Politicos make final decisions ahead of NC candidate filing

Published November 30, 2023

By Clayton Henkel

Just days ahead of the opening candidate filing period, politicians are making their intentions known and trying to demonstrate political strength by touting endorsements and cash on hand.

If you missed it on Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger endorsed Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson in the 2024 Republican gubernatorial primary.

Bill Graham (Courtesy photo)


Berger said Robinson has a “good head on his shoulders” but sidestepped media questions about Robinson’s derogatory comments about the LGBTQ community.

“I don’t want to get into any specific comment,” Berger told Raleigh’s News & Observer.

Bill Graham tried to turn the attention back to his gubernatorial campaign Wednesday, tweeting (or X-ing) to Spectrum News anchor Tim Boyum that he’d gladly accept an invitation to debate Mark Robinson. Then he offered a little shade:

Will Mark Robinson show up? Or will he skip the debate like he skips Senate sessions? #NoShowRobinson

House Speaker Tim Moore, who is hoping to win a congressional seat in the 14th district, announced that his campaign has raised $800,000 in its first month. No details on those donors yet, but Moore tweets these are “from patriots who are ready for change in Washington.”

Image: MooreForNC

Rep. Caleb Rudow (D-Buncombe) is also hoping to move from the North Carolina House to the U.S. House of Representatives. Rudow officially announced this week he would be running in the 11th congressional district, currently represented by Republican Chuck Edwards.

Hoping to step into Rudow’s shoes in state House District 116 is Brian Turner. Turner served four terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives, and most recently has worked as the policy director for Audubon North Carolina.

“I was grateful for the pause, but I want to be sure the people of Asheville and Buncombe County have an experienced leader they can rely on during this time of change,” Turner said.

Another name that may sound familiar is Jeff Tarte. The former state senator, who lost to Natasha Marcus in 2018, has announced he’ll seek the Republican primary nomination for State Auditor. With Democrat Beth Wood not seeking re-election, Tarte is among six Republicans who have now expressed an interest in the office.

Christine Villaverde joins three other Republicans (Chad Brown, Darren Eustance, and Jesse Thomas) hoping to unseat long-time incumbent Elaine Marshall as Secretary of State.  Villaverde, a former law enforcement officer, was defeated by Deborah Ross last year in the contest to represent North Carolina’s second congressional district.

Rep. Erin Paré


Rep. Erin Paré (R-Wake) dialed back her plans this week to run in the 13th congressional district, after announcing in October her congressional campaign had raised $200K in one month.

Paré said she is excited by new leadership opportunities in the General Assembly and being home while her kids finish high school.

Gov. Roy Cooper will not be on the ballot next year, but he will be working to highlight some of Joe Biden’s accomplishments. Today (Thursday) the governor will join U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Bessemer City at Livent Corporation’s lithium facility to showcase North Carolina’s clean energy economy and the impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Look for more candidate news next week as the filing period with the State Board of Elections officially opens on Monday, December 4.