justice For All PAC," per WUNC.

The full list of Democratic AG candidates includes:

  • Jackson, who's famous on TikTok for explaining what happens in Washington in layman's terms. He's a former prosecutor who also served in the U.S. Army and as a state senator.
  • Deberry, Durham County district attorney.
  • Tim Dunn, Fayetteville attorney who served in the Marines for more than three decades.

Fun fact: The road to the N.C. governor's mansion sometimes runs through the attorney general's office.

  • Roy Cooper and Mike Easley both served as state attorney general before being elected governor of North Carolina. AG Josh Stein is running for governor against Republican Mark Robinson.

3. Braxton Winston's prospective opponent for labor commissioner

Along with promoting the "health, safety, and general well-being" of North Carolina workers, the North Carolina Commissioner of Labor is known for hanging their headshot in elevators across the state.

State of play: The Republican nominee for labor commissioner will go up against one of Charlotte's most popular progressive politicians — Braxton Winston, the city's former mayor pro tem.

  • A union film worker, Winston gained recognition during the 2016 Keith Lamont Scott protest and later won a seat on city council.

The four Republicans in the race are:

  • Jon Hardister, a state representative from Guilford County and House majority whip. He is endorsed by the sitting commissioner Josh Dobson, who isn't seeking reelection.
  • Luke Farley, endorsed by long-serving commissioner Cherie Berry, AKA North Carolina's "elevator lady." He describes himself as a "small business lawyer who fights citations from the Labor Department."
  • Travis Wilson, who serves on the Union County Historic Preservation Commission.
  • Chuck Stanley, the safety manager and superintendent of operations at a construction company.

4. A Democrat to take on Tricia Cotham

State of play: Three Democrats are fighting for the chance to be the one who pushes Tricia Cotham out of office in the District 105 race.

The three Democratic candidates are:

  • Yolanda Holmes, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employee who previously lost to Cotham in the 2022 primary.
  • Nicole Sidman, who served as a campaign manager for Christy Clark when Clark won House District 98.
  • Terry Lansdell, executive director of BikeWalk NC and Charlotte zoning committee member.

5. Whether voters punish Cotham's mother in the county commissioner's race

State of play: Mecklenburg County voters may elect three at-large representatives to the board of commissioners. Typically the three incumbents would have a strong chance, but some suspect Tricia Cotham's party switch could impact her mother's chance at reelection.

Also in the race:

  • Yvette Townsend-Ingram previously ran in 2022. She's been a volunteer with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and voter registration drives.
  • Blake Van Leer, who describes himself as an "investor, entrepreneur, film producer, non profit supporter."

6. Who will become the state's top banker

The state treasurer oversees billions in state pension funds, works with counties to administer bonds and runs health care plans for state employees.

In the Democratic primary, two Charlotteans are running against each other:

Three Republicans are seeking the nomination:

  • A. J. Daoud is a former North Carolina GOP District chairman and state senate and secretary of state candidate.
  • Rachel Johnson is a businesswoman who runs a family-owned business on a farm in Davie County, per the N&O.
  • Brad Briner, a member of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, told the N&O he wants to improve the performance of the state pension plan.

What's next: Polls are open 6:30am-7:30pm on March 5.

  • Check back in with Axios on election night for results.

Editor's note: We've updated this story with details about Primary Election Day.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Charlotte stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more