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A Guide to Primary Elections in Mecklenburg County and Beyond

Contested races at the local, state and federal level

people voting in voting booths
Early voting for NC primaries kicked off on Feb. 15. (AdobeStock)

Ready or not, we have reached the 2024 election season. While most of the mainstream media coverage has been focused on the big fight at the top of the ticket in November — and make no mistake, it’s a big one — the presidential primaries have already proven to be less than suspenseful.

Yet there are many races statewide and locally that deserve your attention, which is why we’ve compiled this list of notable contested races on the ballot in Mecklenburg County this primary season — from the US House of Representatives to the county board of commissioners.

Early voting for the statewide primaries began on Feb. 15 and will end on Saturday, March 2, with Election Day scheduled for Tuesday, March 5.

Election Day Polls are open from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

In a partisan primary, voters affiliated with a political party may only vote their party’s ballot and may not vote in another party’s primary. Unaffiliated voters may choose any one political party’s ballot.

We will be back in the fall with more in-depth election coverage in the lead-up to the general election on Nov. 5. To learn more about voting precincts and districts, who will be on your specific ballot, early voting locations and hours, and other valuable information, visit the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections website and/or the NC Board of Elections website. 

US House of Representatives District 14

Pam Genant (D)

As a nurse and a US Army officer serving during Operation Desert Storm, Pam Genant says she has “learned to commit to a mission and see it through to completion.” Her website includes 16 issues she feels passionately about.

primary elections candidate Pam Genant
Pam Genant (Courtesy of campaign)

Brendan K. Maginnis (D)

A US Marine Corp veteran with experience in small business ownership, financial planning, and political campaigns, Brendan Maginnis says he brings a practical approach to problem-solving. His platform centers immigration reform, health care, education and childcare.

Jeff Gregory (R)

Running on a platform of “God, Family, Country,” Jeff Gregory believes that all lives begin at conception and that the 12-week abortion ban in North Carolina is too pro-choice. He’s also expressed his desire for America to close its border for five years, among other extremist beliefs.

Lillian Joseph (R)

Having worked as Guardian ad Litem district administrator for 14 years, Lillian Joseph believes that “illegal immigration is destroying America, but it will keep Democrats in power forever” — also known as the Great Replacement Theory pushed by white nationalists everywhere.

Tim Moore (R)

Vacating the NC House Speaker position after nine years in the position, Tim Moore entered the race for District 14 in the US House following the approval of maps drawn by his party that provided him a safer path to get elected. A lawsuit was filed against Moore in June 2023 that alleged the House Speaker lured the plaintiff’s wife into an affair using his political influence and did the same to other women. That lawsuit was “resolved” shortly after it was filed, and though Moore denied all allegations therein, little to no details are known about the resolution.

NC Governor

Michael R. Morgan (D)

Michael Morgan stepped down from his seat as NC Supreme Court Justice in September 2023 and announced his campaign for governor the same month. Elected in November 2016 to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, he is the only person in the history of North Carolina to have served in four different judgeships. His platform focuses on education, health care, gun violence and criminal justice reform.

A portrait of primary elections candidate Michael Morgan talking to voters during his campaign.
Michael Morgan (Courtesy of Campaign)

Josh Stein (D)

As North Carolina’s Attorney General and a state Senator before that, Josh Stein has confronted large corporations in fights over rape kit backlogs, opioid settlements, coal ash cleanup and teen vaping, among other issues. He has been endorsed by outgoing Gov. Roy Cooper.

Portrait of primary elections candidate Josh Stein speaking
Josh Stein (Courtesy of Campaign)

Dale R. Folwell (R)

In 2017, Dale Folwell became the first Republican treasurer in North Carolina in 141 years, then was re-elected in 2020. His platform includes crime and public safety (addressing “deadly fentanyl at our borders” and enforcing the death penalty, as well as school choice, cost of living and government transparency.

Mark Robinson (R)

One of the most extreme front-running gubernatorial candidates NC has seen in some time, Mark Robinson has called survivors of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, “spoiled, angry, know it all CHILDREN,” “spoiled little bastards,” and “media prosti-tots,” while also claiming that Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby were victims of a left-wing plot to destroy them. More recently, he has voiced his desire to resurrect the disastrous House Bill 2, stating that trans people should be put in jail for using the restroom. And those are just a few of his many, many extreme statements.

Other candidates for governor include Garry Foxx (D), Marcus W. Williams (D), Chrelle Booker (D), Bill Graham (R), Mike Ross (L), and Shannon W. Bray (L).

