Democrat launches NC gubernatorial primary challenge

Former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan, who left the bench last week, has announced a campaign to replace term-limited Gov. Roy Cooper (D). 

Morgan will challenge Attorney General Josh Stein in the Democratic primary. Stein has garnered a slate of endorsements early in his campaign, including from Cooper, and had been considered an heir apparent to the governor’s mansion.

“I will be the most qualified, and the best qualified, and certainly the most electable to be governor,” Morgan told the Raleigh News & Observer.

He served as a state Supreme Court justice since 2017 and as a judge in the state for more than 30 years.

“I feel as though that unique blend of what I bring as a judge, a longtime participant in, an observer of, the state government system — traveling the state, meeting people across the board, whether it was in my job or whether it was related to my own personal extracurricular activities — I just felt as though being in the executive spot and being able to make the greatest and most effective difference I could was where I should place my energies,” Morgan told the News & Observer.

Stein has already raised millions in his campaign’s first months, but Morgan questioned senior Democrats who put their weight behind Stein before any other opponents joined the race.

“It’s unusual and even disheartening that there would be such an early backing of anyone, because the field has yet to be filled, in terms of those that would potentially run,” he said.

“[Stein] may have the superior treasury, but I have the superior candidacy,” Morgan said.

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is the expected Republican nominee for the gubernatorial race. 

The 2024 election in North Carolina is expected to be close, as former President Trump won the state by 1.7 percent in 2020, while the Democratic Cooper won his reelection by 4.5 percent.

Tags 2024 election josh stein Mark Robinson michael morgan North Carolina North Carolina governor's race Roy Cooper