Jan 18, 2023 - Politics

North Carolina AG Josh Stein announces his 2024 bid for governor

Josh Stein, speaking at an event

Photo: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein confirmed the worst-kept secret in state politics Wednesday: He's running for governor in 2024.

Driving the news: Stein, a Democrat, jump-starts a battle over who will succeed outgoing Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Why it matters: Cooper has served as the party's last line of defense against the Republican-controlled state legislature since his election in 2016.

  • Stein's bid will likely determine whether Democrats will have much say in the direction North Carolina goes in the coming years.

What he's saying: "I believe in a different North Carolina — and that the fights we choose determine what kind of state we’ll become," Stein said in his announcement video. "We’ll build a better and brighter North Carolina by standing together for what’s right, fighting to fix what’s wrong, and doing right by every single North Carolinian."

Between the lines: Stein wasted no time in taking shots at Republicans and their presumptive nominee, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who has yet to announce his run.

  • In his announcement, Stein painted the race as a battle to protect democracy from politicians who spark "division, ignite hate and fan the flames of bigotry."

The intrigue: Stein's announcement comes a little early considering the 2024 election is still nearly two years away — 657 days, to be exact, as the Assembly pointed out — but it came as no surprise to many political observers.

  • His career has been building up to this moment: Stein has followed the same trajectory as Cooper and former Gov. Mike Easley, both of whom served as attorney general before being elected governor of North Carolina.

Zoom in: Stein enters the race as an attorney general with a track record of helping win a $26 billion opioid settlement, the second largest state attorney general settlement in history, after the tobacco settlement of 1998.

  • He's also tackled price gouging, robocalls, the state's backlog of sexual assault kits and now, TikTok.

What's next: It's not clear when Robinson will announce his run for governor, as he's expected to, but Stein's announcement ramps up the pressure.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Raleigh.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Raleigh stories


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


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more