NC Attorney General

Satana Deberry (D)

Before taking office as Durham County DA in 2019, Satana Deberry served as a criminal defense attorney in her hometown of Hamlet, on general counsel for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and as executive director of the nonprofit North Carolina Housing Coalition.

Satana Deberry (Courtesy of campaign)

Tim Dunn (D)

After graduating from the UNC Chapel Hill and Campbell University School of Law, Tim Dunn joined the Marine Corps and served as a US Marine prosecutor, staff judge advocate, instructor, ANGLICO executive/fire support officer, civil affairs officer, and chief of staff. In his civilian law practice, Dunn has concentrated on civil, criminal and military litigation in state, federal and military courts.

Jeff Jackson (D)

Having been drawn out of his current congressional district, US Rep. Jeff Jackson announced in October 2023 that he would run for NC Attorney General. Jackson called the newly drawn districts that have forced him out of Congress “blatant political corruption by a small group of politicians” and outlined his plan “to fight for North Carolina families, guarding them from consumer fraud, keeping kids safe online, combating the opioid epidemic, and protecting clean air and water.”

NC Superintendent of Public Instruction

C.R. Katie Eddings (D)

An Air Force veteran, Katie Eddings’ career began in 2004 in Robeson County Public Schools as a social studies teacher then an assistant principal. Upon realizing that she missed the classroom, she became an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) elective teacher with Lee County High School, where she was recognized as Lee County Schools Teacher of the Year and Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Central Region Teacher of the Year in 2019.

Maurice “Mo” Green (D)

Mo Green served as the executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation from 2016-’23, prior to which he served more than seven years as superintendent of Guilford County Schools, and before that joined Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 2001 as general counsel. In 2006, he was named COO at CMS and later moved into the role of deputy superintendent.

Kenon Crumble (D)

Currently an assistant principal at Panther Creek High School in Cary, Kenon Crumble says his mission is “to advocate for innovative educational practices that not only meet but exceed the needs of every student,” pledging to “prioritize equity, ensuring that every child, regardless of background, has access to high-quality education.”

Michele Morrow (R)

Michele Morrow grew criticism in 2022 when she tried to run for a seat on the Wake County Board of Education despite homeschooling all five of her children and being taking strong stances against public schools, calling them “socialism centers” and “indoctrination centers.” She also filmed herself participating in the Jan. 6 riot, stating that she brought her eldest children there in order to teach them “a lesson about citizens’ role in a democracy,” according to WRAL.

Catherine Truitt (R)

Current State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt is a former teacher and education advisor to then-Gov. Pat McCrory who, while in office, has defended the state sex education curriculum against critics like Morrow who have made wild and unsubstantiated claims about what’s being taught in public schools.

NC Supreme Court Justice Seat 6

Allison Riggs (Courtesy of campaign)

Allison Riggs (D)

Appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper to fill Justice Michael Morgan’s seat in September 2023, Allison Riggs is now running for her first full term. Before sitting on the NC Supreme Court, Riggs sat on the NC Court of Appeals, and previously served as the co-executive director for programs and chief counsel for voting rights at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, during which time she argued before the US Supreme Court in multiple landmark redistricting cases.

Lora Christine Cubbage (D)

Lora Cubbage says it was during her countless hours behind a barber chair when “she realized that she had a higher calling to serve in a space that would allow her to affect societal change and impact top policymakers and leaders.” After pursuing her law degree she has since served as an assistant district attorney, assistant attorney general, district court judge and as Superior Court judge.

Lora Cubbadge (Courtesy of campaign)

NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 15

Chris Freeman (R)

For 17 years, Chris Freeman has served as a district court judge and assistant district attorney in Rockingham and Caswell counties. He claims a “steadfast commitment to conservative judicial philosophy.” 

Hunter Murphy (R)

In 2020, the NC Supreme Court ordered the censure of Appeals Court Judge Hunter Murphy for enabling a “toxic work environment” after Murphy was found to be bullying and harassing his coworkers and exhibiting a “pattern of making lewd or sexually inappropriate remarks in the workplace,” according to the NC Supreme Court’s order.

NC State Senate District 41

Robert E. Bruns (D)

Former CEO of Skyla Credit Union, Robert Bruns is a pro-choice, LGBTQ+ ally who believes in competitive pay for teachers and law enforcement.

Kendrick Cunningham (D)

Cunningham’s approach to politics is encapsulated by his Next Step Framework, a blueprint meant to guide Charlotte’s communities to healing from systematic disenfranchisement. His platform centers housing for all and the reduction of violent crime rates.

Kendrick Cunningham Jr.
Kendrick Cunningham. (Photo courtesy of Kendrick Cunningham)

Lucille Puckett (D)

Coming off an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2023, longtime anti-violence advocate Lucille Puckett’s campaign for state senate is fueled by the motto: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do NOTHING.”

