Legislators and local officeholders took time to sign the line when candidate filing opened Monday.
State Sen. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, and state Rep. Ed Goodwin, R-Chowan, filed for their second terms.
“It continues to be an honor and a privilege to represent northeastern North Carolina in the largest legislative district in the entire General Assembly,” Steinburg said Monday after he filed, joined by his wife Marie. “The strong relationships I have within the region and with leadership in Raleigh has meant that our voice is one that will be heard and not denied or ignored when it comes to the challenges facing a rural legislative district.”
Steinburg said he remains strongly committed to serving the region.
“I have the desire, energy, drive and commitment to continue representing this region in a manner that will ensure that the needs of northeastern NC will not be ignored,” he said. “Next year the voters in Senate District 1 will have the opportunity to decide if those qualifications are enough to return me to office for a second term in the Senate. It continues to be an honor and a privilege to represent the good and hard working people of the District I humbly and lovingly serve.”
En route to an important law enforcement conference in Elizabeth City early Tuesday morning, Goodwin said, “I’ve learned a lot from my time in the General Assembly, but there’s more work to be done and I feel confident that I can do it. I hope the good voters of NC House 1 like the way they are being represented in the state house and choose to re-elect me to continue the work for our state and district.”
The filing period continues through Dec. 20.
In Perquimans County, Democratic Commissioner Charles Woodard filed for re-election, as did Democratic Register of Deeds Jacqueline Frierson.
Commissioner Kyle Jones, a Republican, has announced his plans to run for re-election.
Commission seats held by Democrats Joseph Hoffler and Charles Woodard are up for election.
Meanwhile, 170 legislative seats are up for grabs.
Democrats will have a chance to take control of the General Assembly. Republicans have a 65-55 majority in the House and a 29-21 edge in the Senate.
If Democrats oust enough Republicans to take charge of one or both chambers, then Democrats will have a much bigger role in the process of drawing new legislative and congressional maps after the 2020 Census figures are out.
Several state Supreme Court contests are set, with Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, facing a challenge from Republican Associate Justice Paul Newby. Two other incumbent Democratic justices are seeking a full eight-year term.
Democrats hold a 6-1 majority on the court. But if Republicans sweep the three contests, the GOP may hope to swing one Democrat, perhaps centrist Justice Sam Ervin IV, to win majority votes on some divisive issues.
President Trump will cast a large shadow over the state races.
“There is a strong and increasing correlation between how votes in a state are cast for president and for down-ballot offices,” John Dinan, political science professor at Wake Forest University, said.
The relationship is especially strong for U.S. senate races, Dinan added.
The Democratic Party has its sights on flipping a number of U.S. Senate seats. Democrats will have to pick up three seats to take control of the Senate. Several House seats held by Republicans are also the target of Democrats looking to strengthen their hold on the chamber.
In the Democratic Party’s crosshairs is U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis. The fate of the senator from North Carolina may well be tied to Trump, Dinan said.
“In every U.S. Senate election held around the country in 2016, the winner of the Senate election aligned with the presidential election outcome in that state … If Donald Trump carries North Carolina in 2020 there is a very good chance that Thom Tillis will win re-election.”
While there’s a connection between the presidency and lower-ballot elections, Dinan said, the governor’s election is an exception to that rule.
“Governors are the main officials who are still assessed by voters on their own record, and to some degree independently of voter behavior in presidential elections,” Dinan said.
Among those who’ve said they may run in various races are:
Incumbent Thom Tillis
Sandy Smith, Winterville businesswoman
Cal Cunningham, former state senator
Sen. Erica Smith, D-Northampton
Trevor Fuller, Mecklenburg county commissioner
Steven Williams, Durham businessman
Incumbent Roy Cooper
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest
Rep. Holly Grange, R-New Hanover
Mark Johnson: state superintendent of public instruction
Rep. Andy Wells, R-Catawba
Scott Stone: former state representative
Mark Robinson: Greensboro Republican, works at a furniture factory, served on the NRA National Outreach Board
Greg Gebhardt: business consultant and major in the N.C. National Guard
Renee Ellmers: former U.S. representative, served three terms in Congress until 2016
Deborah Cochran: former Mount Airy mayor
Buddy Bengel: New Bern businessman
Rep. Chaz Beasley, D-Mecklenburg
Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe
Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley, D-Wake
Allen Thomas, Hoke county commissioner
Bill Toole, Charlotte lawyer
Josh Stein, incumbent
Jim O’Neill: Forsyth County District Attorney
State Superintendent (open)
Jen Mangrum: former educator and associate professor at UNC-Greensboro’s college of education
Keith Sutton: Wake County school board vice chairman
Michael Maher: president of the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators
James Barrett: former Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board member
Constance Law Johnson: former educator and publisher of CityPolitical magazine
Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union
Catherine Truitt, chancellor of Western Governors University N.C.
Chris Malone, former Wake County school board member
Dale Folwell, incumbent
Ronnie Chatterji, professor at Duke University
Matt Leatherman, policy director for former State Treasurer Janet Cowell
Beth Wood, incumbent
Tim Hoegemeyer, general counsel for the Office of State Auditor
Secretary of Labor (open)
Rep. Josh Dobson, R-McDowell
Eva Lee, tax attorney
Jessica Holmes, attorney and Wake County Board of Commissioners chairwoman
Secretary of State
Elaine Marshall, incumbent
Chad Brown, Gaston County commissioner
Michael LaPaglia, business consultant and 2016 Republican nominee for N.C. Secretary of State
Commissioner of Agriculture
Steve Troxler, incumbent
Jenna Wadsworth, Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor
N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, incumbent
Associate Justice Paul Newby
N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice (two seats)
Lucy Inman: N.C. Court of Appeals judge
Phil Berger Jr.: N.C. Court of Appeals judge, son of Senate leader Phil Berger
Tamara Barringer: former Wake County state senator
Carolina Journal contributed to this report.