Caleb Theodros (D)

Theodros chairs the Charlotte Equitable Development Commission and the Black Political Caucus. His main focuses are on education, economic development and mental health.

NC State Senate District 42

Jaime Daniell (R)

Small business owner Jaime Daniell pledges to fight for Mecklenburg County families and small businesses, lower taxes, and invest in schools. Daniell says she is pro-Constitution, pro-life and pro-law enforcement.

Stacie McGinn (R)

As the head of legislation and public policy for the Republican Women of Greater Charlotte, McGinn partnered with renowned right-wing extremist group Moms for Liberty to petition in support of the Parent’s Bill of Rights.

NC House of Representatives District 98

Beth Gardner Helfrich (D)

Helfrich is a former teacher and current business owner that says she stands for good governance, strong public education, safe and healthy families and responsible growth.

Lisa Jewel (D)

Former chair of Democratic Precinct 127 in Davidson, current vice chair of Democrats of North Mecklenburg and voting member of the Democratic North Carolina State Executive Committee, Lisa Jewel says she helped flip almost all of the seats in her precinct to Democrat and is now working toward the final one.

NC House of Representatives District 105

Yolanda “Yo” Holmes (D)

Yolanda Holmes is a former Department of Defense employee and current family and community engagement office worker with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Her platform centers equity in women’s pay, education and health.

Terry Lansdell (D)

Landsdell is executive director of BikeWalkNC and a current Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning commissioner. Before that, he worked with Clean Air Carolina and has extensive experience with nonprofits including work with Trips for Kids and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

Nicole Sidman (D)

Sidman is a former lawyer, high school teacher and campaign manager for Christy Clark’s successful bid as state representative. Sidman’s top priorities are protecting democracy, reproductive freedom, gun safety and education.

NC House of Representatives District 106

Vermanno Bowman (D)

Vermanno Bowman supports universal health care, enacting policies with climate change in mind, affordable housing and enacting term limits in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Carla Cunningham (D)

Carla Cunningham graduated from Central Piedmont Community College with her Licensed Practical Nurse Diploma, serving the community in health care for over 30 years. She was first elected to the NC General Assembly in 2012.

Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners At-Large

(3 Seats Available)

Leigh Altman (D)

Leigh Altman has worked as a public interest attorney for 17 years and is seeking re-election for her third term on the Board of Commissioners.

Patricia (Pat) Cotham (D)

In her sixth term on the Board of Commissioners, Cotham believes in creating more jobs and being active in the community, including as an advocate for our neighbors struggling with homelessness. Pat supported her daughter, Tricia Cotham, when Tricia made the unprecedented switch to the Republican Party, publicly commenting that the current Democratic Party is “not the Democratic Party I grew up in.”

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham stands alongside marchers at a ally against gun violence in 2021. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

Arthur Griffin, Jr. (D)

Griffin is a First Ward native and former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education member. His key issues include education, affordable housing, recreation and economic development.

Yvette Townsend-Ingram (D)

Yvette Townsend-Ingram says she’s “got skin in the game and receipts,” running on a platform to improve wrap-around services for families, addressing food insecurity, accelerating the Minority, Women and Small Business Program and enacting better communication of county services.

Blake Van Leer (D)

“Mecklenburg County is growing massively and we need to use modern strategic solutions to help our communities, educators, health systems and local businesses,” reads Blake Van Leer’s website. “We need to plan for downstream problems vs. reacting to them.”

Board of Commissioners District 2

Vilma D. Leake (D)

Vilma Leake has served as a commissioner since 2008 and before that was a CMS Board of Education member for 11 years.

Mecklenburg County commissioner Vilma Leake
Vilma Leake

Charles Osborne (D)

As a former CMPD violent crimes investigator, Osborne advocates for more funding and resources for law enforcement. He also supports incorporating trades and skill training in education and economic development for small businesses.

Angela White Edwards (R)

In a video posted to Facebook reminding her constituents to vote, Edwards said: “Before you push that button, pray that this is the person that represents our Father which art in heaven, and we will definitely do some kingdom building here on Earth.”

Board of Commissioners District 3

George Dunlap (D)

George Dunlap is running for his seventh consecutive term as chair since his election in 2008. Prior to his election, Dunlap served 14 years on the CMS Board of Education as District 3 representative and continues to advocate for public school education.

Felicia R. Thompkins (D)

Thompkins’ platform centers quality healthcare, implementing legislation to ensure seniors pay lower taxes on home ownership, and providing accessible resources and services to children in foster care before aging out of the system.

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